*This post contains affiliate links
If you want something in life, you can and will make it happen.
As if getting the motivation, finding the time and getting out the door wasn’t challenging enough, fit moms are really facing a different challenge today.
As a fit mom, a busy mom, and has been a full time SAHM, full time working mom, part time working mom and a combination of these titles, I have come across a very surprising challenge to being fit and healthy.
Perhaps it is because I am from a small town, small city state, or because local owners simply either do not have kids themselves or they’ve simply forgotten what it is like to have young kids, but I have found it darn near impossible to find a gym that actually has childcare AND with childcare hours that are realistic for REAL moms to utilize. Let alone, finding a gym with decent childcare that also offers challenging fitness classes during those childcare hours!
When I say REAL moms, I mean those of us who live within a budget (like affording that gym membership isn’t enough of a challenge, but paying for any childcare on top of it does require a lot of extra effort in working the family budget), do not have housecleaners, nannies, chauffeurs, cooks etc.
Real moms have real responsibilities that have to be taken care of and have real priorities like getting the family’s meal fed to them at a realistic time.
Gyms seem to have forgotten about us (and about fit dads too). The entrepreneur who starts a gym with all day daycare (that is affordable and good quality) please step up and out and create this miracle for us fit parents!
My family has had memberships to four gyms in the last six years (we did move away from our old city). Our old gym had daycare, both midmorning and in the evening. Yet, zero fitness classes (real fitness classes not slow poke barely makes you sweat classes) were held during these childcare offered hours.
The other gyms we have/do belong to only offer childcare in the evening. Now I realize that affording employees to do the childcare are often high school/college students and the gym childcare functions off their availability. I don’t care.
A real gym to me, offers real services, such as childcare when it is most convenient to the gym members!
My husband and I are both athletes. He works long days, I work evenings. Our kids are in school in the morning. I need childcare at the gym during the afternoon! And on weekends! When I can actually get to the gym because my other priorities such as getting my kids to and from school and making their (mostly) healthy meals take precedent over well, just about everything else in my day.
Like a lot of fit parents, we split who works out when. My husband gets mornings (he’s up at 4:30 most days to make it happen). I get afternoons and we cram what we can in on weekends. But when my childcare option doesn’t start until 4:30 that gives me just an hour before I have to throw in the towel, and get to home to start dinner and our night time routine. Sometimes, I do wait until the kids are in bed to go to the gym – but again, no ‘real’ classes are offered after 8pm, if any.
Why do the few gyms that offer childcare only have it available from 4-8pm? That is when us fit parents are getting kids from sport one to sport two and getting dinner and homework and quality playtime taken care of.
The truth is, gyms have crappy hours on the weekends too! You know the earlier you open and the longer you remain open, the more people can show up. Not to mention who likes going when it’s crazy busy? I sure don’t. The fewer people getting in my way and waiting for them to finish using the equipment, the better workout I can have. And since it is so challenging to get in to the gym (during those silly childcare hours), I need to be able to make the most of my time when I am there.
I would love to see a gym offer childcare between noon and 4pm. I would be there every day. Because that is the best time for me to get in there. Or weekend afternoons. Surely I cannot be the only Mom who finds these hours best to work out consistently.
I would love to see more ‘Mommy/Daddy and me’ classes offered, even if it is just once a month, so us fit parents can show and teach our kids what it is we do when we are at the gym. The kids are always watching, we set the tone and the example. We shouldn’t have to wait until our kids are ten before they are allowed to participate in the classes too.
Now I know, nobody wants little kids in every class they go to, not even this athletic mama. I work out for my Me time too. But would it hurt a gym to offer a Parent & Child class once a week/month? It would be a great bonding and learning opportunity for young kids, and great for families to do together.
So, as a fit parent, how do we overcome this particular challenge, of our local gyms not meeting our needs very well?
For starters, just make it happen. If you have get your workout in at home, in the midst of toys and interruptions, do it. A half workout is better than no workout. And you are still setting a good example for your kids.
Second, do not allow excuses to creep in. If your gym doesn’t offer childcare, bring the kid to class anyways, sit them down with a backpack of quiet activities. Pick a spot closest to them so that taking care of their interruptions won’t interrupt the class. If you have to leave early, then leave early. You are putting forth the effort. (By all means be a good example, don’t pack messy snacks, clean up any messes made, and respect the others in the class).
Third, use your voice. Let the desk people at your gym know what frustrates you, and what you would like to see at your gym. Give the gym managers suggestions and ideas, and your fitness class instructors too. The more new ideas and concerns get discussed, the more likely solutions will come about.
My family utilizes four gyms! We use our local rec center for my husband to lift weights in, and me to run in (I use that evening childcare). He uses another gym just for the pool because they have open lap swim available around his work schedule. We use another gym for our kids swim lessons. And I use yet another gym to get in my high intensity boxing sessions (real boxing, not the pretend kind). You can understand my frustration!
I have yet to find a gym that meets my family’s needs. And yes, we live in a small town and drive half hour each way to utilize three of those four gyms!
Believe it or not, with solid research, time management skills, and financial planning (we work out outdoors as much as possible – sometimes our runs are in the rain, the cold and the snow – sans kids), we are able to make it happen.
Every day I go to work out, I think, why is there not a gym that could meet all our needs?
I do not have the answers (yet!)? Our family knows and values the importance of being fit and healthy (we are not perfect might I add). We continuously adjust to our changing schedules and budget. We know how good (mentally and physically strong, capable, and empowered) we feel, how much better parents and spouses we are, when we are able to take good care of our minds and bodies. So we stick to it. We make it work. We make the best of the gyms and programs that are already out there.
But you know what, we are still waiting for that gym to open, the one with longer hours, better childcare hours, a pool, a real weight room and cardio equipment, real classes (sorry, not sorry – we are real athletes), all available when we (working busy parents) need them to be available. So far, there just isn’t one that meets our needs.
Whoever has deep pockets and an entrepreneurs’ mindset – there is possibility and opportunity here!
Read more about The Increasing Challenges of Being a Fit Mom
You might also like My Gym Just Did What?
As a fit Mom, are you ready to raise the bar athletically or professionally?
Image © Dollar Photo Club