The Mom Buff: SAHMs Have More Time to Work Out

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Erin, you have more time to work out since you don't work," says my friend Benny. (The commenter's name has been modified for his protection from angry SAHMs everywhere.)

When he told me that, I think 5 flies flew into my open mouth. Let's look at the participants in this conversation.

Me, Erin of the Mom Buzz: A stay-at-home mom of two boys ages 1 and 3. Husband works over 40 hours a day, plus he works out 5 days a week after work.

Denny: Single male, recently engaged. Probably works over 40 hours a week too, as a manager of a busy retail location.

Who has more free time? Every SAHM I told this story to gasped, laughed or asked for his address to deliver a special message to him. That's because I would like to know where our free time is? Personally, my husband wakes up at 5:30am to cardio. He returns home at 8:00pm most days. But even then, my work day does not end until at the earliest 9:00pm, since we start the bedtime routines at 8:30. And I can't just leave the kids home by themself to go workout - kinda defeats the purpose of being a SAHM - plus I think it's illegal.

So when do I work out? Most days, between the hours of 9:30 pm and 11:00pm. I don't really want to be at the gym between the hours of midnight and 5:30am, when my husband is also home. I hope you understand that, all you Benny's out there.

Now let's talk when Benny, in other words - all single males, can work out. They can go before work, during lunch, after work. Their work day often (not always - but commonly) begins at 8:00am, a 1 hour lunch break is common (good enough for a 30-minute cardio session) and then they can work out anytime after work. The common end of a workday is 5pm. As a manager of a retail location, the hours will differ than common office hours - but with an 8 work day they still have plenty of options to work out. How do I know this - because I was a single person who used to work out BEFORE WORK, DURING LUNCH and AFTER WORK.

There is no before, during or after work when you are a SAHM. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being with my babies. But at the same time, there are no sick days or days off. So, I plan my schedule accordingly to fit in working out. And to tell me it's easier is only proof that you don't understand everything a mother does - one thing being planning. I plan morning routines, lunch time, playdates, bed and bath routines, etc. And I can plan my work-outs.

Benny is engaged now - what lies in his future... who knows. But if parenthood is to come, I hope he never make those assumptions with his future wife! And I hope that instead of using his time working out his "mouth" to say asinine comments, that he use that same time to fit in a work-out!

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This is solely the opinion of the Mom Buzz. Other people may have different experiences with single males. And don't forget to enter my hot contests so you can win and try buzzworthy products!
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  1. As They Grow Up said...

    Great post Erin and so true! I actually seem to have less free now that I am a SAHM. At least when I worked, the kids had a sitter so I had the option after work. But my day doesn't end now until Davis goes to bed

  2. Carol C said...

    I do think a SAHM has more time to work out. I work and have all the responsibilities a SAHM does too. My days off I definitely get more done. SAHM can easily work out with their child. ie, stroller jogs, video workouts during nap, etc. Its how you chose to your time in the end. I have 2 friends who are SAHM and they use their nap time to watch tv.

  3. Erin Tales said...

    Carol, working out with videos with two toddlers is almost impossible. As one friend told me - when she was in a yoga pose her downward dog turned into a lame dog when her toddler jumped on her. Just like some working moms actually go online or chat by the water cooler and don't work when "at work". Some SAHM waste time too. But, I've been at both sides of the fence and can clearly see I had more time when I was "at work" since I had someone else to help watch the kids.

  4. trisha said...

    Oh sure, i have TONS of time to find a sitter, pay someone to watch my child(ren), drive 25 min to the gym, stay there for an hour, drive 25 min back home again, take a shower and get dressed. Whats that all take... 3 hours?

    Its a damn life of luxury around here! In fact, i run by the mall and get a Starbucks too. Cause you know, I stay at home so I can eat bon bons and watch soap operas.

    WTF ever.

    ANYONE WITH A CHILD does not have time to physically LEAVE the house and go to the gym. That is why women are FAT.

    The end.


  5. Erin Tales said...

    LMAO Trisha. Hilarious.

    And Carol - mostly this post was inspired by my single male friend. If you think he has less time than me ... ya gotta be kidding.

  6. Shannon said...

    "There is no before, during or after work when you are a SAHM. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being with my babies. But at the same time, there are no sick days or days off." - Exactly!

    I never realized how much a 24 hour a day job it is. I love my children more than life and wouldn't exchange being a SAHM for anything in the world, but you do have to plan things out a lot more and work out around their schedules as you do. I do take my kids strolling in their strollers and we go on plenty of walks. With a 2 year old on a walker and a 1 year old running the opposite direction I guess I do get a better workout than Benny! lol j/k. Great post, Erin!

  7. Gena said...

    Great post Erin! I found that I definitely had more time to do stuff for me when I worked. It was just easier. The kids were already at the sitter, so I could get in an extra few minutes to do stuff I needed to get done. Yes I took advantage of that so that when I was with my kids, it was quality time.

    As a SAHM, I can't find a sitter for just a couple hours a day so I can work out. Taking the kids for a walk is a joke because I'm generally chasing them. Nap time is generally spent doing chores. Yes I waste a lot of time at times but who doesn't? I think that guy is going to have an eye opener if he has kids!

  8. AccidentalMommy said...

    I worked out a lot more when I worked full time. I think part of it was that when BOTH of us worked, I felt (totally self-imposed) less responsible for 100% of the childcare.

    For me, I try to work out with my kids around but there is always a distraction, an interruption, and I can't put 100% into it and focus on really making progress.

    Last night for example, Billy Blanks went on with the second half of the Tae-Bo workout alone while I tended to Abby who was tired and ready for bed an hour earlier than usual. By the time I got back downstairs I was mentally drained and didn't want to workout.

    I also do try and work during the day, so I am a part-time SAHM and some days it takes twice as long to do the work because they are hanging all over me distracting me. I love it, but some things cannot be done with kids around, especially when they want to play with you (which I oblige more often than not...otherwise why I am at home to begin with?)

  9. Amanda said...

    I had way more time when I worked outside the home because I had an hour for lunch every day, and every other week I had a half day of work. During this half day my son remained at daycare until usual pick up time because I left work while he was down for his nap. No sense waking a sleeping toddler. Oh how I long for the days when I actually got stuff done in a timely manner.

  10. lisa said...

    Great post Erin , I 100% agree with you ! Being a SAHM of 5, I have no extra time ! Between doing the laundry and , cleaning , and cooking, homework, appointments, baths , bedtimes. Usually by then I'm beat and will spend a few mins on the computer , trying like crazy to keep my eyes open.

    Anyone that thinks a SHAM has the best , is crazy! Yes we are with out children , but like you mentioned we don't go home at 5! We don't get sick days or days off at all!

    I think this man needs to get his head out of his A$$. Think he is in for a wake up call if he has children or his wife is in big trouble!

  11. orbitmom said...

    See that's why I hate the 24 hour gyms bc then childless friends/relatives of mine assume I have no reason to have flab. Well, I don't want to go to the gym at midnight either! Being a mom is no doubt the most demanding round the clock work ever!

  12. Angie Marion said...

    I've been meaning to come here since you posted your before and after. GIRL! You look GREAT!!! Congrats!

  13. Jennifer Leigh said...

    Wow really? I am a working mom and I just fell out of my chair. When I stayed home life was so much easier. I had way more time. Now that I work I have ZERO time to myself I either work straight through my lunch or spend it driving my youngest from prek to daycare. When i get out of work I have to pull 2 hours bringing the boys to soccer, run home cook dinner, give baths, make sure homework is done, then make dinner for hubs who just walked in. 10pm I usually blog from 11pm-2am and then it starts all over at 6am. where I kart 2 kids around, drop car seats and lunches off, Spend 20 mins helping the PTO, and off to work I go.

    I believe NO mom has it easy but when I was SAHM I had time to myself. Were my kids in tow yes, but they are with me 24/7 anyways unless I'm on the clock and sometimes even then when I am forced to bring them with me.

    Just b/c I work doesn't mean someone else helps do laundry, dishes, baths, cleaning, or anything Mom like. My Hubs walks out a 6am and comes home at 10pm. So I do all a SAHM does in less hours...or at least less sleep. Imagine having all you have to do everyday and then losing 8-10 hours of that time each day to get it done.

    But this is something should have been labeled Moms NOT SAHM.

  14. Erin Tales said...

    Jennifer Leigh - I just want you to know I am not caomparing SAHMs to Working Moms. Since it was a personal story - it was the guy who said that I had more time as a SAHM. He prob. wouldn't have said it if I was a Working Mama. KWIM?

    Thanks for posting!

  15. Penelope said...

    Don't you know you are supposed to work out in *between* taking care of the kids?

    After you have your children in their carseats, you do ten laps around the car.

    While your children are munching on snacks in their high chairs, you have 1 minute stretches to do sit-ups between each splatter you have to clean up.

    And of course, don't forget all that free time you have to take your showers, fix your hair, and relax during the two minutes your children a distracted by a passing airplane overhead.


    (I hear this all the time, since I quit my job- that I must sit home all day and do nothing). Grrrr

  16. Felicia said...

    Whew..I can definitely see how it is hard both ways. I am home 2 1/2 days and work 2 1/2 days.. it is hard anyway you slice it. I think you got it right on the money when you said something to the effect of making time to plan it. Thanks for the post Erin!!

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