My kids are with me all the time. I'm a stay at home mom who now homeschools. Grocery store? Gotta take 'em with me. Costco run? Let's all go. Car needs an oil change? We'll all sit in that stinky waiting room that smells like a mixture of oil, exhaust and cheap coffee. They're my little side kicks. For the most part, this is a good thing. I'm not a perfect mom and I don't have perfect kids, so I won't try to make it sound as if life is always peachy. But overall, I do like things this way.
And sometimes I need a break.
Lately, I'm feeling the strain of having my kids with me all the time. My husband commutes a long way several days a week, so he's gone for at least 12 hours those days. Between that and homeschooling, things have been different this school year and I'm still working out the details of how to make that work (which, like I said, overall I love) without going completely crazy.
I'm feeling a bit batty these days and I think I figured out why. I need to work out. I don't just need to work out, I need to work out in a place and at a time when my kids aren't trying to play with hot wheels cars on the running treadmill or climbing on my back while I attempt a push up (no sir, I am not that strong), or asking me 800 billion questions during the first song on my workout playlist.
My old routine was to workout in the morning, after school drop off. I'd drop off whoever had school that day, take whoever was left with me to the gym, plop them in the nursery and take a class, hit the free weights, whatever. Sixty minutes of bliss. But that routine doesn't work anymore. Mornings are when we do school at home, and I don't think changing that would be a good idea.
Since we started homeschooling, I've tried a few things to get my workouts in - none very successfully. My first solution was to get up at 6am and go to the gym before everyone got up. That had less than stellar results. I am not a morning person. I don't even know what that would be like - to wake up chipper, ready to jump out of bed and get moving. I have to set at least two alarms because the first one never gets me up. I'd have every intention of getting up and going to the gym, but when the alarm went off, I'd find all kinds of reasons why sleeping was a better idea. Then I found myself feeling guilty at night because I'd stay up later than I should, so I'd go to bed feeling kind of anxious, knowing that horrible alarm would be going off long before I was ready for it. And I'd spend my days feeling guilty for not having gotten up and working out, promising myself I would do better, go to bed earlier and get up the next morning - only to stay up a little too late, go to bed feeling anxious, rinse repeat. It wasn't exactly a healthy scenario.
I scrapped the gym, tried working out at home, which meant I could sleep a little later. That didn't work much better.
Then I got a little smarter, and decided to quit doing the same thing over and over. I figured since I wasn't going to the gym anyway, why not just work out in the afternoon, at home. I could get in a quick workout while my daughter was napping. The boys are used to having some downtime during her nap anyway, so all I'd have to do is pry myself away from the Internet, throw on some workout clothes and get to it.
That kind of works. The problem is, my kids are there. In my face. Constantly. They ask questions, want to show me things, want to workout with me, try to play with things on the treadmill and generally make me crazy. Yes, I can get the physical part of the workout done. But the mental release I need? Not so much. I need more than just the workout - I need some space.
The other problem is that I do a lot better with someone telling me what to do. If I know I have a class to get to, I'll go. I'll be on time, I'll workout really hard and I'll love it. Working out on my own is a lot harder. I know how, I have done it plenty in the past, and I can make it work if I have to. But I miss the class setting, particuarly with someone else telling me what to do.
Bottom line, I need to get back into the mentality of scheduling things around my workout time. I used to approach my day that way. If things interfered with my workout time, they had to go. I didn't join my church's mom's group because it met at 10:00 on Mondays. Workout time. We didn't go to morning storytime at the library very often because it was at 9:30. Workout time. Now, I schedule everything based on our homeschool and my workout time has gone by the wayside. For my physical and mental health, I need to find a way to get that time back in a way that is productive, not only for my body, but for my sanity.
Like I told a friend, I need to get back to going to the gym and having someone kick my ass for an hour. It makes me a better mom.