Working out. Moms – when do you find the time?

I’m going to be 31 next week. 31 years old.

It’s funny. Growing up, I was a swimmer. I started swimming when I was my son William’s age, 4 years old. I fell in love with the water. I kept swimming. All through middle school, high school and into college. Swimming was my sport of choice. I used to glide through the water effortlessly, it was as easy as walking or talking to me. And I had a love and passion for it. I was driven to swim. To go faster. To set records. To achieve my goals. It was my life for so many years… and I loved it.

And… it was my workout. My every-single-day workout.

Fast forward 11 years. Here I am. Turning 31 years old. I haven’t touched the water in over 10 years. Working out for me is important, it’s something that make me feel good. It’s not always just about the results of my body, it’s about what it does for me mentally and emotionally – it makes me feel amazing. I feel alive. I feel like I can conquer the world. And I feel ready for anything – yes, even 4 boys running around, all asking for different things!

Becoming a mother definitely changed my working out and my workouts. Let’s face facts, I have been pregnant back-to-back (to back-to-back!) since 2004. So essentially, I haven’t been able to fully go full speed ahead with my workouts until recently. There’s just one thing holding me back.


It’s finding the time. It’s not an easy thing.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that right now, my workout schedule has to work around my boys, my work and my household. And every single day it’s different.

There are nights I set my alarm for 5AM. And I am committed to running on my treadmill in the basement. But… then there are the nights when the boys are up late, or come into bed with us, or when I try to get up at 5AM and I am just too tired. There are days where I tell myself, as soon as the boys go down for bed, I’m on the treadmill. But then I have work to do, and by the time I’m ready to head down, it’s almost 10PM… and I just can’t do it. It’s too late.

So my biggest problem is finding the time. I’m thinking almost every mother has the same dilemma. Time is so hard to come by when you’re a mom. You work. You take care of your home and your family. And the “me” time often falls last. But one thing I have discovered about motherhood is that I need that 20-30 minutes on the treadmill almost as much as my morning cup of coffee.

I want to work out because I know it will keep me healthy and fit and happy. I feel better on the days I can squeeze it in… and I hate to put it that way, but it truly is like “fitting it in.”

I’m curious… what do other Moms do? When do you find the time to workout and keep yourself healthy for YOU? I know that it’s possible to fit it in… I would just love to know when you do and what you do. I only do the treadmill. I need it. Do you leave your house to workout? Do you do stuff outside? Do you have a set-up somewhere in your home?

When do you find the time to workout?

Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by Healthy Choice. Please visit for more information on Healthy Choice and to print a free $1 off coupon.

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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  1. 5.15.09
    nicole said:

    I have a membership at a gym with child care included. So, I make it at least twice a week to classes, and in a good week one or two more times to run on the treadmill. I’ve also joined the Shredding bandwagon and will do that when my baby is taking one of her two naps during the day. It is 22 minutes, I have no excuse to miss it. If I had to get up early to do it, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t happen. The child care at the gym is not spectacular, but safe enough for the hour or so we are there. My boys like playing and I like exercising.

  2. 5.15.09

    Well I need to lose quite a bit of weight lol so its something I am making an effort at. Its easiest this time of year because its warmer out and darker later. We go to the park near us and they have a walking track around it. She plays while I work out. You can also find some “playground” workouts online.
    One thing I think is to not think because its not at the gym or on a treadmill.. its not exercise. Playing tag for 20 minutes with DD and her friends…man am I sweating and my heartrate is up.

  3. 5.15.09

    Well, honestly, no great answer here but I just find the time and make it a priority.

    And, like you said, it’s not just for how it transforms my body, but the emotional results I get, I look forward to so much more!

  4. 5.15.09

    I have been an off and on runner for the past ten years. I have found that the only time I can workout is in the mornings when the house is still asleep. Even when my son wakes up at 6am, he knows that I am leaving (I’m thankful for a supportive husband). If I wait until the end of the day, I am too tired or something with the family always comes up.
    Early mornings are my “me” time and I love them. To make early mornings sustainable, I only run three times a week. That way I don’t over-do it or tire out. Until recently I had always run by myself. I just added a running partner and we motivate each other to wake up to exercise.
    On Saturday mornings I go hiking. While my children haven’t joined me (yet), I do like that it is a family-friendly activity should they want to come along. I want to model to my kids that being active is fun.

  5. 5.15.09
    Emily said:

    I also struggle with this, and while having a treadmill in our basement and, on other days, access to the YMCA’s Child Watch service removes a ton of excuses, what it really comes down to is my attitude: is working out something that’s negotiable, or is it something that’s every bit as necessary as putting breakfast on the table or doing homework after school? Can I miss my yoga class because someone wants me to be somewhere at a certain time, or do I say, “Sorry, that doesn’t work for me, but I’m available that afternoon?” I’m usually so quick to accommodate everyone else that it’s taken a lot of work to learn to make a few hours each week untouchable, but if I can do it, anyone can!

  6. 5.15.09
    Janae said:

    Exercise has always been my sanity! It’s my “emotional relaxation” for the day. I work at a gym once a week in the childcare, and in exchange get free membership. So that motivates me to use it! My kids love going, and sometimes I pick them up all sweaty from going on the indoor slides and such (the childcare is amazing), and it gives me a break. I go 4 times a week and have some other moms who’ve become my workout “partners” because they’re in the same boat. We just ran a 10k and that was also a great motivator! You look great Audrey, so I’m sure you’re finding the time. 🙂

  7. 5.15.09

    I have experimented with so many things, but the reality is I need convenience — I currently have been rocking out with the @shredheads, which I’ve been detailing at

    Essentially, I do OnDemand workouts — they’re free (well, included in cable) and there whenever I want them. As for the when, I have made it a priority to work out the 3 weekdays that Laurel is in school (so yes, it takes an hour out of my workday, but I can always work at night). One the weekend I try to workout once, and I just have Jon tag in on that.

    I always had a million excuses to put it off but I feel so much better now, making myself a priority for a handful of hours through the week!


  8. 5.15.09
    Cortney said:

    I will also be turning 31 next week! I make working out a priority by getting up at 6 three mornings a week and hit the gym by 6:30 so that my hubs can get to work on time. For me, what keeps me motivated is the fact that I want to be the healthiest I can be for my 2 boys. Theyre active and I want to be able to keep up and encourage them to stay active! It’s tiring but I know in the long run so worth it!

  9. 5.15.09
    feener said:

    the only way i can work out is going to the gym and my gym has a GREAT sitting room where my girls play. honestly, i have been going on a regular schedule over the past 6 months and I feel how much my body needs it. it is a stress reliever, it makes me empowered !! i just recently got into the pool 3 times b/c i am doing the danskin TRI in sept. and need to swim. at first i felt like i was drowning, but i took a class with a master and i am loving it. swimming is an amazing work out.

  10. 5.15.09

    Oh, the story of my life! But I recently signed up for a 10k race, forcing me to train. And it’s worked. I’ve forced myself to make it happen, out running 4 days this week!

    So I suggest committing to a race that gives you something to work toward! And paying $ to sign up is incentive as well, I don’t want that $20 to go to waste!!

  11. 5.15.09
    Amy said:

    I tried working out at home after baby #2 and that just didn’t do it. I felt like it was too easy to just stop in the middle instead of pushing through.

    We joined a gym in September last year and I could not be more happy about it….best money spent. Now I have to work out every day. If I don’t I am a total wreck. For me my daughters keep me motivated. My oldest (3) loves routine and so bringing her with me to the gym every morning is pretty much manditory! I am usually the first one there, right as soon as the babysitting room opens. I started by just going hard core on the elliptical and now I take classes. I actually keep going because I feel a responsibility to go to the class, if that makes any sense.

    Seeing results keeps me going as well. I have lost 30 pounds since starting and now have awesome arms that I am really proud of!

  12. 5.15.09
    Fran Molten said:

    I have to agree, the biggest thing for me is time. I live in Florida where I even have the option to workout outside all year long and it still becomes an issue. I used to fit my workouts in when the boys were napping. Now since they no longer nap, I’m stuck. I need to stay healthy for them, too. We are trying to show them (my husband and me) that working out is something you should fit into your life… a necessary thing.
    Great post.

  13. 5.15.09
    Janine said:

    I workout right when I wake up (2:30pm). I work night shift and go to bed at 9:30am after I take my son to daycare. I feel guilty sometimes leaving him an extra half hour when I run, but I then think, I need to be the healthiest I can so I can be there for him for a long time.

    Works for us.

    Days off, I get up an hour ealier than him and do it. You have to.

    We moms need to be around for our kiddos!

  14. 5.15.09
    Kimberly said:

    Time is always an issue with moms, right? I thought I would be able to do it at home after my first child was born. It didn’t happen, and so after baby #2, I joined a gym. They have a great Kids’ Club for the girls so I don’t feel bad when I drop them off. We go the three mornings a week they don’t have preschool, and the two days they are at school, I go alone. I made it part of our schedule so now they know when it is coming and they look forward to it.

  15. 5.15.09

    Audrey… As a mom, and especially as your mom, I know how very important it is for you to develop an exercise/fitness program and stick to it. The suggestions that you’ve received here are excellent… especially the ones that encourage you to work out while the kids are having fun in a play setting. You are a natural athlete and a very strong woman, both physically and emotionally. Regular exercise is something, as you wrote about, that you did all your life. It is in your veins. I also like the suggestion to sign up for something… like a triathlon. As you know, I signed up for a Sprint Triathlon, and once I committed to the training, it was almost easy. Day One, Day Two, Day Three, etc. You’ve watched your sister do the same… she signed up for a marathon, then committed to the training and completed her 26.2… and now she is committed to a Half-Ironman. YOU ARE A PHENOMENAL ATHLETE. I have watched you compete and train and set goals your entire life. Your 4 little boys will be astounded to see their Mommy swim and bike and run. They probably don’t even know you do these things!! Show them!! The pride you see in them and the lessons you’ll teach them will be priceless… and you’ll feel so much better and have so much energy!! Maybe we can even train together… although I know you’ll leave me in the dust… in the best way possible!! Great post and wonderful comments!! I love you… Mom

  16. 5.15.09
    Julie said:

    Hey Audrey,
    I know how it feels to not have enough time. Like your mom just did, I signed up for a sprint triathalon. My YMCA in CT started a triathalon club and I joined it. I am doing some of the workouts they have in groups, but I am also training on my own. The only way I can truly fit in working out is in the morning before I have to leave for work. The YMCA has spinning 3 days a week and a bootcamp class. On the weekends I try and run or bike. It is hard. I went back to work this year and all I feel is guilt. Guilt thatI am not a good enough teacher now that I have a son, guilty that I am not a good enough mother for going back to work, and guilty when I don’t work out enough. I know that this is something that I have to change, but honestly working out has helped me feel much better.

  17. 5.16.09
    Bonny said:

    I’m a working (and fulltime student) mom to 5 – the only way I can do it is the YMCA. In all fairness, I work for the Y — but I was a member first! Seriously – childcare, swim lessons and other classes to help keep my kids active and having fun, all while I work out? Bliss.

  18. 5.16.09
    rachel said:

    I follow a program I found on the internet… It’s only 15 minutes a day! Seriously. And I’ve lost weight. I sound like an infomercial but I swear it’s awesome. I do the 15 minutes either during nap time, or sometimes while the boys are playing. My son imitates me doing squats.

  19. 5.17.09
    Larissa said:

    I used to run in my neighborhood, but recently moved to South America and am not comfortable doing so. I have found that I enjoy activity when it is playing with my 2 yo daughter. We play soccer on our roof (flat, with walls – not like American roofs), dance to music, stretch, etc. My body feels good and I stay active without it being a specifically set aside chunk of time. I also walk when I need to go somewhere, if it’s feasible. Exercising doesn’t have to mean gyms and equipment and hours, it just means you don’t sit still all day.

  20. 5.17.09
    Nikki said:

    Love your blog – been reading th 365 days for a while now and am enjoying it and using some of your tips.

    When my kids were little, I joined a gym that had childcare. I could exercise for an hour (take a class or workout on the machines) and then have an hour to take a shower. It was FABULOUS!!

    Now that both children are in school, I go to the gym as soon as I drop them off in the morning. If I don’t do it first thing, it doesn’t get done. I’v also recently begun Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred (20 minute DVD). Several friends are doing it and we keep each other motivated by commenting on Facebook that we’ve completed the day’s workout. My kids (ages 5 & 7) even like to do it with me!

  21. 5.23.09
    Katrina said:

    I agree with lots of other moms have said about putting my kids in the gym’s daycare! I just blogged about this the other day I know exactly how you feel though, it’s so hard to schedule that workout time for yourself. I love your blog by the way, you definitely are an inspiration. I tried to blog before and now I’m giving it another shot. I need to figure out how to schedule that better lol!

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