Working Out Is The Worst When You Have Kids

Look, I love working out and I love my kids. But put them together and what have you got? A hot mess, that’s what. Sometimes working out with kids goes smoothly, but other times? It’s just freaking hard. And I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting that.

Sometimes I see fit moms on Instagram, seamlessly integrating their babies into their workouts like mom bosses, basically transforming their babies into mini dumbbells and I feel ashamed that when I’m at home, the last thing I want to do is squats with my baby on my shoulders.

I like working out to be my “me” time, the single only time of day when I am really and truly free of the constant demands of my children. I know from experience that if I can get that one hour in and get a good sweat sesh out, I am a better person, mother, and wife. The only problem?

That doesn’t happen all the time.

What does happen is that working out and finding time to exercise every day is a battle when you have young kids. What happens is that someone is sick (always) or my husband has a meeting or the babysitter cancelled and working out feels like an impossible, impossible task.

I definitely envy the people I see in the gym without any idea what pregnancy does to their bodies, the childfree women right out of college with fit bodies that I will never have because I had my babies during college, and oh my gosh, all the time in the world to leisurely plan healthy meals and work out whenever they want and get that precious sleep your body needs to stay healthy.

One very wise mother of five that I worked with after I had my second baby and was complaining about not being able to “bounce back,” once told me that the best thing any new mother can do is realize that some day there will be time to get back in shape. Although those of us in the young kid/toddler/baby trenches can’t fathom it, apparently there will be more time someday to devote to getting really fit. Who would have guessed it?

But in the meantime, it’s so, so hard to strike a balance. It’s hard to balance feeling comfortable in our skin while giving our bodies the time they need to heal and recover after birth. It’s hard to feel good about our bodies when they are now littered in stretch marks and look nothing like we are used to. It’s hard to balance wanting to snuggle on the couch all day with a baby and wanting to be healthy by moving our bodies. It’s all just so hard.

So this one goes out to all the mamas in the gym, or working out at home, or doing some bench presses with your baby in the hallway — I see you. I know how hard it is to even take that first step towards working out and to make it part of your routine. I know what it’s like to choose between the only time you’ll get to rest your eyes for a second or exercising. I know what it’s like to feel so bone-achingly weary that you can’t imagine getting through another day, let alone squatting like it’s hot.

I get it. And it is hard. Working out with kids can be the worst. But then, they might get a little bit older and you might find yourself sitting at the table when your toddler will suddenly bust out her “muscles” or you might overhear a conversation between your six-year-old and eight-year-old daughters talking about how strong they are and competing to see who can do the most frog jumps across the living room and you will realize it —

It’s all worth it. Because you’re not just working out for yourself when you’re a mom. You’re working out for them, too.