Just a Half Hour?

In the spirit of the fitness challenge we wrote about earlier this week, I want to talk about what a challenge I’ve been having maintaining my own fitness goals. I am having a heck of a time finding a half hour to go for a run.

woman towing a bike trailer

There are heavy, heavy kids in there and that slope is steeper than it looks!

But it’s just a half hour, say all the rational people around me and even the angry voice inside my head. And while it’s technically just a half hour, it’s really so much more than that.

First, there’s the time to get dressed in my exercise gear, and then the time to shower afterward. Even if I skip the shower, I still need time to lie on the floor and pant/sweat/chug water.

Then, and this is the hard part for me, there’s the matter of finding the right half hour to go. Can’t be too close to when I’ve eaten…can’t be too close to when I have to cook the next meal for my family. Can’t be too close to Felix’s nap time because I need to nurse him to sleep or else I get engorged. Can’t be too close to when we have to leave for school or work and on and on and on.

One thing I’m learning is that parenting is primarily about making choices. The biggest choice is do I get up at 4:30 to work out before my children wake up at 5 or do I sleep? For me, with the hours my kids keep, the answer is always sleep. It’s like I live on a dairy farm over here.

If, on a Saturday, I choose to take that half hour run, that’s time my husband cannot choose to mow the lawn because he needs to keep our kids safe (our older son lacks safety awareness and can not be outside while the lawnmower is on). Or else, if I choose that run, I’m choosing not to do dishes before the sink overflows or wash diapers before we run out. And on and on.

My point here isn’t to moan that my life is hard (because it is, but we all have hard lives, right? Life is hard work!). No, my point here is that it really takes the whole family to support the series of choices that go into getting some exercise when there are young kids in the picture. That and exercise needs to be a truly conscious choice. It requires thought and planning for young families. Long gone are the days when I could notice a cool breeze and just zip out for a workout if the spirit moved me.

This summer I’ve been finding more ways to incorporate my kids into my exercise. I got my bike trailer hooked up and I’ve been towing the children around to playgrounds. When we go to the spray parks or water steps (a public fountain here in Pittsburgh), I’ve been parking a mile away and pushing one kid while walking with the other one on my back.

Yesterday, I got a solo run in the afternoon because my dear friend and neighbor dropped by and said she would sit with the kids while I ran! It was hot and sweaty and glorious.

I know a few moms who get together and, say, two moms will sit with the brood of kids while two other moms run a half hour and then they swap. This is a great idea. As soon as my baby is done transitioning to one nap, I might seek out that sort of arrangement. Sometimes, it sure does take more than 2 adults to achieve a goal.

Did you find a half hour to exercise today? Leave a comment to share your strategy!

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