Why and how I make time to workout as a working mom

Emily Barton Peleton

It’s 11:25 a.m. I just got off my Peloton bike. It was my hardest ride yet—30 min Tabata Ride with Ally Love. 

I’m just shy of three months postpartum, but making time for a workout is already a huge priority for me. No, this isn’t because I feel social pressure to get my body back or because I’m in the beauty industry. Look, I’ve been through enough in my 32 years to waste my time worrying about stuff like that. 

Let me Zoom out of the cute Instagram feed to explain why I start to workout as soon as the doctor clears me:

What most people don’t see/experience behind the cute IG pictures and videos of Jax working hard and making steady progress is the physical and mental strength it takes on my end to care for her on a day to day basis. 

  • I carry my almost 7 year old to the bathroom throughout the day to get her there as fast as possible to avoid accidents. 
  • I help her in and out of chairs, hoist her up into car seats, and aide her in just about any physical transition to keep her safe.
  • You might even catch me at the top of the jungle gym at the park because Jax prefers the highest slide of course. 
  • I dress her, feed her, bathe her… and trust me when I say the smile, joy and love she gives me makes it all worth it. (Okay… I’m not always patient or have the best attitude but she keeps me humble.)

Being a special needs mom goes far beyond booking her appointments with specialists and making sure she eats the right foods. It’s a mental, emotional, and physical responsibility I bear every day. 

Because if I’m not there to care for her, who will? 

Let me be clear here on what my life is like when I’m workin’ my booty off on the Peloton: My house is a wreck, breakfast bowls are still on the table and oatmeal is covering the floor. Before I hopped on, I put in my first load of laundry in probably 4 days (hello crazy weekend and my most favorite chore to completely avoid). One kid is sleeping, one kid is at school, and the other is golfing with dad. In these glorious moments I chose to put my work aside, ignore the stack of bills and the phone calls that need to be made, and I hopped on what I might consider the best Mother’s Day gift I’ve received yet (well of course second to the gift of my children). 

Yes of course I want to regain the strength and look of my pre-baby body, but more than anything, I want to be able to care for all three of my kids with a strong body and mind. 

Jax is my reason and motivation for a lot of things I do. Working out—and working out hard— is one of them. When I am in a 30 second sprint and my legs are on fire, Jax is at the forefront of my mind. She doesn’t give up when she is up against a physical barrier, she doesn’t have the “I can’t” mindset. 

Jaxlee gives life her best every single day, even when it takes everything in her to climb to the top of the jungle gym slide. So for the 30 mins I’m on my bike, disciplining my mindset with Ally Love (okay I am obsessed with her) or running the neighborhood with a double stroller, I give it everything I’ve got. 

I am constantly challenged to put my excuses aside, and sacrifice to make myself a priority. I can push myself a little harder each day because I know I am not the only one who will benefit. My girl needs me to be strong, both physically and mentally, to help her thrive and I am not willing to allow the barriers in my life to stop me from being that for her. 

So yeah, I’m okay with the oatmeal on the floor and the wayyyy overdue laundry if it means I’m becoming the mom Jaxlee needs me to be. 

If you want to make working out a priority in a healthy way, I encourage you to get real about your why. Once you land on a reason that isn’t full of shame or anxiety but instead one full of drive and the big picture, get your body moving. YOU are worth it. 

“If I sacrifice myself and lose too much, who do you (my children) have to admire” -Ally Love 

P.S. Any Peloton moms out there? Find me @emilyrenebarton.

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  1. Cynthia Byrd says:

    As always Emily, a great message. As women, we seem to be more easily motivated when it comes to helping others and you are using this tendency to do so much good… for your family, and also for yourself. I continue to be inspired by you, so thank you for sharing your life with us!

  2. Brittany says:

    Wow – I really needed to hear this today. Thank you so much for sharing and for always being so real and open!!

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