Monday, October 1, 2012

Making it all work

I stole the title of this post from Janae at The Hungry Runner Girl, but this is a topic I've been thinking about a lot lately, and it's something that a number of my other favorite mom/runner/bloggers have written about.  It can be hard enough to get in good workouts between work, family, and TV social commitments... How do you keep fitness as part of your life (a priority, even) after you add a baby to the mix?

Right now my schedule is:

5:30am - Get out of bed.  I don't know if it's pregnancy or that it's staying dark out later, but it has been SO.HARD for me to get up in the morning.  Even with a reasonable bedtime.  Just FYI.

If I go to yoga/ the gym...
5:30 - 6:15am - Do the morning routine stuff.  Make sure all my clothes and lunch stuff is packed.
6:15am - Travel.
6:30 - 7:30am -  Exercise.
7:30 - 8:00am - Shower/change/get to work.

If I walk at home...
5:45 - 7am - Walk.
7 - 7:45am - Shower, eat, get ready for work.
8:00am - Arrive at work.

So if I add in all the new things that will need to happen with the baby, I'm envisioning my schedule being:

4:30am - Get up, do morning routine stuff, feed baby/pump
5:00- 6:00am - Work out.  All workouts will be done at home either on the treadmill, with the weights we have, or around the neighborhood (once it gets warm enough).
6:00-7:30am - Shower, get myself fed and ready, get the baby fed and ready.
7:30 - 8:15am - Take baby to daycare.  Drive to work.

Which is honestly more than a little daunting when I think about it.  I've gotten up at 4:30am on a regular basis before, and my personal experience is that it is MUCH harder than getting up at 5:30am.  It's hard to get to bed early enough to get a reasonable amount of sleep (and that's without a baby), and it really feels like waking up in the middle of the night.  Plus it's hard to get your body and brain to MOVE to get in a good workout at 5am (and that's without a baby).  And I'll have a baby who will have needs (FOOD!!!!  NOW!!!!!) that only I can fulfill in the middle of the night, which will make it even harder to get up.

From what I've read, there are a few "tried and true" ways to make running work after you have a baby:

1. Suck it up and deal.  You are going to be tired whether you get up at 4:30am or 5:30am.  Might as well get in a workout.
2. Moderate your expectations.  Some days a workout is just not going to happen or it may have to be shorter than you'd like.  Even though it's a lot less fun, losing the baby weight will be more about fewer Cadbury Eggs taken in than sweat out.

While some moms claim that switching to later workouts after the baby is in bed is the only way they could balance their schedules, I'm leaning very much against that option for a few reasons.  One, morning is my high energy time.  Evening much less so.  I'm waaaayyy more unmotivated to work out at 5pm than 5am.  Two, we've talked about it, and Daniel is going to take baby duty in the morning so I can work out, and I'm going to take baby duty in the evening so he can still work out.  Three, it's so much easier for other commitments to get in the way of evening workouts.  Again, no one is going to schedule a meeting at 5am, but there are plenty at 5pm.

Any other suggestions?  Things that work(ed) for you to balance fitness with a new baby?  Any non-caffeine stimulants you'd recommend for those tough days?  



  1. Kate Schleitwiler KruizengaOctober 1, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    I think it's awesome that you're wrangling with this already. I've thought about it loads [and babies are still a few years off for me], and I think trying to cultivate balance - fitting in rest, working out, a career, making meals, seeing friends, being present for your children, etc. - is often elusive and always a compromise. Have you read Ann-Marie Slaughter's article? I know it's long [continue past the break], but I think it's worthwhile [and hey, I actually read it on the elliptical...] and makes a lot of strong points. It's hard to have it all, we need to work to carve our our priorities, it's important to find work that is meaningful, and the right fit for the stage of our lives, and we need to get more women, men, bosses, and companies on board to continue to shift what society expects any reasonable person to achieve in a 24-hour day [while still sleeping]. I think the more we speak out about having to drop a ball here and there, and the more folks own putting their kids first - sometimes at the expense of careers, working out, and other things - the better. I love that even Gwen Stefani admitted last month [ ] that she's temporarily had to give up working out to be present for her boys. Not something most people want to do long term, but she owned that some things have to go.

  2. I think it's all about your priorities and when you can make time. I love to run, but I don't have time anymore to run for 1 hour every day. Instead, I make time about 4 or 5 times a week for about a 30 minute workout. I say that I "make time" because I could be doing about a million other things with those 30 minutes, but I chose to work out instead. Sometimes I'll do cardio with those 30 minutes, but most of the time, I do pilates from a popular fitness instructor on YouTube while in my living room trying to avoid stepping on toys. And, at least for my schedule, working out at 9 or 9:30 p.m. works out the best. That is definitely NOT my ideal time of working out, but it's when I can make the time. Mornings are a crazy rush to get out of the house. And with baby still nursing at 4:30 a.m. usually, those early morning workouts didn't work for me. Unfortunately, I don't watch TV anymore. It stinks, but with a preschooler and a baby, TV is dominated by Nickelodeon and Disney. My advice would be to give it about a month with the baby, see what kind of schedule develops, stay open-minded, lower your workout expectations, and then decide when you can make time. I know you're a long distance runner, so I'll cross my fingers for you! But, it's fantastic you're thinking about working out already. I workout because I love it and I see it as an investment in my health. Too many moms don't make the time for themselves and working out. Good luck! :-)