The working mom’s workout is the reason I’m currently sporting a limp. Something happened to my hip, and I don’t know if it’s a muscle tear, or heaven forbid, a labral tear. I’m a mom with a sports injury… from mom workouts.
Getting exercise as a mom used to seem like an impossibility. Working out with an 18 month old is not something I thought I’d ever do. In my pre-child imagination, it would be impossible, unless I had a caregiver to cover the time it would take to get dressed, travel to a gym, park, or trail, workout, and clean myself up. I figured that would probably happen once or twice a year.
Have you seen the articles in fitness magazines, which feature photos of women lifting soup cans, to show how exercise can conveniently be done at home? I thought that was my future.
Despite child-associated busyness, many parents do find the time to exercise. There is evidence of this phenomenon on Youtube, where vloggers demonstrate doing pushups with their child sitting on their back for an added challenge. Crossfit moms compete, some with ten percent body fat. Some take their toddlers to the gym, so they can start learning the moves.
But I’m paying attention to the shape my body is in, after unwittingly putting on ten pounds. This excess weight crept onto the scene when I stopped breastfeeding. Now, I am taking simple steps to reverse the flabby trend. And I’m finding exercising as a parent is not just for the superhuman.
Exercising with an 18 month old can be easy. The other day, we had some spring rain, and then, we had puddles. Since Wes doesn’t see puddles often, he was completely enthralled by them. Since my husband wasn’t home to protest, I let the baby splash in cold, dirty puddles on the concrete patio in our backyard. He was soon covered in puddle water, head to toe. Racing back and forth across the patio, he visited one puddle, then the next. He located the muddiest puddle, under our awning. After splashing there, he sported muddy splotches.
I ran back and forth through the yard, threatening to tickle him. He found this hilarious. Any time mom runs around is very funny. I leapfrogged, squatting and leaping toward him. He giggled with disbelief. I did it again and again, craving his giggles. A few leaps later, my legs were spent. A couple days later, getting out of a chair, I felt muscle soreness. Not remembering, I wondered, “Why am I sore?” It was the accidental workout with Wesley.
to canvas the neighborhood and listen to podcasts. This ritual calms my toddler down, as he tends toward hyper and screechy as bedtime approaches. We check out the neighbors’ yards and their path lighting. One of Wes’ favorite spots has beautiful star-shaped lights hanging from the trees. Across the street, there are year-round Christmas lights wrapped around a tree trunk, and small trees that resemble lollipops. He loves them all.
Sometimes, I accelerate to a run. I let the jogging stroller cruise down the side of a wide, empty street, and run ahead, doing butt-kicks. This is a drill we used to do at every track practice in high school, to improve our running form. My baby finds butt-kicks hilarious. It takes about ten of these to make my legs tired. Then I do another set, fueled by his laughter. For variety, I can run circles around him, or run ahead, turn, and pounce, zazzing his sides. Between the endorphin rush of exercising and the baby giggles, these make for the best bonding moments.
These silly moves expend pent-up energy, and will teach my boy that it’s important for everyone to move their body every day. The moments of play together not only help me get fitter, but they help keep me present, so I can capture and enjoy the joyful moments of parenting.
How do you like to move with your kids?
The path can be riddled with failures, even if you're doing it right. In this recording, I share some of my gaffes with you.