I was in the zone forty minutes into an “overtime” hour-long workout at the gym. It was my favorite instructor, Amanda, my gym woman-crush (and based on the over packed class, I am not alone in admiring her) and after the day before’s dancing extravaganza it was my happy place.
I don’t really ask for much for myself, as a stay at home mom who goes days without a break when hubby is out earning a living for us. I like to savor a cup of coffee in the morning, I like to take a little time to write in here, read the paper, read a book. I can delay taking a shower a few days if I have to. But – lately – I’ve needed my gym fix. Those 45-odd minutes are what cleanses my mind, makes me feel good. Just something I do just for me 5 days a week.
Anyway, the sweat was pouring out of me, seeping through my tee-shirt. My face red as a Christmas stocking and my breath labored … in the zone completely … and my phone rings. Then the buzz of a text comes through. I stop the front/back kicks we were doing, read, “Come to babysitting, H won’t stop crying”.
Mommy mode clicked on instantly, and I scanned the room. Sixty-odd women, all doing front back kicks, all within five feet of each other. There was no sneaking across the room. I had to navigate out of a class that looked like a scene from Mulan, where she’s training with all the other Kung Fu fighters. I snaked my way through the front, along the mirror, muttering sorry as I went. One poor lady had to stop her groove so I could pass, but other than that I don’t believe I disturbed anyone.
The babysitting room is a madhouse. It’s Christmas break so everyone is dumping their kids off for mini-mental breaks. The sitter apologizes over the cry of about five babies, and my ear picks out H’s wail instantly. Of course, L attached herself to me the moment I walk in. I learned a few weeks back they don’t allow breastfeeding in the sitting room, so I take H and L to the ladies locker room, like before.
My heart rate was still way elevated and the poor little bugger could barely latch on due to the slippery sweat all over me, but once we settled in and I had a letdown, the mental let down hit me too. Yes, I got a good 40 minutes in, but I envied the women in the class whose music I could hear thumping through the walls. They were there, and I was back in Mom Mode. My fitness indulgence ended just like that.
Isn’t that parenting though?
After H was satisfied the class was still in full swing, but L wasn’t going to let me out of her sights again. She screamed as I carried her into the babysitting room, she screamed when I put H in his seat. I bundled her on my back in the Tula just to assure her I wasn’t abandoning her again.
I got to navigate the class once more, to put my equipment away and gather my personal items, but this time they were on their backs doing the ab portion of the day. Feeling ridiculous I weaved through the yogamats with L snuggled up against my back, willing myself not to make eye contact with anyone.
By the time I get all the kids out the door the class was just ending.
I felt a curious mix of emotions. I felt like I was cheating myself out of a great workout, even though I’d put in my all for 40 minutes. I felt like my kids were once again butting into my personal desires and needs, and then felt that mom guilt of feeling bad for those moments of resentment. Most of all, I just felt like a Mom, loading them all up in our car, telling E there was no way we’d go to McDonalds for lunch, trying to shove a pacifier in H’s mouth sightless from the front seat before putting the car in drive. It was like, the fantasy of the gym ended in the most abrupt way and reality butted itself in before I was ready.
Even now, a day later, I’m still peeved that I could have had an extra 20 minutes with everyone in the room, I could have left the class with everyone. But, that’s life. Kids, toddlers, and especially newborns are not predictable and they have a way of reminding you that your time means nothing to them. It’s just the way it is and rather than complain, I will look at it as one of those moments that are fleeting and one day I’m sure I’ll wish my kids still needed me so much I couldn’t even get through an hour-long class.