How many of you have used your children as an excuse for why you didn’t do something? I know I have. There have been missed workouts and meals that I claimed I wouldn’t have missed if I didn’t need to watch Ivy. It’s not on purpose. It’s completely subconscious and in no way a result of anything she has done.
But after the fact, I realize that’s just an excuse for me not wanting to put in a little extra effort to get her diaper bag ready, fasten her into the car, and take her to the gym with me.
The gym even has a free daycare service, though they ask that I don’t let Ivy stay there more than an hour due to her age. This rushes me a bit since my workouts, can typically last at least two-times that.
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t more difficult staying fit and healthy as a parent. I would also be lying if I said it was as difficult as our culture likes to make it seem.
Now I would say most people would consider Miranda and I very lucky. We both have very good jobs (neither of us makes less than $19/hour at any given time), and families that are willing to help us whenever they can.
I do want to add that having a good job and social circle isn’t luck. If you are not happy with your job, your pay, or your friends and family, it is your responsibility to get to a position you are happy with. Don’t blame it on your bad luck or anyone else.
I also have only one child, a 3 month old girl at the time of writing. I understand it can be more difficult with more children, though the same principles lined out in this article still apply.
And of course, both Ivy’s parents (Miranda and I) are together and living under the same roof which makes things a little easier as well.
What can you do to stay active?
Find jobs that are better suited to your circumstances.
This may mean you and your significant other find higher paying jobs so you can work fewer hours, jobs working similar hours while your child is in daycare or with family, jobs with their own daycare, or jobs with different hours that allow one of you to watch your little one; whichever you feel works best for you and your family.
Find a gym with childcare
Specifically one that watches children as young as yours. I know one of the gyms I have a membership at does not watch children under one year old, while the other asks me not to leave Ivy in there more than an hour until she is one year old. Be sure to ask before you sign a year contract t a gym you think will be watching your child.
Prep your meals
I find it much harder now to cook large healthy meals due to not having time. So my solution was to both prep my meals, and meal options that are quick and easy to prepare. This doesn’t mean eating frozen meals from Walmart. I eat quick healthy meals like cottage cheese with fruit or nuts.
Get good at taking naps
As a new parent, you will rarely if ever have a night where you are not woken up by your baby multiple times. You will need to either accept that your alarm clock is only a recommended wake up time and sleep-in as long as your body needs whenever you can, or start taking a nap [or six] each day.
Workout at home
If you can’t find a gym with childcare or if there are no gyms within a reasonable driving distance, you may need to get comfortable working out at home. Invest in some decent workout equipment and find a way to set aside distractions for 30-60 minutes while your baby is napping.
Take the baby with you
Take the little one to the park and strap him/her on to you while you walk, get a jogging stroller, or set baby up in the shade while you do some push-ups and dips using the park bench.
Break your workouts up into multiple smaller workouts.
This works more if you workout at home, but if you’re fine with driving to the gym multiple times a day to suit your schedule, that’s fine. You could also try getting your weight training done at the gym, then come home do your chores and then do a bodyweight HIIT workout in your livingroom.
Designate responsibilities and schedules to keep things efficient
Miranda and I designate who has night-time baby duties based on who has to get up early that day. We also designate cooking and cleaning as well as who goes to the gym at what time on which day. This keeps things organized so we don’t miss our workouts.
It isn’t impossible to stay active after becoming a parent. It just requires you be more organized and work a little harder to make things work. If you create systems to be more efficient, a baby will not have a huge impact on your health.
If anything your new baby boy or girl will keep you motivated to be a healthier person than you had ever been before.