One of the questions I am asked most often is related to the circle on the wall… time. “I have no time to work out”, “My kids are too busy so I have no time for myself”. “I have no time to meal plan”.
Yep. Sounds so familiar.
I used time as my number one excuse ever since I became a Mom. The idea of take an hour or two for myself every day seemed literally impossible. After all every hour of my day was accounted for. Back then I would get up, get the kids off to school, head to work, come home and cart them all over to their countless activities, find time to make dinner, help them with homework, get them cleaned up, put them to bed, and then catch up with work. My day was already so full. I would have to stay up till 1:00 am most nights getting in everything I needed to. If I had to add working out I might as well just never sleep!!!
So when I started this journey and came to the realization that in order for this to work I had to make time for daily exercise I basically looked at it as I had to somehow add more hours to my day. I literally thought it was impossible. In fact as I signed the bank withdrawal notice when I signed up for the Y, I literally rolled my eyes as I signed my name because I knew there was no way I’d have time to come and I was literally throwing money away.
I would look at my friends who would exercise everyday like aliens. How on earth did they do it? They obviously weren’t as busy as me!!!
But what I didn’t see was they were just as busy as me. The only difference was that their health was a priority and mine was not.
So I started on my journey to create time. I started with a simple premise: this was a requirement so just like eating was a requirement in my day I would have to make time for this. This was now non-negotiable.
As I added more requirements to my Day the opposite of what I thought would happen happened… somehow I was able to do more. I strangely felt “less busy”. Exercising daily makes me more productive, less overwhelmed, less tired. Adding to the chaos somehow created calm.
Okay so that sounds great… but how on earth did a busy working Mom do this? How did I manage to create time??
First of all, I stopped doing everything. Back then I was the one that did it all. I somehow felt like I was a better parent if I was the one that did everything for my kids. I fed them, I carted them around, I waited for them, I met every single one of their needs. And it wasn’t that my husband wouldn’t help… I just somehow looked as it a sign of a bad mother if I asked for help. I was the Mom. I was supposed to do it.
I had to retrain my brain that it wasn’t selfish of me to want some time for myself. It didn’t mean I was a bad Mom… actually it meant I was a better Mom because I was a creating a better me.
So I started by asking for help. Humbling myself enough to realize I wasn’t alone in raising these children. I sat down with my husband and told him about my plan to workout. At the time the idea of working out in the morning was completely insane to me as I could hardly get up at 8:00 am and I was a night owl so I worked out in the evenings. I relied more on him and he started to do the pick ups and drop offs in the evening while I went to work out. And he was happy to do it. I just needed to ask.
Second, I made my kids become more independent. When I started I was at my kids’ sides all the time. Call it my working Mom guilt but I simply felt like I needed to do everything for them. I wouldn’t just drop my daughter off at dance, I would sit there and watch her in her classes. I wouldn’t drop my son off at the field, I’d wait right there in case he needed me to refill his water. I sat right next to them when they had to do homework. I sat upstairs while they took a shower in case they needed me to fetch a towel. Again I saw this as being a good Mom. I had to be there to help at every turn.
But here’s the deal. My kids were growing up. They didn’t need their Mom right by their side. So I stepped back. At first I felt incredibly guilty as these very sheltered kids were a little put off by this change. “wait, I have to fill my own water?” At first I’ll be honest they were a little thrown off.
But I will tell you Nothing I have done in mothering has helped my kids more than stepping back a bit and focusing on me. It made me a better Mom. It caused them to learn independence.
Third, I learned the art of multi-tasking. I always thought I was good at multi-tasking but I became better. I would stream my favorite shows on my phone and watch on the bike. I would create a closing argument for a trial when I walked.
Next, I analyzed my day to see where I could best fit in workouts. For the longest time the most logical time for me to work out was the evening. I simply wasn’t a morning person so it made sense. So I worked out after I made dinner. But then as the kids started games etc I had to keep pushing the workouts later and later and suddenly working out late wasn’t working. So I decided to try the early morning thing. It was so hard at first, after all I had to break 20 plus year habit of being a night owl. But no matter how tired I was in the morning when I got up the feeling of coming home at the end of the day and being completely done far outweighed the tired feeling.
Now I work out before my kids wake up. It just works for me. My evenings are now free for activities and kids stuff.
Finally, I stayed consistent. The number one way I beat the clock is consistency. I work out no matter what. Even if I’m tired. Even if I have so many things to do. Whether I’m in trial or have a huge motion to do, I work out. I forced myself into the realization that working out is a requirement. Something I have as natural as sleeping, eating.
Listen here’s the deal. I know you are busy. We all are. But we all make time for priorities in our lives. So if you want to beat the clock you simply have to make this new life a priority. If you do that you will finally master that damn circle on the wall!