You're not alone: Moms everywhere can attest that squeezing in exercise—on top of everything else—is a true feat. But you don't need to be a celebrity mom with a trainer and a nanny to keep up with your postnatal workouts. These badass moms discovered useful ways to fit a little cardio and strength training in a crazy-busy schedule. See what works for them, and we have a feeling it'll work for you, too.
"I work with my daughter's schedule."—Kaitlin Zucco, 29
My husband and I were frequent gym-goers before we had our daughter, but that completely stopped when she was born. After going back to work and having her in daycare full-time, I couldn't bear the guilt of dropping her off again so that I could work out. It wasn't until I saw another mom working out at home that I decided I could make fitness a reality without daycare being part of the equation. (Whoa—this mom turned her entire house into a gym.) Now, we make sure she goes to bed at the same time every evening, and as soon as she's safely sleeping, we head straight to the basement to work out. I found that by keeping my daughter on the same schedule, it helps to keep me committed to my own exercise routine.
"I involve my kids in my fitness whenever I can."—Jess Kilbane, 29
I found a workout group that I can bring my kids to, so I can make mama friends while exercising. The instructors are certified in prenatal and postnatal fitness, so they really understand a mother's body and what it needs. I also found a passion for running. I usually put on a podcast or audiobook in one ear and head out with the jogging stroller (although sometimes you'll see me blasting The Wiggles to keep my kiddos happy!).
"I started an online community of moms that hold each other accountable."—Sonya Gardea, 36
As a mom, it's tough to get to the gym with everything that's involved: loading everyone into the car, driving there, unloading, then, if I'm lucky to have a gym or studio with a built-in babysitter, dropping the kids off while I go exercise. I quickly learned home workouts were the best option for me, but I still needed the accountability of a group setting. So, one of my best friends and I decided to make a private Facebook group for moms who want to stay fit. (BTW, have you joined the #MyPersonalBest Goal Crushers group on Facebook?) We come up with a new exercise theme every month (think: yoga or running) to keep things fresh and fun for everyone. We check in with each other, share our struggles and successes, but most importantly, empower each other to continue on our fitness journeys. The discipline, support, and accountability is everything. If you can't find an existing group of fit moms, start your own!
"My kids know about mom's special workout time."—Monique Scrip, 30
I set out my workout clothes and shoes the night before, then exercise first thing in the morning before the chaos begins. The kids know that if they get up before a certain time, they're supposed to go back to bed so mom can have "her time." I've even heard them whisper, "Leave mom alone, she's trying to work out." They know that it's a little bit of time I have to myself where the rest of the day is all about them. My boys are so sweet to respect my workout time, and I know that staying active gives me the energy I need to serve them throughout the day. By having my kids in the loop with my fitness routine, they help hold me accountable but also relieve any guilt I might have about making time for myself. Plus, I know I'm a better mom because of it.
"My daughter joins me for my workouts."—Natasha Freutel, 30
When she was younger, I did a lot of "babywearing" workouts with her at home. I put her in the baby carrier and did a series of squats, lunges, and arm exercises. She loved that she was held close—and I loved the burn from carrying the extra weight. Now that she's 3, I try to incorporate her into my home workouts by having her do the exercises with me. She's excited that she gets to "play" with mom, even if my playtime includes burpees and squats.
"I alter my workouts with each stage of motherhood."—RaeAnne Porte, 32
As a new mom, I used to work out as soon as we put our little guy down for the night. That only lasted for a short time, though. I'm naturally a morning person, so at the end of a long workday, I was just too tired. Now, with my son sleeping through the night, I can exercise in the morning. I wake up, pump, work out, get ready for the day, then feed the baby before heading to work and daycare. On the weekends, I adjust my workout time to fit with what my family is doing, whether that's visiting with friends or grocery shopping. Bottom line: There's a lot to juggle as a mom, and we need to give ourselves some grace. If you can't fit in a workout or it only lasts a few minutes, that's OK. You can always try again tomorrow.
This story originally appeared on Shape.com.