Sunday, August 10, 2008

How Can I be Michael Phelps?

Carrying on our Olympic theme here at BC...

I have a serious query for all of you hard-core-mommy types out there. How and when and what is your means of staying fit? I mean, we all have husbands with demanding schedules and a lot of kids that require childcare, so how do you do it? I know that at least three of our builders were inter-collegiate athletes at P-town and I always saw Juris Mater at the student fitness center at strange late hours. So now, here we are five years and a lot more responsibilities later -- how do you keep it up? How do you strike the balance between maintaining the fitness (that is crucial as a mother for both health and stamina reasons) while giving your kids and husband the time they deserve? I want to hear it all - do the kids let you work out at home on a machine? Do you run with double joggers? If so what happens when #3 arrives? Are you as reluctant as I am to ditch poor Dad with the kiddos as soon as he gets home so that you can sneak in a workout? What about nursing boobs in sports bras - how many bras do you have to wear, seriously? I want to see what the record is amongst our readers as far as how many are required.

This issue is weighing heavily on me as my husband is about to return to "the real Army" after several months in a training environment. This will mean that it will be much more difficult for me to depend on him for my daily runs (sans kids, I am not a jogging stroller girl, I have balance issues as it is) and I am highly interested in what you all have found to work.


"H" said...

I'm the world's worst about exercise, but one of my friends takes turns with another mom in the neighborhood a couple days a week watching the children for an hour while the other goes jogging.

Katherine said...

I take walks with my girls. I bring the double stroller in case the 2 year old gets tired, but she walks most of the time. As far as #3, either #1 will have to walk, or I whip out the baby bjorn + double stroller. I'll be a funny sight but get quite a work out. lol.

I'm hoping at some point to buy a small personal trampoline or step-up platform I can exercise on at home but they aren't cheap, so I haven't gotten one yet.

Carol said...

When number three was young, I did the baby bjorn plus double stroller for walks. Now, if I let any of them walk it usually becomes a slow stroll. Then....later....I used a treadmill at home (bought used). This worked until it broke (not that I am in good shape or anything). Now, I am about to start paying a babysitter just so I can go work out. Maybe this will be the ticket to "in shape"!

texas mommy said...

I have had major difficulties with this as well! I grilled B-Mama awhile ago when I had 2 on diff. nap schedules on everything from when/how she runs to when/how to take a shower! These are not easy questions.

I am able to handle the double BOB jogger, but those days are now over. Otherwise, I used to run at 8pm, the second the boys went to bed, come back and take a shower. But then I had very limited husband time in the evenings and some nights I was too exhausted to go. Pregnancy induced sciatica ended that after just a few months, so now I need to figure out a new plan for 3 boys and a tired mom.

As for sports bras, the other builders have already heard my lamentations over being a "30 G" I kid you not (I have to make more milk than I need to keep my milk supply while just pumping). So two sports bras and a tight tank top it is. It is most comfortable to exercise just after pumping, but that didn't work with my kids' naps. So I did have to take some extreme measures!

texas mommy said...

I don't know that this is an option in Germany, but there are tons of work-out places that do free childcare with membership. I can't do this b/c Jack-Jack passes out, but I have a lot of friends who do.

Courtney said...

When my daughter was very young, I did some at-home work-outs, such as workout videos and I am also blessed to have an at-home cardio machine. We also walk a lot. And I am able to get to the gym once a week on Saturday or Sunday when my husband is home.
We also do monthly dates and this month we chose to do indoor rock-climbing as our date so we could get a workout in and have fun. Next month, we might bike some local trails for our date. I only have one child so far, so I am sure I will have to get much more creative as our family grows.

Elena said...

I have four kids under six and my husband and I both run. When it was just me, my husband and the twins I ran with the double jogger. When no. 3 came along I ran either early morning (6-7 am) or after my husband's workday and before supper. Now, with no.4, my husband comes home and we trade off so that both of us can run. I find the best routine is when I am running early mornings and he runs after work. However, I can't get into the early mornings until the baby is sleeping well. So, I try to relax and get the run in at whatever time of day works best. If there's a will, there's a way. As for the sports bra: I wear two when I am in the early nursing and still haven't shrunk back to normal. Warning: I did end up with mastitis from the double sports bras providing a bit too much support!!

Jennifer said...

I'm an Army wife too and this is what has always worked for me -- create an exercise co-op of sorts. That's what I do with my 3 kiddies under the age of 4. I get a group of other moms together and we come up with a schedule of exercise times and baby schedules. For example, 2 of us watch the kids (so, my 3 kids plus 4 more) while the other 2 mommys hit the gym. Then, the other 2 mommys relieve us and we then go. We all get 90 minutes in the gym, free childcare, and an exercise buddy! We did this 3-4 days per week. It was great! Definitely the way to go to keep yourself motivated, plus a workout buddy really helps too!

Juris Mater said...

Elena said it best--where there's a will there's a way! I know that I'm totally off-kilter if I can't exercise daily, and for the last 2 years I've been doing it at home when my kids nap around noon each day. We have a very nice elliptical machine that was a gift (birthday+Christmas+graduation all rolled into one), and it's the ticket to my sanity.

Logistically, with a new baby, I hang onto 3 naps as long as I can so I have the noon hour for exercise, then I try to race them from 2 daily naps down to 1 daily so I get the noon hour back. I always try to get some overlap in naps, and if I can't achieve that, I do a video or some other quiet activity, rotating which kid gets that from day to day. I give my kids all I have for the rest of the day AND night!!, and I believe I'm entitled to 40 minutes for my physical health, so I don't feel a bit guilty about it. Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint, and I've found that exercise is something I I can't compromise on.

I think I'm able to be a better wife, too, when I'm fit!

Right Said Red said...

I was an athlete in college, but since motherhood I have not been 'exercising' regularly. I say that because I do not run. I do plenty of walking (live in a small town where we can walk to most things) but a daily run hasn't been part of the picture. I was running 5 miles or so per day before the birth of my baby Therese--who had anencephaly. I since learned that elevated body temps, particularly in the very early 1st trimester, are related in an increased risk of a neural tube defect. Most women avoid hot tubs for this reason--so always be careful about body temps when pregnant and exercising!

In between pregnancies I do try to run a little. If you don't own an eliptical machine, and you don't have a running co-op of friends, this is difficult to do w/o interfering with family time. Sometimes the sacrifice is worth it (especially when I'm feeling stressed!), but overall I have found that lots of walking with the kids is enough and the sacrifice in family time isn't worth it. Maybe this post has inspired me to try again, we shall see!

Oh, and as an aside, don't forget the need of men to exercise. Mr. Red spends his ENTIRE day behind a computer, and it is really important that he gets out to exercise.

Kat said...

Just to add to the comments already made...
I have enjoyed doing Pilates at home with the Windsor Pilates exercise videos. Once you learn the basic exercises, you can do them anywhere, not just in front of the TV, and at any time during the day. So I can be with Maria in her room and do some of the exercises while she's playing with her toys, or if I'm watching the news for a few minutes I can squeeze in some exercises there as well. It's quick and I believe that it makes me more flexible, in addition to giving me a stronger core, which is essential with all of the bending and maneuvering that we do as mothers!
In terms of cardio, I know that I could use more of that on a regular basis, especially now that I live in a place where we can't walk around town. I'll have to work on that, although there are also some cardio exercises that can be done around the house just like the Pilates.

L said...

I know lots of moms who use their Netflix subscriptions for workout videos that they can do at home during nap/quiet time. This is especially nice since you don't get tired of doing the same video over and over.

B-Mama said...

Awol Mommy, your exercise concerns and desires are obviously universal among the busy moms out there!! I know I've struggled to maintain some sort of exercise regime over the last years--but it is every bit worth it. Like JM, I am DEFINITELY a better mom when I've worked out!!

I either work out on our elliptical at home (while the kids nap or watch a show) or head to the gym down the street where they offer free childcare. The boys seem to love the break "playing with kids" and I enjoy not having to worry about their happiness and safety!

--Start scouring the classified ads/Craigs list for workout equipment--you can get some great deals from people trying to get rid of stuff! My parents are such an inspiration and have built a home gym over the years with lots of workout machines. They have no excuses when called to workout daily!!

One last point--I aim for 5 days/week of exercise and give myself 2 days off. I LOVE it if I can be disciplined enough to get the 5 in during the work week, which gives me a nice, relaxing weekend with GG and the kids. If I have to take a day off mid-week, I'll just try to squeeze it in on the weekend sometime. Hugs and good luck!!

Kate E. said...

I would love to pick up on something Red said and ask for advice for my husband (not that I don't need it too, but you guys have already made so many great suggestions).

His job is such that he is behind a computer all day, and does not have access to a gym for lunch hour (which is often, lunch at the desk).

Being the super-fabulous wonderful dad that he is he truly wants to spend every minute of non-working time at home with our little guy.

I have tried to motivate him to either
1: Join an evening activity like volleyball or basketball
2: Wake up and do fast walking for 1/2 and hour each day with Jack in the jogger...he did it for a while but then stopped.

I guess I can't MAKE him exercise, but I'm unclear whether it is the options available or just the desire to do it.

So any thoughts would be great, he is not a runner but used to be an athlete in high school and likes sports.

AWOL Mommy said...


Thanks so much for the innovative and inspiring ideas. I really love and value this community when I have issues such as this! Once we are settled in our new Army home in Germany I will have to report back what I have devised as a workout plan.

Kate E. - My husband and I went to this Gary Smalley marriage seminar a few years ago and he spoke about your precise situation. He explained how he nagged his wife for fifteen years to workout and she would never respond for very long. Then, he changed tactics. He did two things: 1) prayed for her heart to be changed and 2) started working out dilligently himself. She started working out within six months of him changing his approach and has now been doing so for 20 years and is in awesome health in her late 60s. I have tried to put aside my naggy ways and institute the Smalley approach and it really does work. Good luck

Juris Mater said...

Kate, get him to work so hard when he's home that he'll view time away for exercise as his vacation : ) Hahaha. I think that's what we have going on here... my husband prefers group exercise like basketball games, and almost always used to avoid other forms of exercise, but now he seems to be more and more eager to slip away to the gym for 40 minutes during the times he's home.

mad cow said...

AWOL and J. Mater,

I’ve found this entire discussion very offensive. I don’t exercise. I don’t want to exercise. And here all of you are writing about your exercise routines, looking down on the rest of us. How can you judge? There is no infallible decree on exercise. Refraining from exercise is not a sin. My boss actually requires me to be fat. He also requires me to reproduce at an irresponsible rate. How dare you?

Mad Cow

PS: Don’t worry, I’m still a loyal reader. I know B-mama has my back, even if she stood me up at Chick-fil-A.

Juris Mater said...

Dear Mad Cow,

But the label on the styrofoam, shrink-wrapped tray in the meat case at my grocery store says some of your meat is 93% lean. That's not bad--better than me before I lose my baby weight.

As for your exercise program, do they not even have big hamster wheels in those feedlots?

By the way, can cows be Catholic? With all your talk about sin and infallible decrees, I was just wondering.

Kate E. said...

Awol mom and JM, thanks I think those are both good suggestions, now that I have spent the afternoon pondering this I have also come to realize that I think we need a lifestyle focus shift. We love food, I mean LOVE food. I love loving food, but so often our time as a family for a "treat" is going out to eat together.

We love spending time together, but instead of a long leisurely saturday brunch, we could have a quick breakfast and then a long bike ride or hike in our beautiful state (yes NJ). Since it has been so darn nice here, I think I might try to put this into effect this weekend.

Just wanted you all to know I've been thinking on it!

mad cow said...

Juris Mater,

These are provacative questions.

Regarding the 93% lean, that's all processing. And there's no hamster wheels. The only workout I get is dragging my shaky legs through the pool of feces in which I stand.

Can cows be Catholic? Not officially. But I anticipate a development of doctrine in that area. I would argue that the St. Francis Day blessing constitutes a Baptism by Desire.

Mad Cow

Drea (Monkey Monkey Underpants) said...

I used to be a gym rat but sadly it is no longer very possible since baby eats every 1.5-2 hours and the closest gym is 1/2 hour away! I am saving up money to buy a wii and wii fit. Suprisingly, this gives a great workout!

Juris Mater said...

Mad Cow, you are HILARIOUS. Thanks for your thoughtful answers. I hope you're having a good week (or at least as good as possible under the circumstances).

wannabe said...

j.m and madcow. that is hilarious. i thought you ladies were all nerds before, but now i know for Sure!