Being a working mom is probably one of the busiest, hardest and most awesome jobs I have ever had. But, fitting everything into a single day takes effort and a million post it notes. I to-do list like nobody's business. Even though every day is packed full of things to do, I always make time to take care of myself.
When I started running, I struggled to fit it in. Being a working mom has made me become a professional at scheduling and prioritizing. Every day takes a lot of planning, but if it’s important, you make the time. Here are ways I fit in running despite being a busy working mom:
Make exercise a priority. Running or working out isn’t an option. Running is right there with brushing my teeth. I don’t consider it something to squeeze in, it’s a part of my day.
Plan for the week. I start planning on Sunday, before the work week gets going. I sit down with my schedule, or training plan if I’m in training for a race, and I plan each day. Planning prepares me for the week ahead. Planning includes everything from packing the clothes I need if I’m running at work, to making sure the boys will be picked up after school or enlisting the help of a babysitter if need be. If I know what I need to get my workout in ahead of time, my days run much smoother.
Meal prep is a time saver. Planning and preparing meals ahead makes life easier. Usually for me, I prep for lunch. If I’m taking salads for the week I make them Sunday and put them in the fridge so I can grab and go. Dinner is a little more flexible. Lately, Jackie and I have been experimenting with food delivery. The first dinner delivery service we tried was Hello Fresh. The experience has been a positive one. Each week we are sent a box with the recipes and the fresh ingredients for the week. No trying to figure out what to make or last minute pizza orders. The delivery service has been a time saver and the meals are super healthy.
Doing what I can. Not every day am I going to have time for a two-hour run. I know my limitations and I try to manage frustration when all I can manage is 2 miles on the treadmill after the boys go to bed. Any type of exercise is better than nothing, some days I just settle for what I can and make effort to plan better.
Set big goals. I don’t mean New Year’s Resolutions or a short-term diet. I mean big goals. Long term goals. I keep a marathon race in my horizon. Training for a marathon takes commitment. Marathons require training. Having a race as a goal gives me something to train for. For me, it's easier to stick with the day’s work out when I have a race or finish line in the horizon. This is how I have been able to stay on track. Having a big goal keeps me focused.
Accountability shouldn’t be underrated. It may sound silly and make no sense to some but, posting my workouts on Instagram was a big part of what kept me going. If you follow my Instagram (@marathon_mom304), you will see some of my workouts and motivational posts. When I was first running, posting the picture of my run and getting positive feedback from people in the running community helped push me to keep going. The running community is so inspirational and positive, it's been one of the reasons I am still running today. Now, it isn’t an essential part of my daily running but I try to post often. I post for the beginning runner who may be where I was years ago, struggling to keep going. I post to keep track of where I have been. I post to keep myself motivated on days when I feel like being on the couch instead. Taking selfies or posting running pictures may seem silly, but it has been important in my journey. Maybe it can help you.
I admit, I'm not super motivated every day. Even when everything is planned and I have the best intentions, some days I fail. Some days I go to bed frustrated because something came up and I couldn’t get my workout in. As hard as try, I get down on myself when I fail. But, one day doesn’t undermine my years of hard work. Just like one dessert doesn’t outweigh all the days of healthy eating. It’s okay. At the end of the day, I am stronger and healthier than I was when I started. Every day is work but totally worth it.