The first few months after our twins were born my husband and I had many visitors to lend us a helping hand, but once on our own, I remember feeling as if we were swimming up stream without any sleep. When my mom volunteered to come back to help, we eagerly anticipated her return, but as my husband said: "By then we might be dead."
Those are my twins at 5-months, asleep in the "neglect-a-saucer" and "neglect-a-jumper." My husband had just come home from work and we were in the kitchen eating and talking. And then we realized we were eating and talking--something we hadn't done together in months.
Finding time to talk to each other had became as scarce as sleep. This got us into trouble when it came time to squeeze our workouts in, something we both felt was still important after becoming parents. As if to prove our dedication, we signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon.
Before having children workouts and training plans required little coordination between us. Certainly nobody had to be home while the other was out. In fact, if one of us was gone, we could assume our spouse was either at work or working up a sweat.
After having babies we could no longer assume anything. Problem is we did. We assumed we could go work out whenever it fit into our personal schedule. You're going for a run right now? But I was going for a run right now!
We thought we solved that issue by breaking up our weekends in half days. Saturday one of us would get the morning, the other the afternoon. Then we'd switch it up on Sunday. This was a terrific solution for us. But like any relay, the race depends on how you pass the baton.
One Saturday I came back from "my" afternoon to find our then 10-month old twins unusually fussy. "What did you feed them for lunch?" I asked. "I didn't feed them lunch," he said. "I thought you fed them lunch."
It's true. Then somehow we were allowed to have two more children.
As fit moms (and dads) often our biggest hurdle to a good workout isn't our motivation, but our children's willingness to cooperate or good childcare. But our relationship with our partner plays a huge role, too. I don't think it matters if you are both fitness fans either. I know fit moms with sedentary husbands who think it would be easier if only her husband worked out, too. Those of us who do share a love for fitness with our spouse often wonder what it might be like to monopolize workout time. I've talked to enough women on either side of the fence to know it doesn't matter. Whether your partner likes going to the gym as much as you do or prefers to spend free time say, behind a poker table, respecting each other's time, supporting each other's interests and communicating intentions have got to be part of your fitness routine.
I'd like to think after 10 years of marriage and four children we have this process down. A good marriage is like the laundry: the work is never done.
Just a while back we had a near miss when I decided to head out early on my run morning. Since my husband was no longer in bed, I assumed he was in the basement riding his bike. That was my assumption until we met on our dark driveway as he returned from a run, presumably to get it in before I left. That proverbial relay baton was dropped again, but fortunately still asleep in their bed and none the wiser.
What else can you do but pick up the baton and keep running. The way to hold it together, of course, is to take time for victory laps. I'm lucky these celebrations keep coming at me like another load of laundry.
And what became of that marathon we embarked on after our twins were born? Well, six weeks before the start I found out I was pregnant. (Our marathon training surprise is in the green shirt). So, obviously we were communicating somehow.
Copyright © 2008 - 2014 Kara Douglass Thom. All rights are reserved.