I used to love working out, and J and I were pretty active together – lots of walking, classes at the gym, weights, yoga, you name it. I worked out at the YMCA the day before I gave birth to F. And then? Wait, did you say “workout”? What’s that again?
I exaggerate a little here, but I have to admit: since I had F, I’ve had the hardest time making workouts a regular part of my routine. When she was tiny and I was on maternity leave, we took a lot of walks, and it was one of the few things that helped me feel sane. Once I went back to work, however, I found it harder and harder to make a workout happen. Most of the time, I was just exhausted after being up half the night with a our little non-sleeper, and then working on the air for hours during the day. Workouts just weren’t a priority for a while. Once we started getting our mojo back, though – and to this day – I started feeling guilty about leaving her at daycare just so I could go exercise. Yes, she’s happy there, but I still get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that makes me feel bad that I’m not rushing to be with her when I get off the air. So, most days I do just that – I choose picking her up as soon as possible rather than taking time for myself to hit the gym. And we take walks together through our neighborhood, or we ride bikes or take hikes, but any of you who’ve ever taken a walk with a 5 year old knows it’s not the fast-paced, challenging workout one would like to indulge in.
Don’t get me wrong here. I adore our time together, and I love the rambling, exploring walks and bike rides we take together. Seeing the world through her eyes – it’s such a cliche, but so dang true – it helps me to slow down and appreciate so many things I would miss if it weren’t for her. It is worth it to me to get as much time with her as possible every day, because our time together is precious and priceless (except, you know, when it isn’t, but even then, I’d rather be together than not). But it also sucks to not feel my healthiest, strongest self anymore, and I know it wears on me in more ways than one. So, what’s a mama to do? Is it just a “working mom’s guilt” thing going on here? Or do I just need to get more creative about my workouts? Maybe I can cook dinner while bouncing on a pogo stick.