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Is It Possible to Be a Fit Working Mom?

My birthday is next week. It’s not a particularly momentous birthday but it does make me think back to last year. Liam was three months old and I was just starting back to work. Life had never been crazier. Between the sleepless nights, the guilt, the pumping and trying to get back into the swing of things at work, I was totally overwhelmed. Diet and exercise completely fell off the priority list and I was okay with that. I thought to myself, “I just need to get through this tough part and then I’ll have the time and energy to worry about taking better care of myself. Within a few months things will calm down and by my next birthday I’ll be back on track.” Needless to say, I find myself one year later no fitter or healthier than I was last year.

Finding the time to exercise seems to be a universal problem for working moms. NourishMom wrote a post about it a while back and every working mom I know seems to struggle with the issue on some level. This summer an article published about the rise of “fit moms” in the Wall Street Journal stated, not surprisingly, that these new fit moms tend not to have full-time jobs. Is it possible to be a working mom AND a fit mom? It’s so hard to carve out the time to commit to exercise but as someone who used to exercise regularly and knows the amazing health, stress relief, and general well-being benefits that come from exercise, is there a group of people who need them more than working moms?

Over the last year I’ve tried to get back into exercise. And by tried I mean I’ve talked about it (a lot), vowed to do something about it, said TOMORROW was the day…everything short of actually getting in a routine of regular exercise. Conversations with my husband about exercising started to sound like this commercial:

It’s so easy to come up with an excuse not to when you’re  a working mom. The saddest part for me is that I was right about things settling down over the past year. Liam is sleeping through the night, he voluntarily finished breastfeeding a few weeks back and we haven’t hit any of the challenging developmental issues just yet like tantrums, potty training, etc. Life is certainly crazy and busy but when is it going to get easier? At some point, we plan to have another baby and life certainly won’t be easier while I’m pregnant again or while we have a new baby AND Liam to worry about and even once they’re a little older we’ll have to deal with the rubik’s cube that is scheduling school and afterschool sports, activities, homework, etc etc. If I wait for life to get easier, I’ll be waiting until Liam is off to college.

So I’ve decided to be put away the excuses and tomorrows and make a commitment to myself. For the month of November I’m committed to exercising for at least 30 minutes everyday (because you can’t say “tomorrow” when you commit to every day, right?). The idea is that a month is a short enough amount of time to stick to it and that after a month, I’ll hopefully be in shape and inspired enough to keep going. When I first made the decision to do this little personal challenge, I wasn’t going to blog about it. But after talking to some people about it, I decided the personal accountability of having put it out in the blogosphere might add extra motivation.

I’ll write a follow up after the month to let you know how things go. I’ll also try to tweet throughout the month about how things are going. If any fit or aspiring fit working moms have suggestions or advice for me on fitting exercise in everyday, please let me know. I’m adopting the hashtag #fitworkingmom and would love to have other moms join me in making the commitment to exercise.

I’ll leave you with this Nike ad which is my new fitness mantra. I really like this one too but my husband chastises me for the use of such language in front of our impressionable son, so I’ll stick with this one

6 comments

  1. Mary

    Organized Mom October 27, 2012 at 3:23 am

    One of my first posts as an “official” blogger was on How I Became A Runner. http://blogs.brighthorizons.com/familyroom/2012/01/04/new-blogger-how-i-became-a-runner/
    I was in a similar place to where you are now, but 2 kids into parenthood. My words of wisdom… if nothing else, just walk. You set the goal of 30-minutes each day. You CAN do it!

  2. sara October 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I am a single full time working mom and excercise has always been in my lifestyle. Many gyms offer babysitting services for up to 2 hours. I’ve been a member at RWJ hamilton for 2 years (my son is now almost 4) and they are wonderful- plus you get to meet with a trainer and nurse every 6-8 weeks to keep motivated. The baby sitting hours are from 8am to 8pm- which makes it easy to keep a flexible workout schedule.

  3. Rachel October 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Good for you, Rookie momI worked out 5x/week as at-home-mom & my first year as a working mom…then I fell off the work-out wagon and have only managed it in fits and starts since.

    5x/week at the gym made our life hectic. Mornings were crazy and I was too tired at night to be useful to anyone.

    So I worked out at home — first with equipment-free workouts from a trainer, then Pinterest. Lately it seems no matter how early I’m awake, my munchkin is awake and looking for me. But as you say, it’s always something.

  4. Bridget, Crafty Mom

    Bridget October 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I’m in! I always say if I didn’t get up and do workout at 5:00 a.m., I’m not sure I could fit it in any other time. I agree, it’s hard! That said, I do have a couple of working mom friends who dash out to the gym as soon as they put their kids down to bed at night. Not my thing. I’m all about getting it over with. But I’m excited about increasing exercise to Every. Damn. Day. (and trying to actually diet which is the harder thing for me). Now let’s see if I can try and do that hash tag thing….

  5. Seetha December 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I am in the same boat. I was doing quite well – exercising 3 times a week until I got pregnant last Aug. Since then I have not been able to get back on track again. My daughter is now 7+ mos. Only this week with great determination I have started working out in the a.m. Like the Rookiemom, I have committed to working out every day. Day 1 was okay, was quite short. Day 2 was perfect & complete. Day 3 had a lot of interruption – baby woke up – had to make her sleep again & resume etc. Day 4, I woke up late & had to cut it really short. So far only one day things have gone well. However, I am already feeling better. Back feels stronger, overall I feel light & less fatigued.

  6. Alison July 1, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Being a mom and getting fit seems two things apart but it only takes a little creativity and a lot of motivation to work it out together. Inserting a few stretches and light workouts when doing chores or during work is definitely a good start. To answer your question if it is possible to be a fit working mom, it’s absolutely a yes. 🙂

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