The Mom Workout

At some point in our childless first year of marriage (the “childless” part didn’t last long… oops), I remember asking someone, “How do moms ever find time to workout?”.  As someone who has always valued exercise, this question really plagued me. Then one day Jordan and I babysat for a friend’s 5 year old son. After spending only half a day with him I remember thinking, “OH I get it.  Being a mom IS a workout!”  Whew.  Talk about energy! I think we spent half of our time with him playing chase and running around our living room, and then outside.

So now, as a mom of three kids (ages 5, 2, and 7 weeks old), I would like to share with you THE MOM WORKOUT:

  • Wake up to a baby crying, or child coming into your bedroom (at the butt crack of dawn, by the way). Sit up in bed – this uses your abdominal muscles.
  • Walk downstairs to make coffee.  But then walk back up the stairs because you hear another kid waking up.  Carry other kid back downstairs.  I’ve read that going up and down the stairs for a few minutes burns about 10 calories, so good start to your workout!
  • Start coffee.  You might want to purchase a 10lb coffee cup because, if you drink as much coffee in a day as I do, you will get a killer right bicep!
  • Go back up the stairs to change the baby’s diaper.  Diaper changing is a great workout for the hands, thumbs, and possibly forearms.  If you change diapers as much as I do, you might develop some amazing thumb muscles!
  • Go back downstairs.
  • Go back upstairs to change the toddler’s diaper.  Another thumb muscle workout!
  • Go back down the stairs (another 10 calories burned – you’re doing great!)
  • Sit down to drink your coffee.  Jump back up because your toddler is spilling orange juice all over your white rug.  Jumping up so quickly from a rested position will help rev up your metabolism.
  • Grab a towel and start scrubbing the orange juice stain.  This is a great arm workout!  Just make sure to switch arms halfway through so you don’t overdo it on that coffee cup lifting right bicep.
  • Sit back down and take a second sip of your coffee.  Jump back up because the baby is crying (metabolism!).
  • Breastfeed baby (burns 500ish calories per day).
  • Go upstairs to change baby’s clothes because they are drenched in spit up.  Change your own clothes because they are drenched in spit up.
  • Toss a load of spit up soaked laundry in the washing machine. Bend and lift, bend and lift – you’re getting a little strength training in!
  • Get toddler dressed for the day.  Get 5 year old dressed for the day and then kick yourself because you then remember that she is perfectly capable of getting herself dressed.  But all of that clothing and kicking yourself had to burn some calories!
  • Go back downstairs.
  • Go back upstairs because you forgot socks for the kids. Then go back downstairs (10 cals!)
  • Oops, back upstairs for them to brush their teeth.
  • Walk oldest to the bus stop, then walk back home.  A little bit of cardio there!
  • Wrestle toddler into his car seat.  This can be a full body workout!  You may even find yourself breaking a sweat.
  • Start driving to take your toddler to the park so he can burn off some energy (that he somehow has insane amounts of at.all.times).
  • Pull over into a random store parking lot because your baby is screaming and you realize that it took you so long to get out the door that it is time for her to eat again. climb into the back of the van with the baby, and feed her.  This ducking and climbing is great for your quads (think walking squats).  Then secure baby back in car seat, working your biceps (and your patience) and climb your way back into the driver’s seat.
  • Get to the park an hour later and unload the stroller and the 20lb diaper bag. Lift the baby in the baby carrier (that thing is HEAVY) and snap it into the stroller.  Wrangle toddler out of the car.  This is all fantastic strength training.  All of the lifting targets the arms and core!
  • Sprint after toddler, who runs into the parking lot.  Then, with that 26 lb toddler in your arms, sprint back to the car because you left your baby in the stroller there.  This high intensity activity is great for boosting metabolism!
  • Walk halfway around the walking track that circles the pond, pushing the stroller at a fast pace to keep up with your running toddler. Great cardio!
  • At the halfway point your toddler has decided he suddenly cannot walk anymore and is dead weight. So you lift your 26 lb toddler and carry him in your arms around the second half of the track. While also pushing the baby in the stroller. Oh and, BONUS, you are wearing a sweatshirt because it was 50 degrees when you left the house that morning.  Only it is now 80 degrees and you are in the direct sunlight. While carrying your toddler.  While pushing the stroller. This burns approximately 398479387 calories.
  • Back at the car, wrangle your toddler back into his carseat as he now insists that he is OK and wants to go back to the pond.  Lift the baby in the heavy carrier and snap it back into the carseat base.  Fold and lift the stroller and diaper bag back into the car. Arms! Core! Strength training! Endurance (and not just the physical kind…)!
  • Start the car with a crying toddler and baby, look at the clock, and realize that the baby needs to eat again.  Climb back into the back seat of the van with the baby, feed her, then climb back to the front again (yea, quads!).
  • Drive to go pick up your groceries (praising God the whole way for grocery pickup options – this counts as meditation).
  • Get home and wrangle toddler out of his car seat again because he DOES NOT NEED TO GO NIGHT NIGHT because he is NOT TIIIIIIIIRED!  (full body workout! Think alligator wrestling.  I’m pretty sure it’s about the same). Lift baby in the carrier out of the car once again (biceps! Core!).
  • Carry all of the groceries into the house and put them away, which requires lifting, reaching and stretching – lengthening those muscles!
  • Move laundry from washing machine to dryer – strength training!
  • Make and eat lunch, while holding a 10lb baby the whole time – great arm workout!
  • After lunch, Carry a flailing toddler up the stairs and wrestle him into his crib.  Once again, this is a full body workout.
  • Run back down the stairs to your screaming, crying, overtired baby.
  • Go back up the stairs to change her diaper and try to rock her to sleep.  The standing and rocking your baby works your core and your arms!
  • Go back downstairs (another 10 cals!).
  • Pour another cup of coffee (see, I told you that 10lb coffee cup would come in handy for these workouts).
  • Sit down and take a sip. Jump back up because your baby is crying upstairs.  BONUS – If you sit in a recliner, you have to use your leg muscles to push the foot rest back in when you get up.  Quads!
  • Soothe your baby back to sleep. Decide that maybe you need a nap instead of that cup of coffee, so you lie down in bed.  Sit back up at least 5 different times to go soothe your baby again.  All of that core work from sitting up from a lying down position!  There’s your killer ab workout.
  • Give up on the nap, go back down the stairs for that coffee.
  • Go back up the stairs because you realize that you brought your coffee up there when you went to soothe the baby.
  • Go back down the stairs with your coffee (another 10 cals!)
  • Sit down and take a second sip of your coffee.  Jump back up because you realize that it’s time to go get your oldest from the bus stop.  Working that metabolism!
  • Go upstairs to wake up toddler (Lord have mercy) and the finally sleeping baby, so that you can get to the bus stop in time.
  • Walk with the toddler and the baby in the stroller to the bus stop.  At the bus stop, do intervals of pushing the stroller back and forth to keep the baby from crying mixed with sprinting after the toddler who tries to run into neighbors yards or into the street.  This can be considered a HIIT workout (high intensity intervals)!
  • Walk back home with the big kid, toddler, and the baby in the stroller.  Cardio!
  • Get home and nurse the baby, whilst also reaching into the pantry for snacks for the other kids who are apparently STARVING.  This can be considered dynamic movement, because you are doing multiple moves and working multiple muscle groups at the same time.
  • Take laundry out of the dryer and fold it – arm workout!
  • Your toddler throws all of your laundry piles off the couch and all over the living room so BONUS workout – you get to bend and pick it all up (squats! work those quads) – and do the whole thing all over again!

You’ll probably end up adding a dozen more up-and-down the stairs cardio bursts throughout the evening.  BONUS if you add any housework in there.  Vacuuming the floors alone burns 3987437 calories! (don’t tell me that is inaccurate.  It is my only motivation to keep vacuuming).  In my professional opinion any housework burns hundreds of calories ;).

And at the end of the day, if you’re feeling like you still need a little something more (you overachiever, you), feel free to add on the “Wine and Weights” workout – my absolute favorite workout ever:

wine and weights


Pour a glass of wine. Grab a couple of dumbbells and just move your arms around with them, while sipping on your sweet victory lap ;).