7 tips to exercising when you have littles

Becoming a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in life, but also one of the most challenging in so many ways. One of the biggest obstacles for me as a new mom with tiny people running around was giving myself time for me, including exercising.You are needed so much. One kid needs help to the potty, the other needs a diaper change. One kid wants another snack (didn't I just give you one?),  and the other needs to be nursed. You know what I mean. You never really get a chance to finish much of anything you start without doing 37 other things in the middle. :) Two kids later, I am just starting to figure things out a little bit. I thought I'd share the tips that I've learned along the way to making exercise actually happen in my life with a 2 1/2 year old and a 7 month old. 7tips2

  1. Pray. This is pretty simple but probably easily forgotten. I don't really think about praying about something as seemingly trivial as exercising, especially with all the other real issues on my mind. But, why not? We can easily pray for guidance, motivation, patience, energy, time, and injury free exercising.
  2. Communicate with your spouse. This is something that was really difficult for me after having my first child. I felt guilty for spending time away from my daughter and didn't tell my husband that I wanted to make the time to get out and exercise. It was probably a full year before I got back in shape. You know what both my husband and I realized after that? I am a much happier person when I am moving on a regular basis. I felt like a real person again, and those positive endorphins didn't hurt either. Now with our second child, both he and I understand that this needs to be a priority. We all have to sacrifice a little bit for it, but we all truly benefit in the end. (How does that go? If Momma isn't happy, ain't nobody happy.) Communicate what you need. Schedule your exercise time.  Talk about your goals. Congratulate each other when they are reached. Motivate each other.
  3. Change your expectations and be realistic. When I was in college, I ran a lot. I was in cross country and likely logged five to eight miles per day. After college, I trained for a couple half marathons. I had been used to working out hard--dripping sweat and completely exhausted. After having my kids, I had a difficult time wrapping my brain around not having an hour (or two) to commit to exercising. In my mind, it wasn't worth it. I thought if I couldn't get a full hour of working out in, then I might as well not do it at all. That mind set is silly! Twenty minutes here, twenty minutes there still add up! Walking is still moving. I had to change my expectations-- doing (insert workout) is still better than doing no workout at all. 
  4. Find a motivator or motivation. Kelly touches on this idea in her Ten Tips to Start Exercising. God deems exercising valuable! That can be enough motivation for us! Also, find someone(s) to motivate you--your spouse, a friend, and it hasn't hurt for me to see Solid Strength posting motivating pictures on Facebook daily.
  5. Be flexible. I am a creature of habit. I like to do things in a certain way and in a certain order. However, that's virtually impossible when you have babies, especially with exercising. So try to be flexible about it. In the past year I have changed my workout routine many, many times. Truthfully, it doesn't even feel routine most of the time. When I was pregnant, I liked to swim. So I tried to go in the morning before my husband went to work, or after dinner, or after my daughter was in bed, or on Saturday morning. Then my son was born and I continued going to the gym in winter. Then spring came, and I could move outdoors. Then summer. You get the idea. My workout times and activity change often. They have to in order for them to actually happen. Last week I showered and got ready, but then realized it was a swell day to run to the park, so I did that. Just this morning my husband asked if I wanted to go for a run with the kids since he was able to go to work later than usual. Be spontaneous. Be flexible, or exercise won't happen. Yes, your workout will get interrupted by more than one child crying more than one time! But every little bit counts!
  6. Invest in what you will use and do what you want to do. After having my daughter, I held onto my gym membership for a good six months before I finally shamefully called and canceled it (I was too embarrassed even though I was paying $50 a month!). I wasn't using it and wasn't going to miraculously start using it either. Don't buy a gym membership if you don't like going to the gym. Invest in what you will use. That might be a gym membership or it could be a nice set of weights. It could be a city recreation class or it could be a double-jogger. My point is don't live someone else's exercise life, live yours. Most of us don't have the luxury of having a baby-sitter around to exercise, so find things to do with them or next to them. There are many workouts that can be done in the convenience of your home. Kelly has given us a few of her own for free here, here, and here (and I think she's planning a new one for us soon!). I personally have been using Moms Into Fitness and have been really happy. Also, don't forget all the hidden exercise opportunities! Children are so active and love to run around-- race them down the hall, toss the baby in the air, play hide and seek, go to the park, or wander around the zoo. And we can't forget about housework! Wash your floors, mow the lawn, vacuum, or wash windows. Many chores can be done while watching your children play. And if we are honest with ourselves, our house needs the attention anyway.
  7. Eat and drink. This is so important, especially if you are either pregnant or breastfeeding, you need those calories to feed both of you and keep you energized. Try to focus less on weight and more on remaining healthy and hydrated. Your body is supporting another life! That is an amazing miracle and also a responsibility. Be healthy.

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Don't forget to check out Ten Tips to Start Exercising and 5 P's for Fitness Progress where Kelly shares more motivational tips!

What tips do you have to share to help make working out happen in your home? Please share!

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Bible Moms Study and Tote Giveaway

Do you have a supportive community of Christian women in your life? Some of us at Holy Hen House met because of a weekly bible study that began several years ago. It continues today and the location hops around our houses. The opportunity to take time out during the middle of the week (we meet after kids bedtime) and study God's Word with other women is what brought us together. In the beginning some of us didn't even know each other but now we are close friends and are SO thankful for the quality time we spend around the table sipping coffee and sharing our lives. So! Do you have some friends or know some women (soon to be friends!) that you can carve some time out of your week and dig into God's Word together? If yes, great! Use this book for your next study! If not - this is a great excuse to get one started.

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This giveaway includes THREE Bible Moms books and ONE adorable tote to carry your Bible and new book in! Why have three books go to one winner? Well... this giveaway is for you to share! One book for you and two books to give to two other women that you'd like to read through the book and Bible with. There is even a chapter in the book that includes tips for leading a small group study - how to avoid husband bashing, conversation hogs and gossiping are great reminders. It may feel like a lot of effort to start but once you finish your first study together you will be looking forward to the next. Studying the Bible isn't just to learn what God says (which is great by all means!) but also for the Holy Spirit to strengthen your faith and work through your life. Get ready to grow in ways that you cannot even imagine. 

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AmbHeadAmber Albee Swenson is the author of Bible Moms: Life Lessons from Mothers in the Bible. Bible Moms is twelve Bible studies probing the heart of God on what it means to be the kind of mother He calls us to be. It's about examining our hearts, confronting our sin, finding the truth of scripture and applying it. She also wrote The Whisper Theory and writes a devotional blog at www.biblemoms.com. In 2011, she started putting on seminars for women with the intent of bringing the Bible to life in tangible, applicable ways. She is married, has four children, a dog and a cat. For fun she scrapbooks and watches murder mysteries. Her other pastime is meeting friends for coffee (although she never drinks coffee, only smoothies or tea) or for walks. She has some fantastic friends who keep her afloat, give lots of advice, direction and prayers.

 

CorHeadCorissa Nelson Art is giving away one of her new canvas tote bags based off of Colossians 3:12-17. Don't you love her design? It is perfect to carry a Bible Moms study book, bible, cellphone (just in case the little ones wake up!) and whatever else you may need for bible study. Corissa is a designer and artist in Wisconsin, with a background in architectural design and historic preservation. She uses her knowledge of form, composition, and presentation to provide art and design for individuals, non-profits, small businesses, and WELS churches. Come see Corissa's new website and keep updated on her latest designs and love of all things coffee on her facebook page too.

 

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Now that you know the basics let me just share some of my thoughts on Bible Moms: Life Lessons from Mothers in the Bible. Typically, I am a bible study and devotional book sceptic. I prefer choosing a book of the bible and reading through it with my friends letting the discussion and prayer time happen naturally.

Here is where Amber got me.

Amber is that friend. The friend that looks through your heart and tells you exactly what you need (maybe not want) to hear and makes you love her by being ever so gentle and just plain right! She is a wonderful storyteller and she makes the moms mentioned in the bible relatable. Thousands of years are shortened from when these women lived and cultural differences are blurred as Amber takes a bible mom's story and makes it relevant to my own. Amber asks questions that help me see the answer for myself... What is my motive? Am I manipulative? What is my top priority? Who is really leading my home? God? my husband? or ME?

Amber is discerning. Here's one example of her questions that I just love... it's not an easy one word answer to get past this one.

"Do you ever find yourself praying and trying to explain a situation to the Lord? Or, do you offer solutions to your problems to the Lord? For instance, have you asked God to give you a raise so you can pay off your debt? Have you ever considered doing that is assuming God doesn't understand your situation? You assume if God did understand, He would have already given you a raise, so you need to tell Him how your debt is likely to get paid. For some people, a raise would indeed do the trick, but if overspending is a problem, no amount of money could pay off debt you keep accumulating. Consider the way you pray, and consider the depth of this passage. Is your prayer life in need of some fine-tuning?" (p.88, Lesson Seven: Hannah)

Whew!!! This is the kind of friend I want to go to when I can't see my actions or choices clearly. I may not be able to see her in person but reading through her book I feel as though she's right here mentoring my heart to God. Amber's great understanding of the Bible is shared naturally and doesn't come off forced or dry like a textbook.

Amber is humble and gentle. God's love for us isn't taken for granted in her writing. On a particular rough day my heart was broken, my temper flared and all I wanted to do was give up. Amber reminded me of God's promises...

"God has promised to never leave or forsake us. At the point when we don't know if we can go on, He always offers help, whether in the form of family members, friends, a sermon that says exactly what we need to hear, or something else. Like Mary, we need only to go through life saying to the Lord, whatever comes our way, "I am your servant. May it be to me, whatever you want, because I trust in You to see me through whatever you give me." What peace we have when we leave our lives totally in God's hands." (p.144, Lesson Eleven: Mary)

Overall, what I like most about Bible Moms is that God's Word doesn't take a back seat. Each chapter is saturated with Bible passages in a way that has me flipping through my Bible to see what God has to say about each topic. I don't think that I have ever said "I couldn't put that bible study book down"... until now.

Bible Moms includes topics such as:

Resisting Satan and His Schemes

Waiting on the Lord

Mothers-in-Law and Daughters-in-Law

Guiding Our Husbands

When Children Fall Away

Hospitality

How to Respond to God's Call in Our Lives

The Importance of Christian Fellowship and others!

Let me encourage you (once again!) to find or start a small group to study God's Word and share prayer with. It is a unique blessing that can be overlooked. You will make valuable friendships that last a lifetime. Let us know if you start a group or if you have one that you can invite others to! We'd love to hear!

Who is your favorite mom mentioned in the Bible? Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, Jochebed, Rachel, Leah, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary, Timothy's mother Eunice (even his grandmother Lois!)...? Tell us why! 

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