When did I become an unfit mother?
There was a time when I was fit.
Not fit in the “Yer one fit burd” sense, but fit in the exercise sense. I went to the gym 5-6 times a week, doing everything from yoga and Pilates to Body Pump and Metafit. Then I joined a roller derby team, and I spent four hours a week skating in circles and getting bashed around by bigger girls. I loved all of it, the sweating and the stretching and the muscles developing under my skin. My calves were like rocks, and they were amazing.
Then I got pregnant.
Roller derby had to go, as did the hardcore HIIT training. But I kept exercising, albeit a bit more gently. The Popple loved it. She karate kicked me in the ribs with particular enthusiasm during my pre-natal Pilates classes.
Then I had a baby, and now I do f*** all, because I literally can’t find the time to do it.
I can’t exercise before work.
The Popple wakes up before 6am, we’re out of the flat by 7:15, and I’m at my desk by 8.
I can’t exercise during my lunch break.
Because I can’t always take one. Also because I don’t want to get sweaty and then have to put my nice work clothes back on.
(There’s a shower in my office, but I find the idea of getting naked at work very disturbing.)
I can’t exercise after work.
I have to pick up the Popple from nursery and rush home to do the dinner/bath/bedtime routine before she gets overtired and goes off her nut.
I can’t exercise after the Popple goes to bed.
The closest gym is located a 15 minute walk down a slightly shady canal path, something I’m not keen to do at night. Plus I’m too knackered after a long day of working and toddlering to head off for a workout that won’t end before 9pm.
I can’t exercise on the weekends.
This isn’t strictly true. I can – and very occasionally do – go to the gym on the weekends. But weekends are busy. They’re packed with shopping and chores and cleaning and visiting and entertaining a small person. I can’t always find an hour to watch 90s music videos on the elliptical machine.
My desire to get back in the gym has nothing to do with losing weight. I’m actually thinner now than I was during my gym nut days, but it’s a weird, squishy kind of thin. I have no strength anymore, and instead of a solid two-pack, my abs consist of one sticky-outy muscle that seems to be in the wrong place.
(I’m not sure that exercise can fix this – it may be a your-muscles-got-squashed-to-the-side-during-pregnancy-and-haven’t-quite-settled-back-into-the-right-place thing.)
I want to exercise again because I want to do something good for myself. Because it clears my mind. Because I like pushing my limits to see what I’m capable of.
But seriously, there is no time for this fitness nonsense.
Working parents who work out, how to you manage it?
Please share your secrets. My wobbly one-pack belly needs you.