I love exercising, I love teaching Group Fitness, and I love getting a break from Motherhood on a regular basis. Thus, the YMCA has become part of our lifestyle. Most weekday mornings, the kids and I go to the Y for 2 hours. Two glorious hours. The kids go to the Child Watch, and I go to the treadmill or teach a class. Because sometimes running 5 miles is easier than staying home with 4 kids. And so today, as I exercised at the local Y, I felt compelled to confess my love of the Y to the world. Well, at least to those who read my blog 🙂 So here it goes:
1. Warm atmosphere. No meat-heads, no half-naked people, no posing in the mirror. Just a whole lot of grandmothers and grandfathers and moms who look like me-struggling to herd the kids into the gym before they eat gum off the street. True story. I’m pretty sure we burn more calories just getting to the Y than actually working out.
2. Child Watch. CANNOT SAY ENOUGH. These angels in Y t-shirts watch my children for 2 glorious hours. And not just watch them, but engage them, play with them, love them. They become part of our family and I’m eternally grateful for their service. (Special shout out to Miss Beth…the kids miss you!)
3. Did I mention TWO HOURS? It’s a break from the kids. It’s a break from the housework. It’s a break from myself.
4. I work out to zone out. Exercising gives my brain a break. It’s kinda hard to think about anything other than ‘how many more miles???’
5. Mental preparation for the rest of the day. After I work out, I often hide out in the locker room for a few minutes to pray and practice mindfulness techniques. It gets me ready for the rest of my day. It’s similar to the locker room huddle before the football team hits the field. Except instead of cheering crowds, I get poopy diapers and pre-nap meltdowns.
6. It’s a great place to have lunch. Throw some yogurts in your bag and tell the kids that after they let Mommy work out, we’ll all sit together and have a picnic in the lobby. They interact with tons of people of all ages, and there’s no kitchen to clean.
7. There are Y’s all across America. Which comes in especially handy when on an open-ended road trip with your 4 children.
Here’s some fun facts about my life with the YMCA:
I once passed out in the lobby. In a bathing suit. 7-months pregnant (I thought the baby was sitting wrong and that swimming would help. Turns out I had kidney stones. Go figure.)
I leaked breast milk on the stretching mats while doing push-ups. I was mortified and quickly exited without wiping it up. Dear Traumatized-By-Unknown-Fluid-On-Mat, I’m sorry about that.
Most days, the kids’ lunch consists of a soft Philly pretzel sold in the lobby and an apple. Best $1.50 spent all day.
I LOVE sitting in the sauna with the elderly women. They ooh and aah over my “taut, wrinkle-free skin” and ask if I’m even old enough to have children. When I’m pregnant, they often say they didn’t even notice. And when I’m not, they point out how ‘fit’ I am. Way to make a tired mom feel good!
I’m the slowest swimmer in the pool. One day I was trying to keep up with this elderly man. I couldn’t. Later, he got out and grabbed his walker.
Every day as we leave the Y, I thank the children for offering the gift of letting Mommy work out and have some alone time. They puff up their chests and give a hearty “Aw, you’re welcome”.