Not-So-Early Bird

Waking up at the crack of dawn to work out sucks, but it's good for me—and my son.


Even though I've been getting up before work to exercise since April, I still struggle to actually get out of bed when the alarm goes off. Struggle doesn't quite cover it: I dread getting out of bed when the alarm goes off. The house is so dark, cozy and quiet, I'm so tired, and I just want to sleep in.

Instead, I try to think about how accomplished I'll feel when I finish my run. I try to picture the sun coming up over the trees at the park, which always makes me happy—mostly because being awake to see the sunrise is still a bit of a novelty to me. I also keep in mind that my son is only 2 and I want to be around and be healthy for as long as I can. (Luckily, research shows that as a full-time working mom, I have health on my side. Whew.) Plus, it seems my fitness habit has started to rub off on him: The other day while standing on the step stool in our kitchen, my son dropped one foot off the bottom step and started to do what looked like mini one-legged squats. I asked him what he was doing and he turned to me and said, "I exercise, mama."

So, when the alarm goes off, I get up. I throw on my sports bra, grab a handful of grapes and get in the car to drive to the park. By the time I walk onto the dirt track, I'm glad I got out of bed so early. And when I finish my two-mile run, I know I did the right thing—for me and my son. Now I just have to get up and do it again tomorrow.

How do you motivate yourself to work out as a working mom?