As a working mom of a one year old (with another on the way!), I have discovered that "me time" is at a premium. I love my job as the Executive Director of a non-profit, but my workload isn't exactly conducive for stealing away for a midday workout at the gym. My son "the Mini Athlete" is an early riser and that also means he goes to bed pretty early - between 7 and 8pm. Gone are the days of heading to the gym right after work - I want to soak up every moment with my little one before he's asleep! So that leaves me with the obvious question...when do working moms workout?
I know I'm not alone in this. Thousands upon thousands of competitive runners, yogis and amateur triathletes also juggle the responsibilities of motherhood and a full-time job. Here is some of the best advice I have received:
1. Find Community When I first went back to work nine weeks after having my son, I felt pretty alone as I navigated my new identity as a working mom. I quickly realized I couldn't go at it alone. I found a wonderfully encouraging group of moms in the area where I lived at the time - the IRunMommies in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition to meeting twice weekly to run - once on Tuesday evenings and again on Saturday mornings - the group actively participates in a Facebook group where you can always find another busy mom looking to squeeze in a run. I highly recommend finding a group like this - or if you don't have one in your area, start one! Another great place to find community online is through Twitter or blogs. I cannot tell you the encouragement I have received from other moms in those places!
2. Establish a Schedule
As mothers, we crave a schedule. Sometimes it feels impossible. But establishing a schedule is one of the best things I did when trying to get back into shape after having a baby. My best friend and I scheduled our times to run every week. We would meet at 5:45am on Monday and Wednesday mornings for a few short miles, and would meet up with the IRunMommies on Saturday mornings for our long runs.
Yes, it felt early. But we knew that we could guarantee our husbands would be home to babysit at that time and so we had no reason (or excuse) to reschedule. Knowing that my best friend was waiting for me helped me drag myself out of bed on those days I really didn't feel like running!
3. Know You're Worth It It's easy to feel like you're being pulled in a million different directions. The first thing we let go? The time we spend taking care of ourselves. Remember - you will be a better mom, a better employee and a better person if you take care of yourself first. It feels counter intuitive when there is laundry to be done, dishes to be washed and reports to be written. But you know what? There will always be more laundry, more dishes and more reports. There is only one YOU. Make yourself a priority.
What is your best advice for working moms trying to find time to workout?