For moms, it’s tough to find time to work and exercise. But for Anna Kaiser, founder of dance-based fitness franchise AKT, there’s very little leeway. Kaiser has to stay in top shape while raising her 2-year-old son Brooks, managing several studio locations and serving as personal trainer to celebrities including actress Sarah Jessica Parker, model Karlie Kloss and singer Shakira.
She tries to be as active a mother as possible with her husband Dr. Carlos Wesley, a surgeon, who is also very busy.
Kaiser recently shared parenting tips for busy moms with MSNBC's Yasmin Vossoughian.
1. Be present in every moment
Kaiser dispelled the myth of total balance. Leaving your kid to go to work is hard and parents shouldn’t pretend that it isn’t.
“God, Monday morning is hard. It's so hard to have to work,” said Kaiser. “I don't really believe that there is 100 percent balance. I always want to be with [Brooks], and I always want to be working. I love both.”
If you’re struggling, try to make each moment count instead. “My goal is to be 100 percent present in the moments that I do have with either.”
2. Get creative with childcare
During the work week, a nanny or Kaiser’s mother-in-law might watch Brooks. During the weekends, Kaiser has Brooks, but she still needs to get in a workout. She described a few ways to integrate babysitters so she and her husband can both exercise and even see some friends. The key is community.
“My husband works 12-hour days too ... he can't really fit that into his day, because he wants to spend time with the baby after work,” said Kaiser. “So, we'll come to the studio. We'll hire a sitter for an hour. We'll take class together, and then we'll ... go to brunch with friends and the baby ... or we'll bring a bunch of friends together — and sometimes our friends will also bring their kids and the sitter will babysit all of them together.”
3. Don’t skip the workout
It’s hard to find time to exercise, but it’s worth it.
“I find that when I work out, that's actually taking care of myself and I'm a better mom for it,” said Vossoughian during the interview.
Kaiser agreed: “I have so much more energy for [Brooks]. When I have my perfect day, I get to the studio before he wakes up, work out, and grab coffee, and then get back right after he wakes up or before he wakes up, and I just have the best day. [It] just sets up the whole rest of my day. I'm focused. I'm energized. We usually take a nap together at the same time.”
4. Work when the kid is active
It’s hard to eliminate mom guilt entirely, but if your kid is actively engaged in an activity, it feels less egregious to sneak off and work out, or get some work done, according to Kaiser.
“I'll try and [work out] when he's eating dinner or he's finishing up at the playground so that he is actively engaged with something he enjoys, or he's on a play date so that I feel less guilty - I would just be an observer in that situation anyway, so may as well do it when he's just having the time of his life on his own, but then I can come back a better person.”
5. Integrate your child into your life when possible
Instead of taking time away from your work, your exercise or your kid, try and integrate them wherever possible, according to Kaiser. For example, Kaiser said she takes Brooks on work trips, and even works out with him around.
“Sometimes we'll add intervals of strength in between, like one person will run to a stopping point, run back while the other person does push-ups,” Kaiser said. “But it's about integrating the baby into your life instead of feeling as though you're giving up the things that you enjoy because of the baby. So I try to do that as much as possible. We take him everywhere. He's been to 10 different countries.”