Finding Child Care While You Exercise
Sometimes the easiest solution to finding time to work out is finding adequate and appropriate child care. This can be done in a variety of ways. You might join a gym where child care is offered. You might work out a schedule with another mother to swap child care duties so that you can work out. You might even join or start a formal co-op to exchange child care.
Using the Buddy System
Not only can being a new mother be physically demanding, but also it can be isolating. Finding other new mothers out there who also desire exercise and yet lack time can be a great way to get your exercise and find some companionship. It can also be the answer to your workout woes.
If you know other mothers, that would be the place to start. Not only do you feel comfortable with these women, but also you probably will feel better leaving your baby in their care. They may even have a child of a similar age.
Travel time can be a real problem with this plan. Finding someone close to home works best. Otherwise, you might be spending more time traveling around than working out. When this happens it leads to a decline in your motivation because of the effort it takes to make it happen.
The actual arrangements can vary from group to group. Perhaps you both gather at one house and take turns watching the babies while the other works out. Some moms choose to switch homes. Alternatively you can switch days. This gives one mom two days one week and three the next if you use a five-day a week schedule.
Starting an Exercise/Child Care Co-op
Perhaps you are feeling like a go-getter! If so, consider starting your own child care cooperative for the neighborhood, or among friends. This is a great way to get some time alone, and yet not worry about the expense. All you need to get going is three other moms. However, the more moms you have in your co-op the easier it can be.
Having quarterly meetings and inviting new people to join your group are also good ways to grow your co-op and to keep misunderstanding to a minimum. Make sure members of each family are present at this meeting.
The first step, after finding willing families, is to set up a meeting of all the moms (or dads). During this meeting, you need to agree upon the rules, the reimbursement, and other potential questions. Many co-ops use poker chips or paper money as currency, so you also need to decide how many to give each family at the start, how much time each will be worth, and so on. Discussing these issues up-front will help prevent problems in the future.
While this system can get complicated, it's also a great way to use the time for things other than exercise. The nice thing about doing it for exercise is that if your group is exercise-minded, you know you'll be returning the favor enough times to get in adequate amounts of exercise each week.