When did I become an unfit mother?

Woman's tying her running shoe while resting her foot on a bench

There was a time when I was fit.

Not fit in the “Yer one fit burd” sense, but fit in the exercise sense. I went to the gym 5-6 times a week, doing everything from yoga and Pilates to Body Pump and Metafit. Then I joined a roller derby team, and I spent four hours a week skating in circles and getting bashed around by bigger girls. I loved all of it, the sweating and the stretching and the muscles developing under my skin. My calves were like rocks, and they were amazing.

Me in my roller derby kit standing in my living room
Me in my roller derby days

Then I got pregnant.

Roller derby had to go, as did the hardcore HIIT training. But I kept exercising, albeit a bit more gently. The Popple loved it. She karate kicked me in the ribs with particular enthusiasm during my pre-natal Pilates classes.

Then I had a baby, and now I do f*** all, because I literally can’t find the time to do it.

I can’t exercise before work.

The Popple wakes up before 6am, we’re out of the flat by 7:15, and I’m at my desk by 8.

I can’t exercise during my lunch break.

Because I can’t always take one. Also because I don’t want to get sweaty and then have to put my nice work clothes back on.

(There’s a shower in my office, but I find the idea of getting naked at work very disturbing.)

I can’t exercise after work.

I have to pick up the Popple from nursery and rush home to do the dinner/bath/bedtime routine before she gets overtired and goes off her nut.

I can’t exercise after the Popple goes to bed.

The closest gym is located a 15 minute walk down a slightly shady canal path, something I’m not keen to do at night. Plus I’m too knackered after a long day of working and toddlering to head off for a workout that won’t end before 9pm.

I can’t exercise on the weekends.

This isn’t strictly true. I can – and very occasionally do – go to the gym on the weekends. But weekends are busy. They’re packed with shopping and chores and cleaning and visiting and entertaining a small person. I can’t always find an hour to watch 90s music videos on the elliptical machine.

My desire to get back in the gym has nothing to do with losing weight. I’m actually thinner now than I was during my gym nut days, but it’s a weird, squishy kind of thin. I have no strength anymore, and instead of a solid two-pack, my abs consist of one sticky-outy muscle that seems to be in the wrong place.

(I’m not sure that exercise can fix this – it may be a your-muscles-got-squashed-to-the-side-during-pregnancy-and-haven’t-quite-settled-back-into-the-right-place thing.)

I want to exercise again because I want to do something good for myself. Because it clears my mind. Because I like pushing my limits to see what I’m capable of.

But seriously, there is no time for this fitness nonsense.

Working parents who work out, how to you manage it?

Please share your secrets. My wobbly one-pack belly needs you.

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22 Replies to “When did I become an unfit mother?”

  1. Ooh I look forward to hearing their magic suggestions as I too have this problem! I actually started running/walking at nap times – guess what? J dropped his naps! I was going to a yoga class on a Tuesday evening but then I started working Monday evenings and don’t like to be away from him for 2 bedtimes in a row. There is just no time!! And I do need to lose weight and get fit!!

  2. I feel your pain. I’ve been struggling with this. I used to compete as an amateur rower. So I would do a lot of cardio and strength training 5-6 times a week. Now like you, I struggle to find much time when I also have energy.

    It’s been a bit up and down for me but I do seem to get into a working routine occasionally. I try and do 5-10 minutes of core work ~5 nights a week. I just do it in front of the TV so it’s fairly easy to remember. I often stretch then and can chuck on a few press ups if I’m feeling motivated (I’m usually not!). To get in some cardio and other strength training I just exercise at home. Mainly I do 2-3 sessions from Davina’s 7 Minute Fit DVD in my living room. All in it only takes 25 minutes including the warm up and I usually have the tea cooking at the same time… On busy days though I have often just dive the warm up and 7 minutes box fit as it makes me feel a bit better!

  3. Ahhhhh iknow it. Since our treadmill broke I am up a creek in the exercise dept. I used to be able to sqeak a workout in at naptime of early am or before bed… but now that the twins arent even napping anymore…. It is not looking too good for me.

    Plus I am kind of lazy.

    #effitfriday

  4. I run home from work 3 x week. I leave just enough time to do that, and yes, I arrive at school to collect the sprogs in a bit of an unglamorous, sweaty mess but it clears my head and gets my unfit body some exercise. It’s not ideal but it’s the only way I can do it. It’s tough getting time to look after ourselves properly, I know! Would a gym with a crèche be an option?
    #effitfriday

  5. There’s loads you can do at gone which is what I do when I can’t get to the gym. #effitfriday

  6. I’m super impressed you did all that before getting pregnant! And hear what you’re saying now about not having the time! That’s the story of my life for the last (nearly) 8 years.. except.. I never did what you did! I’ve only just started exercising regularly (probably for the first time), and I’m sure that the day you get back into it, you won’t stop again! Just wait until the time is right for you! #KCACOLS

  7. I only work part time and my kids are older, but I still find it hard to find time for the gym sometimes. I always seem to have something to do. All I can say is try to fit in some home work outs if you can.
    #KCACOLS

  8. wow it sounds like you used to do ALOT of exercise. I used to enjoy body combat twice a week before bubba but I just haven’t been since. he is three now. I try and walk during my lunch break but I’ve become so lazy. and I DO have time for it. No advice here im afraid – I just need a kick up the backside! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday!

  9. I am so unfit! I have a gym membership but I don’t go as often as I should. Really trying to get back into it x #KCACOLS

  10. I wish I had some advice for you but I really don’t know how people fit it all in! I wonder if it’s all about making working out a priority, a non-negotiable thing that you make time for. Or more realistically, push yourself to find the energy for! x #KCACOLS

  11. Maybe you could start doing press ups at home when she’s in bed? Then, by the time you’ve worked some strength back up, she’ll be big enough to sit on your back while you do press ups! #KCACOLS

  12. Woweeeee! You played roller derby?! That’s so cool! Must mummy used to play Airsoft (a bit like paint balling) before she had me and now just hasn’t the time at weekends to play anymore. Daddy plays hockey at a high level so my mummy does the childcare! :-/ #DreamTeam

  13. I’m a stay at home mum I started going to the gym recently mostly an hour in the evenings and my in laws take care of bub while i’m gone. I make sure I come back before bedtime. The key is to find someone to take care of your baby while you exercise. An hour a day is all you need! good luck #KCACOLS

  14. It’s hard to fit anything in outside of work and childcare because, as you say, the tiredness just reaches a whole new level. I hope you work it out. #FamilyFun
    P.S. Roller Derby is very cool! Go you!

  15. I’m thin, ish, but squishy!

    I run. Not miles, and not quickly. but i try to fit at least 2 30min runs in a week. Just kinda 15 minutes out of my door, then you have to come back, so you might as well run!

    And i do 20 min pilates videos on youtube once the kids are in bed. I’d like to do more, but i’m too tired to care enough! #familyfun

  16. I feel for you! It really sounds like the only time you could *possibly* get a workout would be on a weekend day? Perhaps there are gyms nearby that have childcare available?

    I really hope that you don’t try to get to the gym in the evenings. When I used to try that, I’d be awake for HOURS afterwards.

    Best of luck!
    #familyfun

  17. What a great post. I wish I had thought of doing it. Maybe I will after giving you due credit and of course, writing about my own unique situation.
    You know how we all envy in others what we don’t have ourselves. I have always said that I would not exercise a day in my life if I was my ideal weight – which I am never going to be. My problem is of the opposite kind because I am much, much, much too big now than I was before I got pregnant and I am so not motivated. I have sparks of motivation every now and then when NOTHING fits me but I have started buyign larger sized clothes now. I hate that I do that. One day…#familyfun

  18. Oh I don’t. I have the ideas but not the inclination I am so unfit it is unreal. I am just too tired, but the thing is I always feel better when I do it which is annoying!

  19. I know exactly what you mean and I don’t work, I really try and do some exercise when I can but normally just entails a walk. I used to do a fitness class I could take the Robot too but stopped going because it moved. I’ve been thinking about taking something up again but that is all at the moment, just thinking. Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

  20. Oh my god Katie I think I could have written this. I was an avid gym goer pre babies – I used to spin from 5-7 times a week. I love HIIT training and like you, it cleared my mind, made me feel better and I enjoyed the athleticism it gave my body. Now like you I just cannot get the time. I try whenever Mark is home before or after work (providing he’s home early enough) to run but I hate running and its not that often we get chance and I can’t justifying paying for gym membership for say once a week. I guess there will come a time when we can get back to it…when the kids are 15 and we can leave them on their own… sigh. Thanks for sharing this at #familyfun xx

  21. Oh god I can relate to this so much!! I go to one class a week where I dump the baby on my husband and it’s exhausting because I’m so unfit for it! I keep thinking about getting up super super early but then would just be exhausted… so now am unfit and still packing a good extra two stone from pregnancy – grrrr!!! Let me know if you find the magic answer #kcacols
    ps. Also agree on the nakedness at work. So wrong. People working metres away… BLEURGH!

  22. When my oldest was a crawling baby, I tried to join a fitness class which had a creche. The creche ladies assured me my son – who was screaming his head off sensing the looming separation – would calm down very quickly as soon as I left. But… half-way through the class, they brought me my tearful child and admitted defeat. I finished the lesson doing abdominal crunches with my son blissfully sitting on my tummy 😉

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