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Who We Are

An insightful initiative, Who We Are, provides an inside look into the personal lives of the MIT Recreational Sports staff.  Each month, a member of the team will provide an insightful passage about their personal goals, accomplishments, and even setbacks.  Make sure to check back frequently for updates!

August

Alison Blaisdell

Alison Blaisdell, Office Manager

When Do Working Mom’s Workout?

As a new, full time, working mom of an 8 month old, I have discovered that “me time” is at a premium.  I love my job as the Office Manager for MIT Rec Sports, and am fortunate enough to have access to a beautiful facility, but like many, my workload isn’t always conducive for sneaking in a midday workout at the gym that is long enough to feel like I’m getting results. My son, “The Mini-Athlete” is an early riser, and like most babies, he is back in bed pretty early – between 8 and 9pm.  Gone are the days of having a gym membership, and I want to soak up every moment with my son before he’s asleep!  So, that leaves me with the question…when do working moms workout?

Now, I know I’m not alone in this endeavor.  There are millions of other fitness enthusiasts out there who struggle with the responsibilities of motherhood and a full time job.  The one thing that we all have in common and the most important component that you need to succeed is to establish your frame of mind.  Working out must be a priority, and you have to want to succeed or you will fall off the band wagon almost as quickly as you got onto it!  With little extra time in your life, it’s easy to find excuses not to workout otherwise.  Here is some of the best advice that I can give, that has truly worked for me as I take on motherhood and a full time job:

1. Find what is convenient for you.

As a busy mom, try to pick a form of exercise that is the most convenient for you.  Whatever you choose may not necessarily be your favorite (which is what most fitness articles suggest you do), but it should fit with the time that you have.  I started using workout DVD’s in order to add variety to my workouts.  This mode of exercise is not necessarily my favorite, and it took some getting used to, but because I’m no longer able to maintain my gym membership close to home, I had to find an alternative that would work for me in the time that I have.

I do, however, love running.  And fortunately, walking and running workouts ARE great choices when you have a baby at home, because you can take them along with you!  So, I did some research and found a jogging stroller that was light weight, but safe enough to take my son in.  Now, I can take him with me for a run after work, and we can spend quality time together while I get a great workout!

2. Find Community.

For some working mom’s, going back to work after being gone on maternity leave can feel somewhat lonely at times.  You’re establishing a new identity as a working mom, and trying to make it all work; between getting used to your new schedule, fitting in time for yourself, and deeply missing your child.  Becoming a part of a community who share common goals with you can help you get back on track, and help you to establish a workout routine that works for you.  This community does not necessarily have to be a group of other fit working moms, but perhaps other co-workers, friends, or social media groups who can support you in your endeavor.

Earlier I mentioned that I started using workout DVD’s because of how convenient they are for me.  In order to maintain motivation in continuing to use these programs, I found a group on Facebook who were using the same workout programs that I was, and joined along with them!  Now, I can see motivating posts, healthy recipes, and tips which motivate me to keep going, and I’m starting to enjoy the workouts more each day.

Other ways to find a community would be to find fitness groups with other mom’s in your area.  Fit4Moms is just one to name a few!  You’ll not only find community with this group, but you’re involving your child as well, and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

3. Establish a schedule.

I crave schedules, and as a mother, I NEED a schedule.  Establishing a schedule was one of the best things I did for myself upon returning to work from maternity leave.  I planned everything from my lunch and healthy snacks for the week, to when and where I was going to work out.  My first day back went off without a hitch!  I came to the Zesiger center bright and early for 6am, and walked on the treadmill for an hour (I wasn’t quite ready for running yet).  I continued to do this throughout the rest of the week, and well into the week after, but quickly realized that early morning workouts were just not for me (only sometimes).  Through trial and error, and 5 months later, I finally have figured out a schedule which works not only for me, but for my family, and most importantly, my son!  The key here is, I started with a plan, and when that plan did not work, I didn’t give up until I found one that did.

Another extremely important thing to remember when it comes to sticking to a schedule is, if you have a day where your schedule doesn’t go as planned, have a backup plan!  And, if it turns out that your back up plan falls through, forgive yourself if you can’t squeeze in a workout that day.  Know that there is always tomorrow, and make sure that nothing gets in your way!

4. Remember that you’re important too.

As a working mom, it’s easy to feel as if you’re being pulled in a million different directions.  We put our children and family before our own needs, and we try to do it all.  In actuality, we’re forgetting the most important thing – finding time to take care of ourselves.  You will be a better mom, a better employee, co-worker, partner, and a better person if you focus on taking care of yourself first.  It seems contrary when there is dinner to be made, laundry to be folded, dishes to be washed, and work to be done, but there will always be more laundry, and more dishes.  There is only one YOU, so make yourself a priority!

- Alison

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