Motherhood is an Extreme Sport…

… that’s why we must wear workout clothes every day! 

I have a full time job and two full time boys, my hands are FULL. How do you juggle and create a routine that allows you and your family a balanced lifestyle?

There have been many changes to our lifestyle in the last 4 years. We went from being a family of 3 and having all our friends and family around; where we were able to have time to do things such as going out with friends, exercising, travel, date nights etc; to a family of 4, living in a new country with no family and not knowing really anyone. We had to learn to adapt and create a new healthy lifestyle that allowed us to cope.

Let me share some routines that have helped me. I am also aware that routine’s need to be adaptable. As you will know when having a family, things are constantly changing. Your children grow up and then you will just have to adapt a new routine that fits whatever that “new normal” is at the time. It is all about making your life easier which will then allow you to do more things you like to do and enjoy.

SLEEP

SLEEP IS IMPORTANT. I am the first one to admit that when I get to bed, I often tell myself “I’ll just check Facebook or Instagram for 5 minutes” and it lands up being 45minutes… If you break it down, you could have had an extra 45min or so of extra sleep. And as parents you know how precious sleep is when you get very little of it. Especially when you have small children, we all know that we are not guaranteed 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Try go to bed around the same time at night. This helps the body with recovery and cardiovascular function.

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SLEEP WHEN YOUR BABY SLEEPS. This one applies especially when you have a small baby. I found that when my little one was sleeping, I slept. In fact, to break it down even further. I used to organise my dinner, washing etc in the morning when he was having his morning nap. And then when he went down for his afternoon nap, I slept too. This nap helped me especially during that 2am feed.

MEALS

MEAL PLANNING. Now that there is even less time to cook, meal planning is important. What I try to do is make Monday nights meal on a Sunday for example. I try and cook a bigger meal so that there can be leftovers that can be used during the week, like salads etc. I also try to plan what I am going to cook for the week. This allows me to free myself up, so I am not rushing and worrying about what we are having for dinner etc.

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WHAT SHOULD I COOK TOMORROW? Try think about what you could cook tomorrow, the night before. This way you can take out the frozen meat / ingredients you will need and then at least the main ingredient for your meal is ready to cook. What I also like to do, especially in winter, is use a crock pot. I put it on during the night and in the morning it is done. This way it allows my dinner to be sorted before the day has even begun and all I have to worry about when I get home are the side dishes.

EXERCISE

CREATE TIME. You and your partner should try and plan times that each of you can get exercise in. My husband and I most of the time ‘tag team’ at the CrossFit Box. For example, pick a few times in the week when one of the family members / friends can watch the kids and you can go and exercise. I know sometimes this is hard, but I promise once you have trained you will feel better for it. I find that after I have trained, I have more patience with my boys. I think it’s because I have taken my full day work stress out on a wall ball instead of my child.

SUPPORT. Make sure you surround yourself with people that encourage you to workout. Every bit counts, and every day it gets you closer and closer to your final goal. Find people with similar goal and encourage each other to workout, focusing on how great you both will feel afterwards. I’ve also found that the CrossFit Community really supports you no matter where you are physically. It’s about being a family. Support is one thing I treasure the most. There are so many diverse people at H1 CrossFit but no matter who they are, they are the first people to put their hands up to help me and my family.

EARLY MORNING EXERCISE. If you do it in the morning, you are done for the day and don’t have to think about it anymore! Even if you are not a morning person, this is a habit that can be developed. When you have kids, there are always unexpected and unplanned things that can come up later in the day. And the more you have on your plate, the more tired you get, the less likely you are to exercise later.

PUTTING YOURSELF FIRST

MAKE TIMES IN THE WEEK FOR ‘YOU’ TIME. For me, on a Sunday night, I tend to take an hour to do some pamper time. Wash my hair, do my nails, etc.
Being a Mom, it is easy to get lost and move away from good habits in day-to-day life. We are constantly putting our children first, but there are times where you need to be selfish enough to put yourself first. That does NOT make you a bad Mom. It makes you a better Mom. How are you able to look after your children if you do not look after yourself first?

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DATE NIGHTS / OTHER DAYS/NIGHTS OUT. Organise some time when you and your partner do things with other people. It can be girls / boys nights or even a date night when the two of you can just unwind together and have a glass of wine. I love going on a date with my husband. If you know him, you know he is super funny so when we have a moment to just unwind, we laugh so much that my tummy hurts. I also love just hanging out with the girls. Talking nonsense, eating good food, and catch up on all the ‘important’ stuff. It really takes my mind off my everyday routines of being a Mom and a wife.
I know that doing the things I have mentioned above is much harder when you have children and full-time jobs. All that needs to happen is some planning, effort and the want to do it. The goal is for you to be happy and healthy and feeling mentally positive about who you are and what you are working towards. No one gets it done 100% all the time, just try and do what is best for you and some of the other things will fall into place.
“It’s not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts.” – Mother Teresa

Cynthia van de Sandt – Co-Owner, H1 CrossFit

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