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Time! Time! Time! I Don’t Have Time, I’m a Mum!

Time! Time! Time! I Don't Have Time, I'm a Mum!

Time! Time! Time! I Don’t Have Time, I’m a Mum! How many times have you thought, said or felt that? for me it’s nearly everyday. With a 7 week old baby and a sassy 3.5 year old I can barely get enough time for myself. Wait, sorry I just about NEVER get time for myself.

Even in the middle of a pandemic where everyone is at home I still feel swamped and out of time to get anything done. Including my own health and wellbeing and as many parents we feel compelled to get everything down to a routine for our children. I mean, that’s what all the parenting help books have told me? Look at the case studies below which can be found here.

As a nurse that works shift work and a partner whom for the most part is office based he does get deployed in emergency management settings. It has been near impossible to develop a routine for our kids.

Now, I could focus on the shitty case studies that make me feel like a bad mum but I’m not. They’re wrong, why? Because I am a mum and I said so! Our kids are fine so they can shove their depressing fake news case studies up their @$$.

Routine

I do however want to discuss routine or chaotic structure. Lets face it once you have kids routine goes out the window and chaos manifests in the place that routine once was.

For our household the 6 o’clock rush would be madness. Hubby would return from work, dinner would be on, eat, dishes, bath, read, bed then hubby would go to the gym once the kids were in bed. Rinse repeat and that would be our everyday.

As simple as that sounds it hasn’t been possible for us to maintain that routine all the time. As a nurse that works shift work we struggled with a bed time routine. As Tahlia would often wait up until I got home or she’d be up early as I drove her to my mums for baby sitting.

Lockdown Routine

time

Since the great lockdown of 2020 things have changed, they needed too and I have reassessed what a routine is. Health centres are closed but we wanted to maintain our exercise structure. I thought doing it at home was going to be impossible with a baby and a 3 year old.

The first few weeks were challenging as Tahlia wanted to get involved and use the weights we had at home which frightened me as I didn’t want her to get crushed.

Each night Tahlia would be out in our make shift gym trying to copy the exercises we were doing and at first we tried to get her to stand back, not touch, don’t come close. Then I had a thought about routine and healthy lifestyle choices.

We put to much time into developing routines for kids that it consumes us and takes our time away from us. I had been trying to get the kids routine down pat to give me time to exercise but all it was doing was taking more time away from me.

Then I had an idea, what if the idea of a routine isn’t just about structure but making time? It was already hard to stick to our current routines and Tahlia had been showing interest in exercising with us.

Making exercise THE routine

We got creative and started an art project with Tahlia where we made some “kid” gym equipment from things we had around the house. An old broom handle and some foam liner.

You might be thinking that weight training is bad for young kids but in truth there is no evidence against it. Physical exercise is beneficial for a child’s development which you can read about here. As parents we try and get our kids as active as possible by getting them involved in sports and activities.

However, you don’t want a 3 year old near exercise equipment that is 3x their weight as it could lead to injury or…. worse. Setting a positive example is also important and Tahlia showing interest in what we were doing is a great initiative to focus on.

During lockdown where play centres, sporting clubs and kids activity centres are all closed this is a great way for me to keep her active and by doing so it has given me TIME for me.

Challenges

I don’t want to make it sound as easy as an art project and then into the home gym and away we went. In all honesty it was a challenge at the start as with anyone, you can’t just hand them weights and expect them to know what to do. We had to show Tahlia our exercises and what to do with the equipment.

With a new born wanting a feed every so often workouts are interrupted to feed. Hubby and I pass Casey to each other between sets but he seems content and really interested in what we are doing.

Benefits

this is time

According to Vic Health the top reason people aren’t exercise isn’t time but motivation. With kids it can be hard to get motivated to exercise but nothing inspires you more than hearing your newest exercise buddy saying “Come on mum, it’s exercise time!”.

Those times when you’re in a slump and can’t be bothered? Well a 3 year old meltdown, screaming and stomping the ground to go out and exercise will get you off the couch or out of bed in no time.

I never used to have time for myself or my health but since added exercise into our family routine we have plenty of time together. Even if it means the kids are going to bed a little later but they are also sleeping better and with less interruptions to my own sleep.

If you liked this article and missed my previous blog about the importance of exercise to your mental health in COVID-19. You can read it here.

As a caring and hands on dad, Simon devotes himself to his family, career and health.

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