Finding time to exercise when you’re a parent is about as easy as finding time to sleep. Or time to eat. Or bathe. Nevertheless, I have compiled 5 fundamental motivations for hitting the gym hard(ish) and protecting your sanity as a parent. It’s hard to find time, it’s hard to find energy, but it’ll be even harder to find excuses after you refresh yourself on these motivations.
1. Alone Time
Nothing is more valuable to a new or veteran parent than a spare moment alone from time to time. The gym provides this outlet. Your spouse might have a hard time with you leaving him or her alone while you hit the bar, hang out with friends, nap in Target’s parking lot, or whatever else you might really want to be doing. But there’s no way he or she can deny you from working out and staying healthy for the fam, right? “Honey, where have you been for 4 hours?!?” “WHEW! Just getting fit with a quick round of Cross-Zumb-oga-rre-HIIT-ball-thing! Must have run long!”
2. Adult Time
This is especially true for stay-at-home or work-at-home parents. Life with kids has the tendency to subtly yet quickly eliminate opportunities to interact with adults. Day after day spent with a toddler where your spouse is often the only adult contact you have throughout the day is dangerous–for you and for him or her. Go to the gym, look around at all the adults, and feel normal for a few moments until you take it too far. “Excuse me, I’m trying to grab that dumbell behind you.” “Really? Me too! My kids are driving me crazy, my wife won’t leave me alone, I haven’t caught up with Game of Thrones, and I have no idea how far the Cubs are behind in the division.” “Uhh…I just need that dumbbell behind you sir.
3. Toddler Honesty
I am only just now experiencing this strange phenomenon where my toddler, with the best of intentions, hits me with the most venomous truths that run down my self-confidence. Naturally, physical appearance is a go-to for most toddlers today. “Daddy, why does your tummy shake and move around a lot? Why is there so much hair on your legs? Why are you sweating daddy on our walk? Is Daddy growing a baby in his tummy too?” When you have a toddler running you down, it’s probably best to start spending some time in the gym and trying to put the #toddlershamed moments behind.
4. You’re Either Still Married or You’re Still on the Market
One of the bizarre truths you discover after having kids is that you often forget you’re married or potentially on the market if you’re a single parent. Sometimes you lose track of the fact that someone out there might possibly view you in a romantic manner. You don’t want your spouse to be your roommate, and you don’t want your toddler to be your Friday night plans for the next 15 years. Perhaps it’s best to get to the gym and recover your health and attractiveness levels to at least the point of ‘acceptable’. After all, you do have kids…it’s not going to be perfect.
You will never believe this, but kids tend to have a lot of energy. Whether it’s the energy of a newborn to scream her little lungs out at all hours of the night, the energy of a toddler to run around in circles screaming baby beluga verses until your eyes and ears bleed to running around an older kid to soccer, dance, karate, basketball, theater, whatever. Kids take time and kids take energy. And, although somewhat counterintuitive, working out actually does provide more energy moving forward. I promise that if you work real hard and commit to an exercise routine, you’ll be able to keep up with your kid for 20 minutes in no time at all!