When I had Jackson I quickly realized that when it came to fitness and maintaining some semblance of a routine, I had to be flexible. Long gone were the days I could lace up my shoes and hit the trails, rain, cold or sunshine. I could no longer decide on a whim to drive to a local yoga studio to clear my head. Runs required hours of prep from making bottles to refilling the diaper bag, arranging the runs around nap times and often poopy diapers, and then departing with the knowledge that my run might be cut short at any moment. Gym outings required similar preparation and classes were taken knowing at any moment the daycare lady might politely interrupt to inform me I had to collect my son. I had grand ideas about working out at home but those flew out the window once Jackson became mobile and my sun salutations suddenly involved a baby crawling between my arms and over my back. If I wanted to stay active, I had to be willing to go with the flow, even if it wasn’t exactly the flow I wanted to be riding.
When Andrew arrived I totally understood how easy it would be to throw in the towel and submit to motherhood, hang up my running shoes for good and accept defeat. Running required a double running stroller that weighed a whopping 20lbs before you put the actual children into it. Children who wouldn’t silently nap while the miles ticked by but would rather throw sippy cups and tennis shoes out the side of the stroller, usually perfectly timed when passing muddy puddles. Children who seemed to hide small weights and bricks under their tiny onesies. Children who took turns whining, crying and asking for the 8 millionth time “mama, what’s that?!” while you struggled to breathe pushing your 3 ring circus up a never ending hill.
Staying active, especially running, is part of who I am. It’s my stress reliever, my therapy, my escape from the endless demands, dirty diapers and piles of dishes. Running makes me feel alive and free, energized and reset to come home and take on the endless responsibilities that come with being a mom. Some days I crave a run but it’s raining and Bryan took the car and there’s no one to watch the kids. Sometimes my hips are tight and I’d love the feeling of a good deep stretch that only yoga can bring. Some days I need a good sweat that comes from a touch Bootcamp class. And often times there’s one or a million different reasons I can’t do what I’d like to do. And that’s when I learned the key for me is flexibility.
This week there were threats of ice and snow. Instead of risking danger by packing the kids in the car to drive to work, we stayed home. I found some free barre classes on YouTube and struggled through 30 long minutes while Jackson watched “Pommous” the train and Andrew used me as a handrail to help him stand. One day I needed to get in 3-4 miles at the gym to stay in line with training for the cherry blossom 10 miler but the internet was out at the gym and the thought of mentally struggling through a run with no distraction sounded like literal hell on earth so I took a 45 minute spin class instead.
Which turned out to be an excellent decision as we were all rewarded with free wine.
And some days are filled with endless tantrums and to do lists a mile long, that call for an extra large glass of wine at the end of the night. And those days, when no fitness takes place, are OK too. Embracing a rest day (or three) isn’t bad either!
Life is always going to fly by with days that are packed with too long to do lists and weekends that are a week too short, but if something is important to you, you’ll find time. There’s always going to be a reason not to, a reason you can’t. Instead, focus on the reason you should. Sometimes it’s as simple as you want to. And that, my friends, is reason enough.