Over the last almost 6 years (quietly sobs), I have often been asked the question “how do you keep your workout routine with kids?” This post does not have a one size fits all answer. Because life is not one size fits all. Hell, even my little world isn’t always the same size. Some days work better than others.
A normal day consists of me waking up at 5am on the dot, coffee, then a workout. My workouts vary between Pilates, running, swimming, strength/weight training. On Saturdays I do karate, outside of the house. It gives me an hour guaranteed to myself. By waking up at 5 on weekdays, I ensure that I am up way before my boys (I have late sleepers, I know I am lucky with that) and I am able to usually get an uninterrupted workout in. This wasn’t always the case when they were shiny newborn humans, but as they age, their sleep normalizes.
There are mornings where littles wake up earlier than usual and I have a workout buddy. At this point, Jackson, the 5 year old, can pretty much fend for himself. Sometimes he joins me, sometimes he wanders around the house entertaining himself. Alex, well he is 2 so I keep him with me if he is up. In general, that is how I balance it. They have learned that mommy works out. It is just a simple fact of life here. They have to respect that time for me. I am happy to include them, but I am going to workout. There is no parent guilt in that either. We need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others. You are important too. I am a firm believer in that!
I have been sick for over 2 weeks now. A cold that turned into a nasty sinus infection. I am on the mend. Due to some amazing herbal tea and a black walnut nasal rinse. When I woke up at 5 today I decided I wanted to run. I haven’t ran in over 2 weeks. I couldn’t bring myself to hop on the treadmill. I have a love/(mostly) hate relationship with the treadmill. I decided I would get Jackson off to school and then go running in the forest preserve with Alex. I had EVERYTHING situated to operate smoothly. I spent the time I would usually be working out getting everything together. I even filled the tires on my BoB while Jackson ate his breakfast. I was ready to do this.
Then we were in the drop off line at school. I asked Jackson where his backpack was. It was still at home by the backdoor. He forgot to grab it. School on a good day is 10-15 minutes away. The main road we take is currently under construction. It can now take 20-30. This morning was on the longer end. Meaning now my run was going to be pushed back significantly, maybe canceled all together. I had to drop him off. Then drive home, grab bag, drive back, then hike it back to the forest preserve. That is how today’s workout started. See, not even my days are always one size fits all.
I did all of that. In a little less time than I had predicted. There was less traffic on my second drive to school because it was a bit later in the morning. Some of the work rush was gone. When I realized this I thought “Ok, you can do this. This is working out fine.”
The run started off ok. Not great, but manageable. He complained for the first 5 minutes that he wanted to walk, but eventually I was able to persuade him to stay seated. He had his ipad, snacks, milk, and box (it is a small house he carries everywhere that is filled with his favorite toys. He even sleeps with it). Around the 1.8 mile mark again he asked to walk. We were nearing the park, so I lamented that he stay seated for just a little while longer, we would be at the park soon!
I am a momma of my word, so freedom he had! He enjoyed himself for a bit. Then said he wanted to walk. Refusing to get back into the stroller. No matter how many times I said the word iPad. Which, I suppose is a good thing. But I digress.
There is no running when you are walking with a wandering two year old. I had about 2 miles of actual running under my belt. And about 2 miles to get back to the car. The real adventure began. He had me wander up this cool tree house pavilion area we had never walked up before. I followed his lead.
He is my wild child. My wanderer. My very free spirit. My mischievous little dude. Jackson is a free spirit in many ways. He also has his moments as a 5 year old seeking independence yet still utterly reliant on our constant attention. He has that internal battle going on right now. Such is life at 5, nearly 6. When Jackson was 2, he was not quite so independent. We went on runs all of the time. I cannot recall any specific times he ended up walking. I remember once when he was an infant and I ended up carrying a crying baby home. For the most part, he always stayed put, very content. Alex is a whole different person. He seeks adventure and his curiosity is overwhelming. He has no fear. (unless it is Halloween decorations or the movie Ghostbusters) He didn’t want to stay with me. I tried the trick, “ok mommy is leaving, bye bye!” And I started to stroll away. HE LAUGHED AND THEN STARTED TO WALK INTO THE WOODS! He cares not for my silly bluffs. He knows I am not leaving him alone in a forest. Sigh, he won.
My 4 mile run today turned into a 2 mile run. With a lot of toddler walking. And a nice maybe half mile sprint at the end when I finally got him back in the stroller. Then we headed home. It was after 11am. I had wanted to be home around 10ish. But all of my plans fell apart one by one. I adapted. I didn’t forget to stretch, despite the late time. We headed up to my Pilates Room. I am getting too old to not get a post run stretch in. That shit is for 20 year olds, not women who have had two kids and turned 31 almost 6 months ago. We better stretch our muscles and cool down, lest we want to regret it later.
Which really made my entire chaotic morning worth it. That photo on the right. I can’t! My timing just worked out perfectly. The milk swan. I will be incorporating it into all of my future mat classes! Ha!
The takeaway here? The insightful lesson I wish to impart on all parents looking for a way to stay fit and have tiny humans running around your feet (literally)?
FLEXIBILITY! I don’t mean in the backbend sense. I mean in the life sense. You have to be flexible with yourself and your schedule. You have to be flexible with your children. You have to adapt to your surroundings. If that means that you only run 2 miles, but get a nice 2 mile walk/cool down in, then shit, at least you were moving! You moved 4 miles on your own two legs. Your kid was moving on his legs too! I even threw in a few walking lunges while pushing the empty stroller. Alex stopped in his tracks and laughed, but hey, you are the reason I am doing these buddy. 😉 Get back in the stroller and I won’t look so silly!
But seriously, sometimes you have to workout with your kids around. Squats in the living room. Pull-ups on the play ground. Pilates at 5:45 am and saying “hey sweetheart, sure join me,” when a tiny human waltzes in at 6:15. Sometimes your run gets pushed back by a good 30-45 minutes because of a forgotten backpack. I was annoyed, but hey, I survived and I ran! Shower was later, lunch was later, but I got that milk swan photo, so life works out sometimes.
For more Pilates and Fitmommaboom inspiration, follow me on Instagram Colev25 You can find frequent Pilates videos, my often self deprecating humor, adventures with two male tiny humans, and any other random things that inspire me to hit share.