Margaret is a 40-year old mother of three boys aged 14, 12 and 10 (can you already feel her pain?). Her life revolved around her kids, and while she did a good job of looking after their needs, she neglected her own health. At only 40, she was already on cholesterol medication, and a year ago was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. A feeling of restlessness was beginning to strangle her, and her back and shoulder pain drove her to desperation.
Sound familiar? We can change the details as often as we like, but the underlying story remains the same. Each year, millions of women put their own health at risk in order to care for their families. Now that most families must have dual incomes, juggling family commitments with a full or part-time job is also leading many women down Margaret”s well-traveled path of motherly despair.
So the big question is: how does stay healthy while raising kids? There are two situations here with two separate solutions.
These suggestions may need generous helpings of discipline and will power, but in the long term, the benefits profoundly outweigh the inconveniences. Truly: you”ve put up with numerous inconveniences before, this is just another one you can handle.
Getting kids ready for school and facing the corporate honchos throughout the day can seem like exercise in itself; but it really isn”t. This is where you can incorporate exercise into your hectic schedule. One good way is to stretch the day by a couple of hours. So instead of waking up at 6:30 to wake up the kids, consider getting up at 5:30 to do your workout in the basement of your home, or in your neighborhood gym? .
Now what about lunch? Instead of paying bills, making personal appointments, or hurrying off to the post office during the lunch hour, go to the office gym (lucky if your employer has one), or go for a walk. Many times, the clear-headedness that comes from a brisk noon walk can make your afternoon extraordinarily more efficient; you”ll do more with less effort, and find that you”re taking work home (both literally and emotionally!) less frequently.
After dinner, when the kids are doing homework (hopefully…), take another walk or do some other exercise that you enjoy. Some working mothers make nice deals with their partners/husbands that allow for a night or two “off” each week. Joining a fitness club or a team sport can be both physically rewarding and enjoyable, too. And if you can”t bring in your partner to help, consider doing something recreational with the kids. Grab a basketball, football, or soccer ball and head out to the park. You”ll be creating memories that last a lifetime, and the whole family will be getting more fit.
Mothers not Working
Try (I know it”s hard!) to set aside 1-2 hours of alone time where you can exercise and not think about the kids. If you can”t leave the house, then purchasing a workout tape or going for a walk around the block/in the park can be quite magical (and fitful!).
Vary Your Workouts
Varying your workouts will help you stay with your program. On those days you”re not feeling too energetic, yoga, stretching, and flexibility exercises will work wonders during those low-energy days.