I woke up the other day with the weirdest muscle pain in my shoulders and I just couldn't figure out the cause. Then I remembered: I'm a mom. Every day is an exercise in weird movements that will likely leave me feeling mysteriously sore the next day! While I regularly beat myself up for not making it to the gym on a frequent basis, there are definitely things moms do that should totally count as exercise.
My daughter was born at just over 6 pounds and only recently cracked 20 pounds at 19 months old. However, and despite her small stature, caring for her has felt like a miniature workout routine just about every day since we brought her home. In the first few months, there was just so much bouncing and swaying and bopping, I thought my quads were going to explode. My arms would ache as I tried to feed her the only way she would concentrate on the bottle: carried in my arms looking out over our patio or out on the lawn staring up at the trees. Every bottle gave me that deep muscle burn you usually only get at the gym.
Now that I have a wiggling, squiggling toddler, I use even more obscure muscles to wrangle her in on a daily basis. Sure, it's exhausting, but now I can cancel that ignored gym membership without feeling even a little bit bad about it.
Diaper changes can be full-on wrestling matches with tiny-yet-surprisingly-strong little people. Holding down a 20 pound person while simultaneously wiping and diapering should be an Olympic sport.
Being The Human Jungle Gym
My daughter loves nothing more than to climb all over me when I'm laying on the living room floor. She especially loves using me as a human jungle gym, and I realized the other day that functioning as the human jungle gym is as good an ab workout as any equipment you could buy from QVC in the middle of the night.
Carrying A Tiny Human Everywhere
At least every other day I realize I'm carrying my daughter in some weird position or holding her up to see something or get a drink from a water fountain. Carrying and holding her in odd-but-ultimately-necessary ways is the most likely to result in mysterious muscle pain the next day.
Lifting A Kid Onto The Slide
Just like lifting dumbbells, lifting the 20 pound kid up and onto the slide (which is sometimes the only way to explain to a 1 year old that you can't try to go up the slide while kids are flying down it) over and over again is the best arm workout you never asked for.
Chasing A Kid Too Brush Their Hair
My daughter's curly hair is now long enough that the morning routine involves wetting it down and brushing it out before trying to put it into a pony or pigtails. That entire 20-minute experience is one exercise in non-stop chasing. One day, maybe, she'll sit down long enough that I don't have to sprint and brush simultaneously around the whole house!
Chasing A Kid Everywhere Else
I love watching my daughter explore the world, but at the moment, it involves me chasing her around to make sure she's not leaping to her death off the side of the playground structure.
Wrestling A Kid Into A Car Seat
One day, hopefully in the very near future, we're going to have car seats that are magically self-buckling. Is it me or is that the most exhausting part about running errands? The more car seat buckling and maneuvering, the bigger the workout you're getting.
Bouncing A Newborn
Remember that bouncing? It's been a while since I have had or have been able to bounce or rock my baby to sleep, but I remember the shushing/bouncing combo. I also remember feeling like I had completed a damn marathon by the time I was finally able to get my baby to sleep. Doing the same motion over and over again for prolonged periods of time builds muscles in a way the gym can never do.