Summer has arrived and with it, a new plan for shedding the last of these clingy kilograms. I’ve quit the gym after deciding I can fit exercise into the daylight hours. I’m spending my gym budget on new and exciting equipment, DVDs and the odd class. I started a 12-week “bikini body challenge” which spells out my exact workouts, clear as day.
I have everything I need to work out at home, including DVDs, a yoga mat, weights, a skipping rope and a smartphone. Let’s do this thing, I thought, as I kicked off the challenge, full of enthusiasm to finally say goodbye to these tree trunk thighs. What could stop me?
I have kids! I keep forgetting them in my “fail proof” plans. If at all humanly possible, I work out without the kids around, but it doesn’t always work out. Some days I just have to squeeze in burpees, lunges, squats and skipping with the kids right there “helping” me.
Two weeks in, I have learned a lot and I thought I’d share this wisdom with you, just in case you are mad enough to embark on exercise with your kids standing on the side line. Here are a few things mums need to work out with kids:
Extra Determination – Exercising with kids around is possible, but it takes more determination than ever. Kids provide their parents with excuse after excuse to skip things like exercises, and lots of parents are sleep-deprived, which makes working out harder than Jillian Michaels’ abs.
Good Timing – If I must work out with the kids around, I need to get timing on my side. Lunchtime is a winner because Annie is happy, busy and confined to her highchair, making it impossible for me to get her in the head with a dumbbell (true story, unfortunately, she snuck up on me like a ninja). If you can’t find a good time, then get out some toys they haven’t played with lately or set up some crafts to capture their attention.
A Sense of Humour – Sometimes the kids make the simplest of tasks just impossible and I have to laugh and move on. My 28-minute long workouts have taken me twice as long as I’m constantly interrupted by the little angels. Last week Annie came inside with brown hands and a triumphant smile on her face. She was holding a cat poo. I pressed pause on my interval timer and rushed her to the bathroom for some serious scrubbing. I had to laugh. And then I had to get right back to my burpees.
The Ability to Multitask – My workouts require me to do 15 repetitions. The good news is that I learned to count to 15 years ago. The bad news is that I can barely reach three before having to break up a battle over Duplo, pick up crying Annie or tell stroppy Henry he can’t have another biscuit. As soon as they see me roll out my yoga mat, they become the neediest two kids on the block. I’ve got to admit that administering mid-lunge hugs and half-squat kisses is pretty damn cute, though.
Patience – Working out is never my favourite part of the day, it’s just a slightly boring, exhausting necessity if I want to be fit and healthy. So I need to exercise a lot of patience when this “chore” becomes a “bore” because I’ve had to press pause 50 million times or avoid razor-sharp puzzle pieces during my walking lunges.
Exercising with kids around won’t be easy, and some saner people would probably avoid it altogether, but for me it means I don’t have to do it at night when I’m dog-tired from a long day. It means I can use those nights to chat to that guy I married and to sew and bake and blog – all of my favourite things!