Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How to Balance Training and Kids

Last night Letty, reader and fellow blogger, asked me how I handle training with kids so I thought I'd take this opportunity and answer the question as a post.  Although I don't think I have any profound ideas or advice, this is how I make things work.

First of all, I have the best kids in the world.  My kids NEVER (ok rarely) complain about going to the gym.  They actually like going because there are a lot of other kids to play with (some of their friends from school) and a huge playscape to climb on.  Nicholas (my oldest who is 8) gets to play xbox and use their gym to shoot hoops or whatever he wants.  Yeah, but pretty much my kids rock.


Second, I have the most loving and supportive husband.  I know I've said it before, and I'm not trying to be  all "look at me I have the best husband" but it is true.  He has NEVER complained about me leaving him with the kids to go on my long runs, he encourages me ALWAYS and he comes to all my races to support me (WITH ALL THREE KIDS).  Having the love and support of the most important person in my life is essential to my success.  Thanks George, I don't always say it, but I most definitely appreciate it.


Since I'm not giving up my kids or my husband, I guess I better offer some insight into what else works for me balancing my training and being a mother.

I have one major advantage that is they key to my success right now.  I don't work.  I don't know how moms who work full-time can handle it all, I really don't and I admire them.  I've never worked more than 20 hours a week AND maintained a training schedule.  I'm not saying it's not possible, I'm just saying I personally have never experienced it.

Because I have the luxury of not working, I do ALL my weekday workouts while my kids are in school.  The days that Jack isn't in school (Mondays and Wednesdays) he goes with me to the gym and plays.  Occasionally I'm able to take him in the jogger or in the bike trailer and he really enjoys that too.


The point is, my kids aren't really affected by my day-to-day workout routine.  Ella and Nicholas are in school (excluding summer) and Jack is either happily playing or hanging out WITH me.

I also remember the bigger picture when I'm feeling a tad guilty.   That is, my kids are able to see me exercising and understand the reason I exercise is to stay healthy.  I've already seen how my running has positively impacted my children as they have done things at 6 and 8 years old that took me 30 plus years to do.



When I was in the height of marathon training (i.e. doing long runs of up to 4 hours) I generally started as early as 5:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.  Meaning, by the time my kids and hubby woke up they barely missed me and we still had plenty of time left to enjoy the day together.  Furthermore, Saturdays were my scheduled rest days on purpose.  That way, I was sure not to miss any sporting events or fun activities because of my training.

You should also know, I don't have a perfect house.  Right now there are laundry baskets full of folded clothes (waiting to be put away) in my living room, my bathroom could use a good scrubbing, and I think I saw the remnants of cheese puffs on the light switch, but I'm ok with that.  Not everyone can do EVERYTHING perfectly all the time, and you have to learn to let some things go.

Finally, and I think this might be the biggest key to my success,  my kids ALWAYS take precedence over my training.  If something comes up at school and I have to miss a workout then I gave myself a guilt-free pass to skip that day.  Also I took almost 2 weeks off from the gym between Christmas and New Years.  I still got in a few runs, but I wasn't dragging my kids to the gym everyday of their 2 week vacation.  I felt like my kids needed the downtime more than I needed the workouts and I'm no less for it.  Plus, I got to spend some real quality time with my kids and that is invaluable.

In summary (in nice bullet form):

  • Have awesome, easy going kids who don't complain about spending time at the gym daycare. 
  • Have a supportive husband who is your biggest cheerleader. 
  • Workout when your kids are in school, sleeping, or workout WITH your kids.  
  • Realize that by working out and training you're making a positive impact on your child's views of health and fitness that will hopefully last a lifetime.
  • Schedule your rest days on days where you can maximize your family time. 
  • Know that your children will always be your priority and you won't ALWAYS be able to do EVERY workout and still be there for your kids AND THAT IS OK!!!! 
  • Oh and don't forget, embrace the dust bunnies! 

7 comments:

Feener44 said...

i was discussing things with a friend once and i was complaining or wondering out loud why my house was a mess and not decorated or unorganized - this was right after I did some run and meet her for a walk, her house is perfect and she is always updating and rearranging....she looked at me and said - b/c you workout - while i decorate ....it was that simple. she was calling me out and calling herself out, we each had made a choice what to do with our free time....

Momswimbikerun said...

Exactly my point! Why couldn't I have been blessed with skinny genetics and then I could have an awesome house! lol

Anonymous said...

Perfect! Xoxo G

robringer said...

all my workouts either fall when Noah is asleep for his morning naps, or when christine is home with me and I can get out for an hour. Having a supportive spouse helps...I don't know what I am going to do when Noah's morning naps shorten or go away...

Tri mommy said...

Great post, I loved how you pointed out that your kids see you working out and understand why you do it. It sends a great message to them. My husband laughs his @r$ off when he see's my two year old doing (or trying to) do squats right along with me or when my son takes off his shirt picks up bands and starts "his workout".

Anna Sherwood said...

Thanks for sharing. It's great that you have a gym that your kids can go to AND have fun not just be "babysat". I run/workout because I want to be healthy for my daughter and any other children we have, plus I want to be a positive role model for her. I blog about being a mom, wife and physical activity practitioner at http://pipersrun.com

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