I used to be a gym rat before I had kids. I’d workout for almost two hours, at least five times a week. I also ate and drank whatever I wanted; my justification for obsessing about workouts. And though I took a spin class on my due date with my first child, it took me seven years to ease myself back into a fitness routine after I had her. It was just so hard to find the time, the motivation, and the energy. So I have some questions for the perpetually active mom, mainly: How?!
I see this mom, actually several of these fitness-centric moms, a lot. Some of them are my friends, and I admit that I admire their willpower to tug on some lycra in the wee hours of the frigid morning to go for a run before school drop-off. And while I do shlep to the gym most weekday mornings, I do so with leaden feet, as if I’m heading towards the doctor’s office for some bitter medicine. It is good for me, but I hate that I have to do it.
It’s not as I don’t love a good cardio session. Endorphins, especially for a working mom like me, are wonderful. It just feels as if the road to achieve a good workout is pitted with obstacles that didn’t exist before I had kids. I have so much to think about — their schedules, their health, my project deadlines, regular household stuff like laundry and groceries and how we’re going to find the source of the leak that is causing our dining room wall to melt — that taking time to exercise feels like I’m procrastinating on taking care of the really necessary parts of my life. But the truth is, I’m in a much better state of mind to tackle my to-do list when I’ve worked out. I’m calm, centered, and grateful to have my health.
So while I understand the necessity of incorporating regular exercise into my life, for the wellbeing of me, and my family, I can’t quite come to terms with the moms who always seem to be active. So, here's what I would love to ask them, because honestly, I have no idea how you do it.
I would not be hitting the gym at 7:30 a.m. if I wasn’t already out the door with my kids, dropping them at the bus stop. I would opt for sleep every time.
If so, you are a genius. I might even be willing to become a long distance runner if it meant my kids would join me and fall asleep effortlessly by 7:00 p.m. and without an ounce of protest.
I used to run a lot, but I always hated it. Sure, I liked the fact that I spent some time running once the running was over, but I detested every bit of it while I was doing it. It was always my last resort for cardio, like if I missed my kickboxing or step or zumba classes. I understand that “runner’s high” thing, and yes, it’s a great feeling after a run. But, for me, it does not outweigh the terrible feeling I have for the 25 minutes I’m counting down on the treadmill until I’m done.
Since I have a hard time believing someone would actually enjoy running, I have to wonder what the impetus is for Running Mom? Is she running from her kids (understandable)? Is she running from the pressures of parenthood (totally get that)? Or is she just running because it’s a low-cost, accessible form of exercise, to which I would counter with the notion that so is the workout I get cleaning the floor under the dining room table after my children’s meals.
Before kids, I was motivated to workout because I wanted to eat and drink what I wanted and not have to buy bigger clothes. After kids, I am never motivated to workout. Even when I’m feeling my most slovenly, it is hard to muster the energy to lace up my sneakers. Weekdays, I am motivated to hit the gym, only because I’m already outside, un-showered, in workout clothes, after bus drop-off. But for moms who swim, or bike, or get their workouts in before waking their kids for school, how do you find the strength?
All moms are tired. Full stop. So wouldn’t exerting ourselves tire us out more? While it’s true that I do feel somewhat energized after a workout, and doing cardio does strengthen my endurance, I am undeniably exhausted by the time 4:00 p.m. rolls around. Do running moms not experience this phenomenon?
Too much coffee makes me jittery, so I wouldn’t dare up my intake to over a cup a day. So it’s no surprise I don’t have the energy to fuel a long, or fast, run. How much caffeine are these perpetually active moms relying on, and why won’t they tell us?
Do you wake up super early? Go to bed super late? Give up your lunch hour? Do you not watch TV or something? Maybe I’m not better off knowing the answers, since I am pretty sure I am not willing to carve out more than the half hour a day (on most weekdays) I exercise.
Please stop running. Please tell me you enjoy sitting down. Please don’t make me feel like being perpetually active should be my goal. Please?
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