A few weeks ago, a reader asked if I could do a post on how to fit everything in… workouts, family time, career, cooking, social life, and so on. So many of us feel the pressure to be super mom.
I’ve learned to set aside certain times of my day for certain activities… early morning is usually my workout time, nap time and evenings are my computer time, post-nap is our cooking time, the two mornings that L is in school is my school/study time, and 2 evenings are set aside for health coach clients and teaching spin.
The biggest challenge for me is letting go what is left undone when that time is up. My friend Christine wrote a great post on being present and not always trying to find balance that I highly recommend.
We all have different schedules, to-do lists, and tips and tricks. How do you do it? I put the question out on my Facebook page, and here are many of your awesome answers:
Wake Up Early!
- Natalie T: I get up early to get my run in most days.
- Jerliee: I run before my kids get up- either outside or at the gym. Otherwise life gets in the way and the exercising gets pushed to the back burner.
- Jennifer A, Rachel G: Very EARLY mornings!
- Patty J: I do my workouts before anyone is awake in the house. I schedule the longer weekend run with the group that works best for my schedule along with the other runners. My family knows how important it is for my well being to take the time and run or cross train. If there is something else that comes up then I just need to be flexible. My evening time does get cut shorter then my husbands because I need to get to bed early but at least I am around until then to be with the family. Once the routine is started it seems everyone adapts.
- Jen S: I schedule my time, get up early to workout, take advantage of naptime/school time, involve my family in activities like runs and bike rides.
- Amanda L: Schedule, schedule, schedule! If I don’t have it all planned out before the week starts, it gets hard. I am very routine oriented and I think this provides a sense of calm. That and being willing to get up very early!
- Rebecca G:
- Lori D:
- I do the bulk of my running in the wee hours of the morning before work but my main key to success was establishing a routine, which includes plan A and plan B if the pre-work run is a flop, like today.
- Alison G: Make a schedule. Stick to it. Make time for yourself and don’t feel guilty doing so. It’s healthy for our kids to realize we have interests besides them. And of course we can include them, too. It’s a balancing act and it’s not always easy, but I think it’s important that we put ourselves first some of the time.
A Supportive Spouse
- Michelle S. J.: I get up early (4 am early) and run three days during the week. I run my long runs on the weekend. I work full time and have four kids, 6 years old & under. [Editor’s note- WOW!] Communication is essential when it comes to schedules & calendars. My husband knows running is a HUGE part of my life & the center of my balance. I make it a priority & he supports that.
- Aimee P: My husband is super supportive and I’m so so lucky
- Kristin F: Always exercise in the morning! Too many things can go wrong throughout the day. I also love the Cozi family app which allows you to make to do lists, shopping lists, etc and then you can actually email to your spouse to keep him up on things…or send him to the store! Always ask for help too! Nothing wrong with admitting that we all need help sometimes.
- Vera W: I do my running and crosstraining in the morning before my husband gets up for work. He also knows how this is a big part of my life and is really good about being with our son so I can do longer runs on Sunday mornings with my running club. I also at times take my son for a run in the baby jogger. Not only am I getting my fitness in and taking care of my needs (which all mom’s need to do ) my son also sees that I am active which hopefully will lead to him being active as well. He already copies me when stretching and gives me the foam roller to “roll it.” My park district also has babysitting available for when I want to take a fitness class or if I cannot get up early.
- Michelle S: I do as many early-morning workouts as I can, and I’m lucky that I can bring my youngest to the gym with me when I need to go later in the day. Also, I couldn’t manage ANY of it without my super supportive husband, who doesn’t object to any of my running, racing, training, or socializing with running friends. I never lose sight of how lucky I am to have his support!
Be Willing to Be Flexible (YES!!)
- Alison S.N.: While its important to have a schedule, I feel like you have to have flexibility too. Things come up and you have to be able to adjust accordingly. I squeeze my runs in early mornings, or evenings while my husband is with the kids, or bring them in a stroller. You have to have balance but my kids know and understand that mommy runs and they have that healthy influence in their lives. We schedule social activities as a family.
- Brooke E.: It’s not about leaning in or leaning out or even balance [that is soooo unachievable} I actually try to find HARMONY. That means there will be some days when you need to let things go, squeeze in a shorter workout, don’t clean the kitchen, etc. in exchange for more cuddles or to attend a school function. Life is all about give and take, and if you stress yourself out about trying to do EVERYTHING in EVERYDAY you will go crazy. I never to do it all … I just do ENOUGH. Enough to keep my sanity and to keep me fulfilled. Oh, and I wake up at the crack of dawn to workout, I write my blog on my lunch hour, and find time to read while I’m in the bathroom. …My two cents…
- Max T: I get in my fitness time early in the AM before the rest of the family is up and most importantly, learned to be lenient with myself on whether the house is clean, all of the laundry is done or if I finally cleaned out my closet, etc. My health matters more than how organized my house is. At least to me it does.
- Nicole: I think part of the secret is flexibility and being ok with the days that you can’t squeeze it all in. As a working mom, there are some days that I just can’t fit everything in. I’ve learned to go with the flow and appreciate the days that I can enjoy a longer workout or time with friends. I do try to make exercise a priority in my day, which often means early mornings or working through lunch.
- Rachel B: To-do lists! Scheduling. Using the nap time wisely. Involving my kiddo in exercise (we do yoga together and I stick him in the jogging stroller to go running.. he’ll even do some circuits with me!). Getting up early and using that time to get work done. Art projects while mommy blogs. And also having a baby sitter that lives nearby!!!
Kayla K: I love multi-tasking…Running with my girlfriends is a great way to connect with them, have some mama time and get a great workout in together!
Include the Kids
- Schedules are key! Very early mornings, stroller runs, squeezing in yoga and/or weight bearing exercises when they are playing or have them join in on the fun. Also having a very supportive husband who know that your working out/running is key to a happy home.
- Angela G: I run whenever I can! Running makes me feel good, so I do enough of it to achieve that goal. I am lucky that I can take my daughter in the Bob on runs – she usually enjoys it. And we often literally run errands or run to wherever we have to go (perk of living in the city). I get in my solo runs when my husband is home or when our parents come to babysit. I also attend a pilates class with several mom friends – our kids play together with one babysitter while we workout. If fitness is a priority, it will happen. But it certainly isn’t always easy.
Child Care at the Gym
- Jennifer F: a gym with babysitting- the kids are with me all day so when the hubby gets home I get some “alone” time with him while working out and the kids are excited to be with other kids for about 1 hour as far as fitting everything else in…I don’t think you always can so I guess it is prioritizing which things will be cut out from day to day…cleaning one day and socializing another.
Food Prep in Advance
- Kimberly B: 5:00am mornings do the trick here. Also use Saturday or Sunday as your food prep days. I make oatmeal for the week along with all other meals. Wash and cut produce when you buy it. You’ll be more prone to eat it throughout the week than let it go to waste.
- Kristina W: I work full time so I get up early during the week to get some stuff done. Sunday’s are my food prep days for the food I take to work. I try to make dinners on the weekend that we can have leftovers during the week. Everything else I just do what needs to be done without over thinking it. If I stop to think about all of the things that need to be done I think I would go a little crazy.
I highlighted some key points, and I can especially relate to all the lines about flexibility, harmony and acknowledging that you can’t always do it all– a lesson I’m learning to be okay with lately! Sometimes I have to stop what I’m doing and simple BE present.
For more on super moms and the need to slow down, check out the Pursuit of Superwoman.
Which of these tips work for you? Anything else you would add?