“How do you do it???” I’ve been getting this question a lot lately! And, if you honestly want to know how I get through each day with all my three children still alive and me not in an insane asylum, I can only tell you it’s by God’s grace alone. However, I’m thinking this question was more in regards to how I can find time to work out and eat right as a busy mom of three, so I wanted to give you my top ten tips here! Personally, as a personal trainer and online fitness coach, working out is my job, so I definitely make it a priority, but I still consider my mom duties to be number one. I don’t have a gym membership or full-time nanny (didn’t even have a babysitter until recently), but I was able to get to a point in my postpartum twin journey this last year that I truly love my body, my health, and my results. Here’s how:
Hack #1: Make early mornings or late nights your jams!
After your babies start sleeping a bit and you come out of the mombie phase, of course! I was lucky enough to start getting more sleep (still not perfect) around 6 months with my twins. This means they were consistently sleeping through the night (6pm-6am) around this time. About this same time, I was able to commit to early morning workouts (4am) and put myself to bed at 9pm.
I chose 4:00am because I am a morning person, it worked with my sleep cycle (that I had developed while pumping and getting up with the twins), and I knew my workout and bible study had to be done before my 2 year old woke up at 5:30am. I was happy to get my
workout out of the way before our day began, and noticed I was a much better and patient parent when I had my daily dose of endorphins. I also used a preworkout energizing formula to wake myself up at that early hour and feel great for the day. Working out at home meant I could just roll out of bed and get it done (even in my PJs if I wanted)!
I know not everyone is a crazy morning person like me, so if night time is your jam that works too. However, don’t let a long or rotten day get the best of you (at least not more than one night in a row). Make the commitment to yourself that it will get done! Whichever time you choose to workout, WRITE IT DOWN! Make it an appointment with yourself that you CANNOT miss! Set aside whichever time during your day to get it done!
Hack #2: Find what works for you!
If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. With the availability of every type of fitness program under-the-sun online or through your local gyms, from Tai Chi to pole dancing, there’s honestly no excuse for not finding a workout you ENJOY. I understand that not everyone will like lifting weights, not everyone will like dancing, but if you try enough workouts you will eventually find one that will make you smile (even if it’s just a smirk). Personally, I used to walk into a gym and almost immediately start CRYING. I hated the feeling of not knowing what to do, of looking stupid, and not feeling successful. The ONLY way I started my fitness journey was thanks to a funny little Brazilian trainer on a silly booty DVD called Brazil Butt Lift. I could do this program in the comfort of my home, he made me laugh, and the moves, while effective, didn’t hurt or make me upset. From there, I gained confidence and continued to pursue home workouts that made me feel strong and trainers that made me laugh. Now, I try to do the same for others and keep those memories in mind when I meet new clients.
Hack #3: Use what you got!
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or home gym to MOVE! Don’t let that be a barrier in your fitness journey. Bicep curl your water bottle. Use your kids’ toys to create resistance (as demonstrated in this video). Go outside and use the park equipment with your kids. Make the movements of your every day life intentional and functional!
Hack #4: Don’t waste your time!
Lots of people use the excuse “I don’t have time to work out.” Well, you also don’t have time to be sick, unhealthy, or unhappy in life. So, find a workout that works with YOUR schedule. There are programs that obtain results in 10 MINUTES a day! With high intensity interval training, 30 minutes each day actually works great! Another way to ensure that time is not a barrier is eliminating the drive to the gym and doing your workouts at home! If you do choose to go to the gym, don’t waste your time, have a plan, use minimal rest periods and full body movements that help to condense the time of your workout while increasing the effectiveness. Here are some of my favorite full-body moves (Blog post to come)!
Hack #5: Do something FUN!
I’m a huge proponent in the idea that fitness should be FUN! This goes with hack #3 and my past experiences hating fitness. Find a workout buddy that wants to join you, find a trainer that you enjoy being around, and be silly with it. Fitness doesn’t always have to be serious business. Don’t let the serious weightlifting faces intimidate you. Smile and laugh (it burns more calories and is great for the abs) 😉 . Life is too short not to enjoy what you are doing! Not to say that it won’t be hard or a struggle sometimes, but that’s even more reason you have to find something you enjoy!
Hack #6: Just do it!
This one is HUGE! Postpartum fitness is SCARY y’all. Starting any fitness journey is scary, but you have to remember the words of my good friend, Dory, “Just keep swimming!” Just keep moving! The hardest part of a fitness journey is starting! My advice is to take a leap of faith, invest in that fitness program you’ve been wanting to try, hire that personal trainer, and to surround yourself with people who will support you and keep you accountable. Every excuse you could ever make can be rebutted with a reason TO exercise! “I’m too tired,” GREAT, exercise increases energy! “I’m too broke,” AWESOME, working out is free, run outside, GOOGLE, YOUTUBE. Oh, and you can also make money working out like I do! “I don’t have enough time.” Don’t we all, see hack #4! I know this one is a bit of tough love here, but I want you to know that if I (and so many others with even less can do it, so can you!) Oh, and I used to use ALL the excuses all the time (thus the hacks!).
Hack #7: Incorporate your kids!
If you are having fun with your workouts, so should your kids! If your have littles that don’t nap anymore and are around for your home workout, do it with them! My kiddo dances around me as I do mine, jumps on top of me (adds more weight!) during push ups, and I encourage him and he encourages me as we go. I’ve used my twins as weights before during squats, and they’ve all grown up with tummy time as I do burpees above them! They should know your goals and have an understanding of what you want to accomplish. “Do you know why Mommy works out?” is a question I often throw around. “Because Mommy loves you so much that she wants to be healthy for you so we can play and run and I can be around for a long time.” Your kids need to know your WHY and that they are part of it! If you do go to a gym with childcare, make it exciting to GET to go to the gym, PUMP them up! Your attitude towards fitness has a huge effect on theirs!
Hack #8: Focus on nutrition!
Everyone has to eat! (Even you busy mom!) Nutrition is the #1 factor we can control our health through. Now, I’m going to address this right away because I get it asked so often. “What about breast-feeding moms?” We are told to up our calories and basically eat whatever we want. However, are the choices you make serving you? It is 100% possible to eat healthy and be breastfeeding or pregnant. It is possible and even more probable to eat enough good calories when you are following a meal plan. The best tool for busy moms in regards to nutrition is a PLAN! Know how many calories you should be intaking (please don’t stress over exacts here people), and what your macronutrients should look like for the week according to your goals, AND where you are going to get your micronutrients from. You SHOULD be eating 5 times a day (I know, BIGGEST complaint and worry I get from busy moms), but that plan will help. I’m not saying eat like a professional body builder and make eggs, chicken, rice, and veggies for every meal, BUT have readily available, pre-portioned snacks handy to make the days easier. My husband and I make larger dinners that are then pre-portioned into our lunches to last for two meals at a time. We “meal-prep” some items so we don’t have to buy them from the store, such as protein muffins for breakfast, paleo granola, and baby foods. Even setting a reminder to eat on your phone helps! (Get our FREE sample meal plan here!)
Hack #9: Love where you are!
Let’s face it, your body has changed, you LIFE has changed. You are a mom now. That’s a GOOD thing! Your body has served you well! So, hug those scars, love handles, extra skin, and pounds and say thank you! Stressing about where you are now (whether in life or with your body) doesn’t help you get any where. Stress actually holds onto fat, so remember that too! You are amazing and God made you exactly how he wanted you. Self-love brings health into your life. It does not work the other way around, losing weight doesn’t not bring you self-love, although endorphins from working out definitely make you feel great!
Hack # 10: Give yourself grace!
The greatest tip I can give to moms regarding fitness is GIVE YOURSELF GRACE! You had a baby for crying out loud! You are awesome! Motherhood is tough, and we are all in this together. No one is perfect and there will never be a time when you are perfect at all things. You will fail, don’t NOT start something because you are too afraid to fail, because I’m telling you right now, you WILL miss a workout, you WILL eat that donut (hopefully not every day for every meal), you WILL eventually disappoint yourself or someone else. Knowing that upfront should release the fear of it. Knowing that EVERYONE messes up sometimes can also help. Don’t compare your journey to any one else’s. Finally, Keep following me because I’m sure as heck going to mess up and I’m sure as heck going to keep telling you about it.
The birthday party invites have begun. Me and my brood of children load up into the car, load up on sugary cake and stimuli and back again to attempt bed time/nap. I really do love being able to celebrate with my friends the fact that they were able to survive another year as a parent. I love getting my two year old out of the house and into as much physically exhausting activity as possible. I love seeing the children interact and the smiles on their faces. BUT, it’s hard. With play dates, nap times, birthdays, and more being the center of my life right now, I can’t help but notice how social “niceties” are unfortunately the first thing to go for THIS mommy of three under three.
I’m always late… I REALLY try not to be, and I REALLY HATE this quality…but sadly it happens more often than I’d like to admit. Either my kid is napping, and I can’t wake a sleeping child, or it’s just the usual chaos that a two year old flings at you while you try to get out the door, or I’ve overbooked myself with back to back events, things get in the way of my timely manner. My military upbringing (my dad was a marine) causes quite the feelings of guilt in this area, even though, I’m usually technically “on time”, but feel I should have been earlier. I start the process of leaving the house 2 hours before departure, to counteract the lateness, but things like all my kids falling asleep in the car, or major blow outs (by BOTH babies at once) are sometimes unforeseen circumstances.
I’m not the best of friends… Ok, I need to apologize here, I didn’t get your kids birthday presents 🙁 I really am sad about this… Here’s the thing, getting three kids in and out of the car to “run to Target” is a BIG deal to me. I like you A LOT and I like your kids, but if it’s down to making it on time, or going crazy “stopping by the store” to get a gift… I’m sorry… Also, having three kids is crazy expensive and shopping for gifts for twins is also expensive. Trying not to make excuses for my bad manners, but there. Sometimes my mind is SOOOOOO jumbled (mom-brain anyone?) that I don’t remember your name, if I’ve called you, the last time we’ve hung out, who your children are, who MY children are (jk about the last one), but seriously, that how scrambled my eggs are… Remind me that we are friends and that we need to hang out.
I’m not ignoring you, I swear… Playdates are kind of hard with three kids. I’m constantly counting 1-2-3 to make sure all my duckies are accounted for and present. I can imagine once my twins (10 months) become more mobile it will only get harder. There are never full sentences or conversations spoken amongst my friends because I’m always running to either check up on one, changing a diaper, or kissing a boo boo. I usually have to leave without even a good bye or just a wave as I am being pulled out the door. Anxiety courses through my veins as I fear a melt down at any moment. That kind of stress does not a wonderful human being make!
I’m a mess… I’m never wearing make up. I might smell from not showering. I probably have spit up or worse on my clothes. But, I’m there… I’m trying. My kids are a mess. They don’t wear shoes (who has time for that?). They are learning to eat (by throwing food on the floor). And, there will definitely be a dirty diaper (or two) thrown into whatever trash is closest. I hate this uncouth behavior, but it kind of is what it is…
DON’T YOU DARE RING MY DOORBELL… Being a little dramatic here, but I’ll tell you that all manners fly right out the window when you wake up my kids, sorry. This is the one rude thing I’m not ashamed of. (I know, I know, I need a little sign that says “wake ’em, you take ’em”, but again refer to the last paragraph about being broke and busy.) Ladies, I’m saved, stop coming to my door during nap time and trying to bust through. Friends, y’all should know because you have kids too. Amazon, you get a pass because you usually don’t ring, and I love you.
In the end, can we moms of three under three, or just moms in general get cut a little slack? In this season of our lives our manners may suck. We may leave a mess wherever we go. We may BE a mess wherever we go. But, we are keeping our humans alive and TRYING to teach them good manners. Thanks for understanding.
I didn’t want to be a mommy today…I wasn’t good enough to be one. Let this be my apology letter to my kids one day for how I acted today.
Dear T (presently two years old), K & K (both only six months),
Ugh. I sucked today. I’m sorry babies. I seriously love being your mother, but sometimes I can’t stand it. On days like today, six months into having twins, having not slept more than a few hours in what seems like forever, I failed you. I do everything to help you (all) never have a sad moment in your life. I wake up with you throughout the night. I feed you when you are hungry (even though I should be letting you “cry it out” by now). I cuddle you as much as I can with three of you when you are sick (which you have all three have been this week). I play with you ALL day. I’m on the floor with you, we go for walks, we play outside, we sing and dance to silly songs, I teach you the ABCs. But, sometimes that’s not enough for you guys, and for some reason beyond my understanding, you cry, like A LOT. It’s T, then Kee, then Kay or sometimes all of you at once. Today was a crying day.
My heart breaks for you. It really does. The mommy guilt I feel on a daily basis is sometimes too much for me to handle. I can’t take away your pain, or figure out how to help you, and I’m tired, grouchy, and imperfect. Today the crying was just a little too much, and I had that thought that sometimes pops up on days like this, “I give up. I don’t want to be a mommy today.” Today I just wanted my body not to be a mommy body, my hair to not be a play toy, to be able to eat one bite of food, to get out of my pjs before noon, and to NOT have to listen to constant crying. At times like that, I have to walk away, shed my own tears, and breathe (sometimes scream). If I could WILL you to stop crying, boy, would I! I find anger and discontent in my own brokenness. (If you think you are a “good” Christian, kids sure will bring out that brokenness really quick.) My frustration in not being able to help you comes out in the worst of ways, by taking it out on you, which doesn’t make the situation any better of course.
But then, the crying finally subsides and one of you gives me a smile and my heart melts. There is no trophies or thank you’s, or “I love you’s” given to moms, we survive purely on your happiness, which, like a rainbow, always comes back out after the storm has passed. I need to remember the rainbow more often, it’s often hard to see the big picture when you are so tiny and need so much love, sometimes more than I can provide at that moment. But, I do love you. With all my heart, I love you. I’ll never stop being your mommy, even when my brokenness is telling me this job stinks (like, literally, do you know how many poopie diapers I change of yours a day?). Will you please forgive me and my drastically shifting moods?
Your FOREVER Mommy
Lately I’ve been hearing “You are a ‘supermom’!” a lot. I guess having twins and a toddler and still surviving while keeping them all alive is a superpower. And while I’ll agree that I don’t do anything without the strength of God and couldn’t it do without Him, I have to ask the question, “Why can’t we, as moms, have it all?” Why does it seem so odd that I can raise my three while running a home business, keeping up with my health and fitness, loving on my husband, and still have my sanity?
We are in such an exciting and opportunistic time for mom businesses! I know, I know, you are like, “Ugh, I’m so sick of my friends trying to sell me something on Facebook.” Okay, give me a chance to change your perspective for a second.
Our society has had gone on a little bit of a rollercoaster ride when it comes to family life and the woman’s role. From frontier pioneer woman to 1950’s housewife, to “Sex and the City” era uber successful business women, and it’s my belief that it’s now coming back around to the necessity of mom staying at home. Now, before you write me off as old-fashioned or worse, I think one of the main reasons it’s going that way is because of the in-affordability of childcare in the United States. The economy has not treated us millennials all that well and personally our family has made sacrifices for this reason, and I’m sure many more families have made choices based on a poor economy.
For us, my husband chose to join the military after law school to help pay off his student loan debt (and to serve the country of course- but the loan debt helped that decision). Because of his service in the military, my degree in elementary education through Arizona State was thrown a slight curve ball. See, as a teacher, you must obtain certification through each state you work in and moving every three years doesn’t make you the most appealing of candidates. It was definitely necessary, however, especially when we didn’t have kids, for me to work, so I went from job to job as we moved. At the same time I knew I needed something that would move with me, that could be mine and help me feel empowered.
I started health and fitness coaching online in 2013 before I even knew what a MLM was and no one was trying to add me to random FB groups asking me to buy lipstick from them. Four years later, while it still bugs me to be added to groups from random strangers (not a business tactic I suggest- moms), I think we have an awesome revolution on our hands. Mom bosses are a group of women that want the best of both worlds and a lot of them are actually getting it! We aren’t willing to negotiate time with family with the need to provide for it. We are in control- control of our hours, our success, and our commitment. We don’t have to look for positions of employment in male driven offices that fail to understand our home life. We don’t even have to pay for someone else to watch our kiddos (if we don’t want to) 😉
I’m pretty sure when men sold door-to-door or supported their families through their commission selling household goods, no one rolled their eyes and told them to get a real job. A millionaire is still a millionaire whether a man or a woman, money is still as green in our hands as a man’s. Although, our biggest critiques seem to be more from other women than from men…
So next time you get an invite from someone (possibly me) asking you to join her challenge group, or buy her product, I ask you to stop for a moment (before ignoring her and never answering- which is worse than an outright “no thanks”) and think about the fact that she’s a part of this revolution. She might be paving the way for YOU even, to have it all. Your small purchase will make her day, help support her family, and maybe even make our society better by allowing her to raise her kids herself without financial strife. So, go out and support mom business!
I imagine being a stay-at-home mom looked a lot differently in the 1950’s. Did they even call it being a “stay-at-home” mom then, or just being a mom?
Google Images: “1950s Housewife”
Most of us can pull up a mental imagine of a 1950’s mom at home with her vacuum, apron, and high heels. “Perfect” in many ways, but as we know now today, way too subservient to be happy, “suffering” in silence as secondary citizens.
Now, pull up a mental image of “mommin'” in present day. For some reason, what pulls up for me is an image of a mom on the floor, coffee in one hand, kids climbing all over her, hair messy, and sweatpants/leggings on with a look of exhaustion on her face. I’m sure many of us can relate to this image. My question is, will this image too one day be looked back on as a skewed social construct?
Google Images: “Momlife”