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Can You Have Your Workouts and Baby Too?

There’s something about the competitive fulfillment that comes with exercise – the power of pushing your body to the max, the sense of completion (or penance for last night’s Ben and Jerry’s indiscretion). But how do moms balance their athletic drive with the challenges of raising kids?

After triathlete Adrian Hasenbauer, a Dallas mom, gave birth to her first child, she “had a hard time keeping up with the demands I once asked of my body and my schedule.” Prior to having son Will (now age 3), Hasenbauer raced competitively. But her post-baby exercise routine brought on a new feeling: “I couldn’t keep up with my training partners, and it really got me down … I was in a funk,” she says.

“The biggest problem mothers experience is guilt,” says Dallas sports psychologist Dr. Mark Fugit. “This causes them to err on the side of cutting back too much on the activities that they enjoy.”

Fugit explains that the answer to this tricky balancing act is “not forgetting to take care of their own needs.” Hasenbauer admits she had to “make peace” with herself. And, now that she’s expecting baby No. 2, she says she’s happy with her exercise goals. She’s also found new ways to keep up with her competitive friends (such as coaching the Iron Girl Texas triathlon team).

“It will be hard to find the time, but exercise helps moms to deal with daily pressures,” offers Fugit. It’s also OK to cut yourself a little slack.