The Workout Dilemma: When Do Moms Have Time to Exercise?
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The Workout Dilemma: When Do Moms Have Time to Exercise?

While there's no question that I've found being a mom to be one of the most delightful, rewarding experiences of my life, there are also — as with most good things — a handful of downsides. For me, two of those downsides have combined in a way that I still haven't quite managed to solve.

The Dilemma: During pregnancy, I gained weight (well, duh, of course I did), but my schedule as a new mom is not exactly conducive to getting that weight off. Instead of cooking delicious low-fat meals from scratch, I'm throwing together anything quick and pre-packaged, or ordering take out. When I feel like I deserve a treat — and really, what mother of a small child doesn't deserve a treat? — I don't generally have time for a massage or a mani-pedi, so I have a candy bar or a cupcake. Most notably, getting to the gym has been a problem.

As a stay-at-home mom whose husband frequently doesn't get home from work until 7 p.m. or later, finding the time to go get in a decent workout hasn't been easy. We have no family in town, none of my friends have kids or are in a position to babysit, and although my gym offers childcare during certain hours, I'm one of Those Moms, who's skeptical about leaving her kid in the care of anyone who wasn't invited to his first birthday party. So, let's take a look at the options here, shall we?

Early morning: For a while, I tried this. I would get up at 6 a.m. and head to the gym, getting home by 7:30, in time to take over parenting duties for my husband so that he could get ready for work. It worked well enough, but I couldn't help but feel a sense of indignation. How was it fair that I was having to wake up before my baby? It wasn't fair at all, I concluded, and decided to try a different schedule.

After dinner: This one barely lasted a week. I've almost always been the one to put my son to sleep, so trying to race to the gym after dinner, work out, and get home (and showered) before he was an exhausted little ball of shrieking and tears just wasn't practical.

After bed: My next plan was to simply wait until the kid went to sleep, and then go to the gym afterwards. I stuck with this for a while, but the downsides were noteworthy — I barely saw my husband during that time period, because frequently by the time I got back from the gym, he was in bed, plus, working out at 9:30 at night after a full day of baby? Rough! Eventually, I had to give it up.

These days: I haven't been to the gym since before Christmas. I'm reluctantly considering using the child care offered at the gym after all, because otherwise, I can't seem to find a workable solution! Mornings are too early, nights are too late, evenings are just too busy... what's a girl to do?

Moms, when do you fit in your workouts?

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03.15.2013 / 11:06 PM EDT by Tracy Fusaro
Related: Moms, Health, Fitness

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