I love having things on the calendar. I hate saying the word "schedule" because if flies against my vision of the free-spirit spontaneous creative type I want to be (which is a total illusion when four kids are involved). But I've learned that this so-called schedule is what keeps me on track with my fitness goals and serves as "the bad guy" when dissenting children rebel. It's not me, it's on the schedule.
Like last week.
"I don't want to go to the gym," JC, my almost-6-year-old and half-day Kindergartener wailed.
"We have to go," I say. "Today is mommy's swim class."
"Don't go," she says.
Let's pause here for just a second. If you're looking for a way out of your workout, how easy is it for you, as a mom who wants the best for her children, to think, 'oh, alright, let's find something else to do' and then skip your planned workout?
Don't answer that.
I really do love my swim class and getting in a workout during the week is not easy and I only drag her and her brother (who LOVES playing in the childcare center) there once, maybe twice a week, so she's not going to wear me down.
I remind her that she always has fun once she's actually in the childcare center.
But the whining continues.
"I pay for my swim lesson," I tell her. "It would be wasting money if I don't go."
This, probably ranks even higher than having it on the calendar for accountability.
"I'll give you a dollar," she says.
"Listen," and I am so trying to hold off saying, 'because I'm the mom!' hoping that the reasoning will break through some how. "You and your sisters swim on Monday night. Your brother swims on Tuesday mornings and I swim on Thursday mornings. That's the way it is and that's the way it will be for the foreseeable future so you need to get used to it."
See, it's the schedule's fault, not mom's.
I manage to convince her to get dressed and get myself and The Boy ready, but now I have no time to spare. We have toGO, and why is getting out of the house so damn stressful all the time?
But the 5-year-old is moving through the hallway like she's studying artwork at the Louvre.
"I'm hungry," she says.
"Grab a snack quick" I tell her trying to sound nonchalant so that we don't end up with another struggle that will take more time and put me over the edge. I still have to get The Boy buckled in the car anyway. And where is my gym bag? Everything I need should be in there.
"I need to go to the bathroom," she looks at me with that look of desperation that means #2.
I want to yell at her.
I load up the car.
I wait for her outside the door. Being diplomatic is going to make us late. Being late is better than not going at all. I breathe.
At last she makes the few lolligagging steps to the car. She has trouble buckling her seat belt, or as I suspect, pretends to have trouble.
Once I find a parking space (always a challenge mid-morning at our gym), I throw my gym bag on one shoulder and get The Boy out and hoist him on the other side. I have forgotten wipes and my own water bottle. It's always something. "Please don't poop," I say to him as lovingly as possible. I am grateful he doesn't have separation anxiety.
JC is still in her seat. "I'm not going in," she says as determined as Rosa Parks for her right to sit exactly where she is.
I'm already 10 minutes late. I still don't care. I can do the swim workout on my own if I have to. I still have enough time to swim for an hour and get her on the bus in time. But not much.
I honestly can't remember the dialogue that took place next, but I stayed focused and persuasive and she unbuckled. But she didn't move.
"I'm not going," she repeated.
Do you all know how close I am to losing it at this point? Why I didn't is still not clear to me.
So I (calmly but with resolve) picked her up under one arm, the arm that was still free but somewhat burdened with the gym bag and dragged her through the parking lot. I was seething. She was laughing. The laughing made the seething worse. I'm sure people were staring, probably thinking: "That poor child, her mother dragging her into the gym just so she can have a workout. How selfish."
I hope that's not what anyone was thinking, but that's what I was thinking they were thinking. Unfortunately this happened the week after "Guilt-free Parenting Week."
So how did it all shake out?
I did not erupt into Medusa Mom and she finally dropped her protest as soon as she walked in the door. I got to the pool deck 20 minutes late but my coach was happy to see me (she's also a mom and a pre-school teacher so she knows). We stuck to the schedule.
But all that? That's Mama Sweat. Mama Sweat is as much sweating the small stuff (and it is small stuff in hindsight) from the antics of making our workout happen as it is the literal sweat once we start exercising. Having a few scheduled workouts each week helps you stay committed to your fitness, but that commitment will still take effort. And a lot of Mama Sweat.
Copyright © 2008 - 2014 Kara Douglass Thom. All rights are reserved.