Have you ever tried working out with a kid weaving between your legs? Or climbing on your back? Or (once they’re a little older) critiquing your form?
Let’s be real. Squeezing in a workout when you have kids (especially when they’re on summer vacation and you work from home) can be rough. Routines are thrown off completely and it’s hard enough to just conquer day-to-day tasks. Adding self care in seems like a total luxury.
But it’s not.
I’m a firm believer that if you want something, you’ll make time for it. It might mean cutting out other things that are less important, but if you really want it, you’ll make sacrifices.
This weekend I took the girls to their school to play on the playground and take their scooters around the track. I figured I’d get a nice walk in while they were doing their scooting. Um, wrong. If there’s anything all these years of motherhood should have taught me, it’s that nothing goes as planned. Ever. Ellie wandered slowly, dragging her scooter along beside her at a snail’s pace, while her sister sped around the track like there was Olympic gold at the end.
As we inched along, I got frustrated about not getting in the little bit of physical activity I thought was a given. But I quickly shifted my perspective before becoming full on doom and gloom.
I couldn’t walk briskly. So what? My meandering littlest one was happy as could be and I’d just have to make the most of it. Instead of rushing her along, I started doing lunges next to her. She found this incredibly amusing and so did her sister. We were all happy.
Why don’t I do things like that more often?! Being a mother means being a master of manipulation. You take the situation you’re presented with and you make it work.
I scoured the internet for a wide range of exercises that can be done at the playground—some can be done with your kids and some can be squeezed in while they inspect a bug or start pretending they’re grumpy old trolls in charge of the playground’s bridge.
I tried to make sure that I highlighted exercises that are simple enough and that work your whole body. Also, they might just make your kids giggle. Will other parents look at you like you’re crazy? Uh, probably. But sometimes you have to take whatever you can get. Plus, lady bosses don’t have time to care about that bullshit. We just do it.
7 playground workouts for busy moms
pull ups (targets: shoulders, back, arms) via Daily Mom
calf raises (targets: duh) via How Does She?
clockwise from top left: swing crisscross (targets: abs) via Parents // reverse pushups (targets: upper back) via Shape // plank twists (targets: core) via The Stir // bench step up (targets: thighs, hips, butt, calves, abs) via Parents
jump overs (targets: thighs) via Simply Sadie Jane
They look simple enough, right? And no matter how many sets you can squeeze in, you’ll feel better than if you didn’t work any exercise into your day.
The playground I mentioned earlier is usually pretty empty—except for people that come through to use the track. I’m thinking this is the perfect spot to try out these workouts. I see three possible scenarios playing out:
- I start and my kids think it’s hilarious and decide they want to join in and/or show me up.
- I start and my kids completely revolt, needing one hundred percent of my attention and leaving me with no hope for anything except maybe calf raises.
- I start and get really into it while my kids chace each other around until I realize someone is staring at me and I feel like a clown. If it’s a good day, I’ll continue and laugh at myself. If it’s a bad day I’ll wish I could melt into the brightly colored play structure.
But, then again, hasn’t motherhood taught me that what will really happen is the one thing I didn’t expect?