How to Be an “All There” Parent (And Still Take Care of Yourself on a Budget)


Being a single parent means different things to different people. For some, it’s a new beginning; for others, it signals the end of a happy chapter in life. But despite the reasons for the missing parental partner, there’s one thing most singles can agree on: it’s difficult to maintain a fitness schedule let alone focus on their own health. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can find the time to work out and eat right, even on a single parent’s budget.

Schedule time for yourself

 Understandably, being a single parent means having less time alone. However, you need solo time to clear your head and do things just for yourself. Things like working out. According to phsycologist Sherrie Bourg Carter, time spent without other people — including the kids — not only allows you to reboot your brain, but it may also strengthenyour relationships. Wake up an hour before the kids each day and use that time to stretch or knock out a quick workout. Don’t miss this time alone and make sure the kids know that, should they need help, you’ll be present, otherwise, it’s your alone time. What’s more, by getting up earlier in the day, you won’t have to spend money to have someone watch over the kids while you duck out for a while.

 Invest in small pieces of home exercise equipment

 Since you’re planning time to yourself, make a point to have a few pieces of small fitness equipment at home you can use when you’re ready. If you don’t have the space for an exercise room or the budget for a treadmill or elliptical, consider portable, multi-functional pieces, such as a balance trainer. These are small, half-ball-like domesthat can be used to work on core muscles, for challenging pushups and squats or to simply help you learn to balance. If you’re a nursing mom, look for ways to save on sports nursing bras, which will keep you comfortable while you spend time doing workouts.

Make it fun (for the family)

If you aren’t aware, you already have the best workout partners; chances are, they call you mum or dad. Your kids stay in motion, and so should you. Playing with the kids, which helps establish strong bonds and creates fond memories, also burns major calories. Chasing your little bundles of energy for just20 minutesfollowed by a half an hour family dodgeball tourney will annihilate more than 180 calories. Even the not-so-fun chores associated with parenting burns calories, including picking up toys and putting up the groceries (approx. 150 cal/hr each).

Cook together

Nutrition is a vital part of your overall health and the food you eat is what gives your body the fuel to workout (and manage the kids!). Maintain your healthy lifestyle by taking your children grocery shopping, allowing them to pick out fresh fruits and veggies of their choice, and then putting them all together in the kitchen to create a meal. Taste of Home’spersonal veggie pizzais a great starter recipe that each family member can customize to their liking. Cooking at home will also help you save money, as it’s often less expensive than eating out.

Take advantage of low-cost fitness facilities

Most large cities offer multiple options for workout facilities. While many are cost prohibitive, there are still complexes that work within a single parent’s budget, costing $39 or less each month. Look for a training center that offers varied classes and options that allow the kids to hang out or participate in fitness classes of their own. If you need new workout gear, you can use online promotionsto help save money at stores like Old Navy.

Maintaining your health is not something you do just for yourself. By keeping your body strong and healthy, youencourageyour children to engage in these behaviors. Whether you’re sneaking away for a quick jog after dropping the kids off at school or keep a few pieces of small equipment tucked underneath your bed, it’s important to focus on fitness. Remember, just because you’re running a one man (or one woman) show, doesn’t mean you can’t cast yourself as a healthy and budget-oriented parent. 

 Article by Anya Willis

Image via Pixabay