OPINION: I'm unfit because of my kids' sporting commitments. And I'm over it

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

I quite enjoy receiving my monthly Google Maps Timeline report by email. It has a groovy little map about where I've been in the past month and a report about activity.

As I read, I suppress the thought about how it's slightly creepy that Google knows I spent one afternoon in a very specific place and where my children go to school, and I try not to look at all the driving routes it has committed to memory... forever.

Modern life, huh?

What I wasn't expecting was the almighty shock I got upon learning I had walked only 20 kilometres, yet spent 60 hours in the car that month driving my kids around. SIXTY HOURS.

I did console myself with the fact that my phone would not have recorded the hours and hours I spend walking around my home doing chores. But that doesn't really count as decent exercise, does it?

Having three kids in sport is no easy feat for a family. My eldest two play at quite a high level which means endless ferrying to training, extra training, games and now off-season sport commitments. Next season we are facing games in far-flung places well outside of our city, so time in the car is only going to increase, not decrease.

I used to have time to walk and when my kids were smaller, I'd run around with them at the park and in the backyard.  At one time I was doing well with a personal trainer, but then my kids got older, my budget for that kind of thing disappeared, and life got really real.

It's going to sound like a bunch of excuses but finding time for fitness is hard. I like to watch my kids' games which means, yes, sitting or standing still on the sidelines... sometimes with a bacon and egg roll.

My work days are spent sitting all day and I feet unfit, frumpy and dissatisfied with my appearance.

It has recently occurred to me that as my kids' sporting and fitness levels have increased, mine has decreased concurrently. Activities I might have had the time for 10 years ago when my kids were small, have now been dominated by the need to get my kids places in the afternoons, evenings and all weekend.

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And while it's a noble thought to exercise while the kids are on the pitch, as has been suggested to me, the reality is very different.

Last night I drove two kids to one training centre and the other kid to another field. I had less than an hour at that pitch and there was zero open space for people to walk or jog.

Then I had to pick up the other two and then go back again for the third kid. At finishing time (8pm) it was time to feed the masses, then I collapsed into bed at 10 so I could get up for work at 6am.

If you have one kid, then you're set. If you have two with no sport clashes, great. And if your partner is home at 5:30 every day to help, then grand.

What I've learned from other people's solutions, is that they don't work for me. Because we're all leading lives that differ in substantial ways.

I've tried to set up a walking evening with a friend but she also has kids in training and our timetables clash.

Weekends are a patchwork of up to six games and trying to have some downtime in amongst it all.

Honestly? It looks like a treadmill is in my future. I'll let you know how that goes. Maybe I can walk on autopilot with eyelids at half mast after that 8pm training session.

As my US friend - who is not far off being an empty-nester - said to me, "I got frustrated many times, but I chose them. Cherish this season in life. It ends quickly."

Sure, but I'm also going to try to prioritise my health. It's also great for my kids to see that mum's needs shouldn't always come last.