It is important to take care of yourself, even when you are a single parent, and that includes exercise. At the end of the day there is so much that has to be done, how can we make time for the things we would like to do but are not an urgent need?
First, we have to remember that exercise is important, not only for our health but for our emotional well being too. I know that when I take the time to exercise, that half an hour to an hour that I feel guilty for, I’m a much more tolerant Mom, better able to deal with stress. Surprisingly, exercise also gives me more energy, not less, and who couldn’t use more energy?
One of my favorite exercises is walking. I love to walk through my neighborhood and look at everyone’s pretty yards and dream about what I would like to do with my yard. Walking is also an easy exercise to do with your children, you don’t have to be a star athlete to walk, you just have to do it. When your children are small, put them in the stroller and talk to them about all the things you see on your walk, this engages them in conversation and also improves their observation skills. It’s so cute when they are the first to notice something new and they get so excited to point it out to you.
When they are a toddlers and preschoolers you can make a list of things to look for on your walk, a blue car, a big dog, an ice cream truck, anything your child can think of, you can look for. As they get too old for the stroller they will still look forward to this time with Mom and will walk with you. You may have to take shorter walks for a little while until they build up some stamina, but in the end it’s worth it.
The best thing about walking is that it is free. With so many other things straining our budget it’s nice to have something that is healthy, relieves stress and allows us to spend time with our children.
Uninterrupted time with your child, talking about things that are not home or school related, just spending time together enjoying each other’s company. Hailey doesn’t walk with me often anymore but some of our best talks have been while taking our walks, and I always know when she needs to talk things out because she will ask if she can come on my walk.
Dust off those sneakers, round the kids up and head out. It will be slow going at first, but in the end, it will be so worth it.