Necessary? Hell Yes.
I would loose my freaking mind if I did not workout. First off, I would never be alone EVER. I am always with children. I get the kiddos ready in the morning. During the school year the kids and my husband drive me to work (we have one car). I teach a room full of 8th graders all day and then they pick me up. We proceed to make dinner, hang out, play outside, take tubs and do the VERY long bed time routine that comes with little ones.
I usually have an hour to talk with the husband, clean up, get ready for the next day and then I need to be in bed in order to function.
Now that it is summer the only difference is that instead of heading to work during the day, I am the one taking the kids to appointments, activities, the beach, playground, etc.
Now that we have our sweet little girl I have to add nursing (basically around the clock at this point), pumping just to be able to tolerate working out and adjusting my plan to her still ever changing sleep schedule.
I NEED a break. 1 hour to myself in a day full of giving smaller human beings constant attention. Without it I get depressed. I slow down. I don't get as much accomplished. My marriage isn't as strong. My kids do not get me at my best. And of course I don't feel as healthy.
I will wake up whenever I need to in order to make this happen, even on very little sleep, even when the kids don't want to let me go. It's worth it.
It almost has started to piss me off when people who have no children bitch about not having time to get to the gym. I shouldn't hate on them because I was guilty of the same thing at some points in my life. However, I really just want to scream..JUST FRIGGEN GO THEN!
So we make it work. One of us gets up early (during the school year I go first, at 4:30am, but now I go second) and works out for an hour or so and then comes home to relieve the other.
At this point in my life I cannot be a fitness super star. I could not train for a marathon even if I wanted to, because I get ONE precious hour in my day. It could have been different when I only had one (jogging stroller and what not) but as a working mom with a four, two and one month old, getting to the gym for an hour is what I am working with and for now it is enough.
I find it hysterical that some people I work with marvel at the fact that I work out and stay in shape. They act like I am ridiculous or super human for getting to the gym at this point in my life. But what they don't seem to understand is that I LIKE working out, I live for it and it is a break in my day.
I made the mistake of getting lazy and giving up something important to me once before, and I will not make that mistake again.
And it is hard. We have to schedule out what we are doing. I cannot take my time at the gym and sometimes a sick kid or a sleepless night makes me miss a day....but we do it because we need it, to be a happy and healthy family.
Sometimes I even smile about all the difficulties that come with staying fit and having three small children
Want an example? This week I was all excited to write up a tabata workout for my husband and I to do after the kiddos went to bed. I had it all written out and somehow it got on to the floor where my two year old (who is currently potty training) somehow thought it would be an excellent idea to pull down her princess panties and take a pee all over my carefully planned workout. My workout literally was pissed on. Guess she isn't into tabata. **Sigh** That's life.