One way to create balance during the early years–when your kids depend on you the most–is to find some space at home that you can claim as yours alone.
Like all busy moms, you probably find that your life is intertwined with your children’s and family’s even in the moments that would normally be considered “alone time.” For example, how many times have you had a conversation through the bathroom door? While rummaging in your purse for your keys, have you found a child’s toy–or even yesterday’s snack–snagged in your hairbrush?
For most of us, these endearing moments serve as important reminders. As the children grow and the silence behind the bathroom door begins, we find ourselves longing for those precious times… at least sometimes!
A key to creating balance during these early years–when our kids depend on us the most–is to find some space at home that you can claim as yours. Below are a few ideas for creating your own “alone space.”
- Create a “mom’s corner” with a desk or small table (high enough to keep little hands from redecorating). Put your laptop, a small vase of flowers and some photos or clippings of favorite things that remind you of “you.” Reserve this space for creative thinking, meditating, writing or whatever it is that allows you to feel balanced for the moment. A photo of your children smiling or a family vacation is a nice connection, but also framing a picture of you and a girlfriend (even if it is from the college days) will help you to feel balanced between motherhood and womanhood.
- Design a small space for exercising where you can still view the children playing or sleeping (or keep the monitor close by). A great way to regain balance is to add small doses of cardio to your day, evening–or even later at night–with exercises like spinning. Home exercise bikes that require only the power of your body are perfect for jumping on and “riding away” for a few moments.
Balanced move of the day: spinning
Gone are the days of the exercise bike with arms pumping and pedals turning out of control. Today’s home spin bikes are sleek, quiet, affordable and effective. If your schedule allows and there is a spin studio nearby, check out a group class with a trained instructor. You can always incorporate what you learned into your home spinning routine.
- Wear comfortable shorts (padded for cycling are the best) and a shirt that will wick perspiration. Anything but cotton will work.
- Start out on the bike with a warm up, spinning the pedals and positioning your body in a comfortable position.
- Take a few deep breaths and allow your body to warm up, feeling the heat in the body as the intensity increases.
- Use a stop-watch or bicycle computer (they come with most home spin bikes) to time your warm up. If you are carving out 15 minutes to ride, warm up for 3 – 5 minutes, spin faster for 6-8 minutes and cool down for the remaining time with slower pedaling until the heart rate returns to normal.
- Keep it green by using a bike that does not require electricity. Or when the weather permits get outside on the bike with baby or toddler in tow!
Spinning or any high-intensity aerobic exercise preformed on a regular basis (even 15 minutes at a time), will condition your cardiovascular system to function more efficiently. As the heart gets stronger, your circulatory system delivers oxygen and nutrients with less effort, and your lung capacity increases. Energy for day-to-day activities will increase, and you won’t fatigue as easily.
An added bonus for busy moms is that spinning and other aerobic activity can also improve your mood by easing tension and anxiety. So get on that bicycle and ride!
Written by Michele Fulkerson; photography by Katka Konecna