Shocking confession time: I enjoy working out.
My first foray into anything remotely athletic was the flag corps in high school, and I loved that – but I would have chalked it up to the comraderie and the music and yada yada yada. Not the exercise (although in hindsight, I’m sure that’s from whence at least part of the ‘high’ came.)
And then a baby came along. And another, and another. And I wasn’t working anymore. And we moved four times. And there were a million reasons that I couldn’t join a new gym, and there were a million reasons that I couldn’t figure out how to fit in some kind of exercise on any given day.
Over those years, I forgot something: that I actually, really, truly did ENJOY working out.
On my 30th birthday, I had a blessingway. One very precious part of the ceremonies was the reading of a letter my mother wrote (since she couldn’t be present, as she was in the middle of chemotherapy at the time). She gave me advice and encouragement and I will always treasure that piece of her heart… and among other things, she urged me to work out. “Pick something you love to do, and do it regularly. I love to walk and I used to do five miles a day!” There was advice about marriage and parenting and memorizing Scripture, too. But this exhortation to exercise is now in my head as Something My Mom Wanted Me To Do.
Today, I’m a busy busy busy mother of three. I homeschool and I attempt to blog. I scrapbook (I’m a teensy bit behind… but in my heart, I’m a scrapbooker). I read my Bible every day and I waste way too much time on Facebook and I cook and I do laundry. I shuttle us to the library and speech therapy and karate class and Sunday School and pediatrician’s appointments.
But I started working out.
Even then – there is a part of me that feels guilty for trying to sneak in this time at all. There are other things I could be doing when the kids are asleep, and if they are awake I feel terrible for trying to quickly handle the immediate need and get back to the sets they interrupted.
But there’s another (admittedly, smaller) part of me that wants to just join a dadgum gym and drop the whole crew off in one of those kid-rooms and wave goodbye with a smile and go focus on nothing more than my delts and triceps and biceps for half an hour. You know? I wouldn’t do it – at least not at this point, with a 4 month old – but that little part of me does fantasize about it when I fix someone a third cup of water in the twenty minutes I’ve been trying to work out.
And that’s the final piece of the puzzle. I want to do this. I like doing this. I need to do this – obviously for my physical help, but judging by that last paragraph, probably for my mental health as well. If I ever hit on a beautiful, creative, fulfilling solution to the puzzle – where I get to workout, and not feel guilty about it, and not ignore my kids in the process, and not neglect all the other things I “should” be doing too… I’ll let you know.