Dear Mountain Mama, 

I don’t have time to work out. I’m in my early twenties and work full time. After work, there are bills to pay, friends to see, and dinner to prepare. 

I know you’re a single mom. How do you find the time to work out?

Yours,

Busy Bee

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Dear Busy Bee,

Between attending to all the to-do’s on our lists, inevitably something goes undone. Let it be no secret that the last thing on a to-do list never gets crossed out. If you want to work out, put it right up there on top after brushing your teeth.

My own realty is that sometimes I arrive at the put-in with a messy car, with diapers and baby toys strewn all over the seats. Sometimes I leave for a run sans socks, because I had exactly 35 minutes to squeeze in a run and I couldn’t locate a pair without wasting too many valuable minutes.

Last week I went for a 38-mile ride on my road bike. One of the other members of the blonde brigade asked, “What are you, a freakin’ camel? What’s the deal with only one water bottle?”

“That’s all I could find,” I said, “I had 10 minutes before getting home from work and meeting you. I’m a wreck most of the time, no bike jersey, no snacks, no extra water. But I promise that I’ll never complain about it.”

Forget about perfect. Nobody cares if you hair isn’t brushed. If you forget a snack or sunscreen, somebody is bound to share. Just remember to put good karma out there, and when you do remember, bring extra and give freely. Own your forgetfulness and your stress. When we allow ourselves to be real, those around us in turn feel comfortable being themselves.

Practice reaching and letting go in equal measure. Every day, try to fit a work out into some corner of your day. On the days where you can spend a whole day paddling or hiking or riding, fantastic! But the days when you run for 20 minutes or squeeze in a yoga routine on the mat in your living room are equally important to staying fit. And when you find that you just can’t manage to exercise at all, let go of the guilt, let go of the expectation.

Sweet Busy Bee, nobody should expect you to perfect, least of all you. Get out there and sweat!

Best,

Mountain Mama