I was asked last week how I was finding time as a single mum to exercise and get in shape whilst bringing up 2 children. It's certainly a juggling act and nowhere as easy as the days when I was single and child-free. Back then I could easily get to a weekly exercise class and if a mate wanted me to make up the numbers for a badminton game I could just go. I wasn't all that fit or anything but I was exercising every week.
Then baby number one came along. Suddenly if I wanted to do anything someone else had to mind the baby. My then husband was never home in time from work for me to get to an evening exercise class. Any time we went swimming I was pushing her around in a baby float seat and not really swimming at all. Not surprisingly I gained quite a bit of weight before I had baby number 2.
Life then got extra complicated as there were 2 little ones to entertain or to get someone else to take of. Exercise was limited to running around in the park or long walks. Then I became a single parent and had even less free time! For a short while I managed to get to a special aerobics class for mums at our local soft play centre run by the health authority. I could workout and my son could play safely watched by a member of staff.
Once I moved up to nearer my parents things have got easier for 2 reasons. Firstly my parents are willing to baby sit once a week so that I can get to my Rosemary Conley class. At first this was during the day whilst my my dad entertained my pre-schooler and now its an evening class as I work every afternoon. Its a nightmare when they are away as I have to miss my workout! The second reason is that we can often get out on walks, bike rides and swims as a foursome or fivesome. This means that we get a better chance of getting some decent exercise ourselves whilst the children are safe and having fun too.
Now I'm working every afternoon I am having to squeeze in exercise around the times that my children are at school and I'm not working. I have tried using the Wii or a DVD after they have gone to bed but this results in a very late night! Though its been ages since I did a Wii Just Dance workout with the children.. So on a couple of days a week in the morning I am fitting in either a run or a salsa class. Of course the other things that need doing in this free time such as housework end up taking a back seat...
At the weekend I am trying to find ways of exercising with the children. As yet they aren't both competent enough swimmers for me to go to the pool with both of them and leave them to their own devices whilst I do some lengths. If I get there with my daughter on her own then I can do a few. So I need to find things we can do together. This is why I invested in a cheap adult scooter so we can all be out together. I am on a pretty similar learning level to my son though my daughter is much faster than the pair of us!
Then there is my new running regime which needs 3 runs a week with gaps for breaks. The only way I can fit this in to take my children out with for 30 minutes on a Saturday or a Sunday... So today I got them on their scooters and we headed towards town. We did have a few snags along the way. Firstly my daughter scoots much faster than her little brother and the gap between them got wider and wider. I had to keep going back on the route to let him catch up with me. Then she went so far ahead she took a wrong turning and I had to chase after her to get her back to the right place. Turned out she had as usual ignored my instructions about using the loo before leaving home so we had to find a route that included a usable toilet (couldn't let her do a Paula Radcliffe!). So it was a mixed bag as a workout. Looks like I need to find somewhere that I can run around in circles whilst the children are safely contained in a space such as a park.
If anyone has tips of how to fit in exercise to family life please share with me!