I get this question a lot, how to I make it work when I’m trying to deal with my kids, work and husband. Since I don’t have kids, I went to someone who has not 1 set of twins but 2 sets of twins. Since she has four kids under 5 I thought she would be the perfect person to help me answer this question. Laura Tarbell is a good friend of mine. Her boys are four and a half and the girls are nineteen months. To quote Laura, “life is busy. busy.” Here is a excerpt of my interview with her. If you want to listen to the full interview. Just click here.
Kim: Let’s flash back to when you just had two kids.
Laura: Okay, if I can remember that!
Kim: I’m sure it may have been a little less chaotic with two kids versus four? What was it like for you? You were always active. You were a runner. You did Pilates. At the time were you competing before you had the kids or after you had the kids?
Kim: Here you are, you’ve got this busy Pilates business going on. You have kids and you were competing. How did you fit that all in? You’re a new mom. You don’t know how any of this works.
Laura: Fitting it all in – my husband was really great. He knew that I needed time to do that and take an hour for myself because it made me more patient with the kids. I could go and do my little thing and have my own personal little victory every day and still come home and be the best mom, the most present mom that I could be. That’s really what that hour was about for me. Getting myself back to a healthy place and also I was more focused on the kids instead of thinking that I should have worked out and this and that. I wish I would have worked out and keep saying that all day long. I would always get up early and get it done. I would go while my husband was still home. I was able to go to the gym and get home before he left for work and then all day long it was just something that I could just check off my list, one last thing to worry about. That’s mainly how I did it. There were times when I didn’t get up early or my husband traveled for work a lot where I had to try to fit it in during a naptime or something like that. Even when they were awake, there were other things I did during the day to make sure that I could be fit.
Kim: Awesome. Now that you have doubled your pleasure and you have girls, is it the same thing where you’re getting up early and getting to the gym before your husband leaves and then still trying to squeeze it in when you can when the kids are napping or otherwise occupied?
Laura: Yes. It’s still that. Every day is something new. The night before I’m planning out my day. Can I fit it here? I try not to get up early because I try to get as much sleep as possible, so that doesn’t happen a lot. I‘ll plan it out where maybe my mother-in-law is watching the kids or I’ll take the boys to their nursery school for the hour. I’ll drop them off and do a quick work out somewhere around town, just running hills somewhere doing long jumps from the sidewall. People driving by think I’m crazy. Then I go pick them up and I’m home again. There are times when they’re napping and I’ll try to get in a workout here at home, just something functional that I can do with body weights and some small dumb bells that I have. Sometimes I’ll even get on the treadmill and try running sprints. They don’t really like that because it’s loud. I try to work something in. Even when the kids are awake, I’ll do something with them. I hold the girls in my arms and I’ll do squats and lunges all around the house. You can get in a really good leg workout carrying your kids around. Different things like that.
Laura: They’re laughing all the time and giggling. The boys will try to do workouts with me. I’ll do push-ups. When the girls were very little and they didn’t really move a lot, I could lay them down on the floor and I could do a push up on one girl and then I’d walk over to the other girl and do a push up and I’d give them kisses every time I did a push up. It connected with them, but it also made sure that I did a full range of motion. Fun stuff like that and they loved it.
Kim: When you originally had the boys, was there a motivation to work out? You were already fit before you had the boys. Your motivation to work out, was it just to get the baby weight off or it helps me stay sane and feel like Laura?
Laura: It was more to help me feel like me. That was a part of my life before and I didn’t turn into a different person just because I had kids. I still had this fitness element that I loved and I didn’t really want to try to get rid of all the baby weight. I tried to nurse both sets of twins for the entire year that was recommended. That involved keeping on a little bit of weight so that you can keep up your milk supply. It was more about me feeling like me. When you have your first child or first set of twins for me, the rest of your world really does change. That was one thing that really helped me feel like me.
Kim: Awesome. Kids are kids. Things happen. They don’t sleep through the night or someone’s sick. You’re beautiful plan just blew up. How do you stop yourself, like all women do, would have, could have, should have and having the grumpies? What do you you do when stuff happens?
Laura: First I try to make my nutrition that day really on point and then just knowing that my kids are only once little or little once. They need me. It’s not going to be forever that I have to be skipping workouts and things like that. It’s really just living in the moment and being present for them and knowing that tomorrow I’m going to get in there right away no matter what and just really kill it.
Kim: That leads me to another question. Most mommies tell me that we live a nice clean healthy diet. I don’t want my kids to be the weird kids with carrots when everyone else is having Cheerios. Do you buy those things for your kids or go for the most healthful snacks. Also, how do you keep yourself from nibbling off their plates?
Laura: Mostly I give them all healthy things. We try to buy the most healthy things we can. I do nibble, but close to a show you have to cut all that out or a photo shoot or maybe even a race that I’m trying to really prep for and be in my top game. The thing is just knowing my goals and physically placing reminders of my goals around. We have a big picture wall and on the fridge in the kitchen and I have pictures or little phrases of things that remind me. You don’t really need to eat those three bites of that peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It seems small, but it’s not going to help you reach your goal. That’s always in the back of my mind when I’m prepping for something and picking and eating little snacks and bites of their food is a habit and you can just as easily make a habit out of not doing that. After a couple of weeks of being really conscious of it, it actually becomes easier and you don’t even think twice about taking their food. It all goes in the left over container and into the fridge. You don’t even think twice about it anymore. It becomes a habit.
Kim: For me I deal with a lot of mommies who are new mommies and they have the guilt and I’m always encouraging them. It’s good for your kids to see you be fit and active. We all talk about childhood obesity, but if you’re mom is fat, typically the kid is going to be fat because they don’t understand that link. If your kids see Mommy running around and you make them always run around, it’s normal. You’re doing it with them.
Laura: If you aren’t being healthy yourself, you’re teaching them that it’s okay not to be healthy. You really have to set the example for your children and some of the best memories I have of last summer is when we’ve been at races and my boys are so excited. The girls don’t know what’s going on yet, but they’re so excited. They’re going to different spots along the race and cheering me along and then we’ve actually entered some kid races together. It’s a whole other connection you can have with your kids through fitness and it’s a nice bond to have.
Ladies it is possible for you to fit in clean living as well as a healthy and happy family. You need to have a plan and include your family in that plan. Be sure to share with your family your goal. Make it a family thing. Put the kids in the stroller and head out for a walk. While your kids are at the park squeeze in a a little workout, play tag with them. Do walking lunges around the sand box. Little things add up.
If you have any other fun ways to get active with kids I’d love to hear it. Please leave me a comment below.
PS> Check out Laura’s website. She has an amazing number of Pilates DVDs http://tarbellpilates.com/