Working at home can be awesome, but it can be isolating. If you don’t plan correctly it can also be sedentary. If you’re like most women “exercise” and “me” time is usually low on your priority list.
When I made the leap to work at home mom from work outside the home, my expectations were a little skewed. My working days were exhausting as I tried to juggle exercise with the responsibility of raising 3 kids and bringing home a paycheck. I’d daydream about rising before my family to exercise. I would then wake them gingerly with the aroma of fresh baked whole grain bread wafting from the oven. I’m pretty sure I was wearing a bikini in this scenario.
Though I did bake bread once the first week I was officially self-employed, it’s pretty much been Wonder White since. Finding time to exercise has been its own struggle. I’ve been a committed runner most of my adult life, but found it difficult to stick to a consistent schedule since my husband worked odd hours. I took a significant pay cut to work from home and raise my children, so I couldn’t really justify spending money on an actual sitter just to workout.
It didn’t take long for a day or two without exercise to stretch into a week and then a month. A modest weight gain caused by replacing running with a few glasses of wine in the evening for stress relief caused a downward spiral toward depression.
Luckily I was able to recognize the problem and find a solution before I really hated the life I chose and/or became an alcoholic. I had a frank discussion with my husband about what I needed and we both brainstormed to find something workable.
5 Great Ways to Fit in Exercise when you’re a Work at Home Mom
Trade childcare with a neighbor for an hour. Yes, it takes 2 hours out of your day instead of one, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Find a used treadmill on Craigslist. Take advantage of someone’s failed good intentions and save money on an essential piece of fitness equipment for a work at home mom. With a treadmill you’re not limited by weather or daylight. When my kids were small, I logged many miles on a treadmill.
Tip: To make it more tolerable, try catching up on your favorite television series or listen to a podcast specific to your industry. I personally love multi-tasking.
Find free workouts on YouTube. Not only is this method economical, it is a great way to mix up your routine.
Consider investing in a good jogging stroller. Whether you are power walking, running, or taking a leisurely stroll, a buggy specifically for the purpose of exercise will make the experience positive.
Schedule exercise into your calendar and commit. You wouldn’t cancel a meeting at the last minute, right? This hour from your day will most likely result in greater productivity and increased patience.
Whatever method you choose to get in your workout, consistency is key. Neglecting yourself for the sake of family is not doing anyone any favors. I chose to work at home because I wanted the privilege of spending as much time with my kids as possible. I also have a responsibility to behave in a way I want them to emulate. Choosing to make my health and well being a priority is a perfect opportunity.
Poppy Marler is a runner, writer, and mother of three from the Pacific Northwest. In between Nyquil Martini Benders and triathlon training, she can be counted on to look up from her keyboard long enough to shuttle a teenager to the mall or dole out requisite maternal affection. Poppy is the author of the lifestyle blog facing40.com and 1/3 of the Blogging Betties Podcast (www.bloggingbetties.com).