Now, I’m not here to tell you I know what I’m doing. But, after a couple months of this working mom who also works out thing, I’ve found a few things that have helped me “do it all.” And by “do it all” I really mean survive and also get a workout in most days of the week. We all know that doing it all as a mom is a huge joke, because there will always be something that you or someone else doesn’t think you’re doing well enough (and likely, it’s you more than anyone else).
The funny part is, even though we all know that it’s impossible to do it all, we all think that some moms actually DO do it all. Social media doesn’t help with this. I’ve already been honest about how hard it has been for me going back to work and trying to balance it all and I’m so thankful for all the support and feedback I got from you all. It really helped put things in perspective (and realize that this is a particularly hard time with the gauntlet of illness we’ve been subjected to thanks to daycare) and gave me a little more clarity and determination to make the best of what I have.
That being said, there are some things that help the days and weeks go a little more smoothly:
- I hired a cleaning service. We’re doing Baby Led Weaning. My floor is covered in sweet potatoes, avocado and mashed up banana. I don’t have time, or the patience, to do a great job cleaning our floors every night (nor do I have a dog). I also have absolutely no desire to wash my sheets, clean my bathtub or vacuum (this really hasn’t changed, I’ve always disliked cleaning). So, as a compromise for going back to work after baby, we increased the frequency of our cleaning service and they now come every other week. Every dollar is worth it. I wish they could come every single day!
- I work out first thing in the morning. Sorry, those who aren’t morning people, but this seems to be the consensus among moms – if you want to get your workout in, it has to be first thing. Have I missed workouts because of a bad night of sleep? Hell yes (this morning). But, in general, I can count on the time between 6 and 7 a.m. as “me” time. I’m lucky to have a baby who sleeps til 7 and fortunate to have an understanding and available husband who will take care of the baby if she wakes up before I return from a run.
- I bought more bottles and two sets of pump parts and wash them all in the dish washer every other (or every) night. This has been pivotal. I can’t tell you how long I’d spend standing over the kitchen sink washing those bottles. Some parts I still hand wash but overall, this system save me a lot of time!
- I schedule run dates with friends. This has been amazing. On Tuesday mornings before work I run with Allison and 1-2 days a week Asia and I run together. Not only do I get to see my best friends, but I also get in a workout at the same time. Time is so incredibly limited these days and any time I can “kill to two birds with one stone” I’ll take it. Plus, running is way more enjoyable with a friend. I usually am in a great mood and so incredibly excited to start my day after a good run with Allison or Asia.
- I let go of some things. I don’t get my nails done. I don’t hike Torrey Pines regularly. I rarely go shopping. I don’t run along the coast often even though it’s less than a 10 minute drive. I haven’t been doing yoga in a studio. I rarely go out for coffee. It’s not the money – its the time. These are the things I’d like to do, but honestly, aren’t high enough on my priority list to be worth my time. Running in the mornings from my house on trails or on the treadmill is more time efficient. Doing my 21 Day Fix workouts in my garage whenever I can squeeze in 30 minutes is the most convenient. I guess one perk is that when I do get the time to actually get a pedicure, head to the mall or take a yoga class, I appreciate it even more.
- I schedule downtime. I tend to overplan. Before Siena came along, most weekends were jam packed from Friday happy hour to Saturday 20 mile runs to Sunday dinner parties and everything in between. Go – go – go ! Now our weekends still feel busy due to all the household and baby chores we have to do, but I make sure not go plan too much in one weekend so that I have downtime to play with Siena and watch her grow up. This also doubles as important recovery time from workouts. I was proud of myself last weekend for turning down plans with friends on Saturday because I knew that we had a full day on Sunday for Mother’s Day.
- I don’t mourn missed workouts. I used to get really caught up in following my training plan or doing a fitness program like P90X perfectly. But, I’ve learned (maybe with age!?) to let workouts go. If my sick baby keeps me up half the night, it’s ok to cancel a run (sorry Asia for this morning!). It’s ok to not make up that run. It’s ok not to do every workout in 21 Day Fix, even if I’m hosting a challenge group. I’m doing my best and I know that consistency is going to help me make progress toward my fitness goals, even if it’s a little slower than I ever thought I’d accept in the past. In the end, a run is just a run. This life is about more than workouts and PRs and the miles will always be there.
These things may not work for everyone, but they are helping me stay sane in a pretty turbulent time. All of the sacrifices are worth it for the family I have created and I feel so fortunate to even have these “first world problems.”
How do you make it work? Any tips that work for you?