Exercising after having children is like trying to meditate in the middle of Times Square.
It’s loud, chaotic and you’re not quite sure what the crazy peanut gallery is going to come up with next.
Case in point: today, I decided to exercise at home due to schedule constraints.
I should really know better. Really. My optimism exceeds reality at times.
I use a ballet bar and exercise video to get the endorphins flowing. And I try to get them flowing before my sons stem said flow.
Allow me to explain.
When there is a dishwasher to be emptied, beds to be made or trash to be taken out, I cannot find the two as-of-yet-not-supersized boys in my house. It’s as if our dwelling has suddenly expanded to the size of Texas. My voice calling their names literally echoes.
However, when I decide to grab a bit of me time, we’re suddenly talking studio apartment, crowded elevator, broom closet. They’re on me like white on rice.
First, we go through a round of, “That’s not hard. Anyone could do that.” When I invite them to join me in holding both legs in the air, as well as my torso, and doing sit-ups in which no part of my back ever touches the ground, I smile sweetly. And am vindicated, as 10 reps in, they’re collapsing. What they do not understand is my “sweet” smile is truly a grimace of pain and I am silently cursing myself for trading rock-hard abs for these mutant children. (Not really. I love them dearly. My kids that is. More than said abs. But, on a bad day . . . .)
Next, they decide to critique my form as if I’m not there.
“Why do you think she groans like that?” asks my youngest of my oldest.
“Because she’s old,” my eldest states. I try to swat him but that’s hard to do when you have your left leg hoisted onto the bar and are trying to touch your nose to your knee. Brings a whole new meaning to multitasking. I am hoping I resemble Swan Lake more than swan awkwardly trying to break out of its egg and be born.
I decide to join in their fun. As the perky video instructor, Tanya, tells me my 200th squat is a “party” for my thighs, I mock her. Mercilessly. “Oh yes. Party on. Where are the streamers, the cupcakes, the band? This is the worst party I’ve ever attended,” I joke. My littlest erupts into giggles.
At last, they tire of commentating and decide a Nerf gun war is in order. As the “bullets” fly over my head, I hear Tanya coaxing me to breathe into the silence. To let all stress drip from my body metaphorically.
“You are such a jerk!” flies above my head. “Why’d you hit me there?”
Slap, smack. The sounds of less than metaphysical brother-to-brother combat interrupt my metaphorical dripping.
And then our large black Labrador retriever gives me a big, wet kiss on the cheek.
Dripping? Yes. Just not so metaphorically.
The treadmill at the health club beckons . . . and in a perverse way, I’m actually looking forward to it.