I used to feel trapped by parenting. My two kids were wrapped around my ankles 24/7, like a double-headed ball and chain. They put a serious cramp in my fitness routine. In the good old days, I used to jog. I would go out on my lunch hour or right after work, before I threw dinner in the microwave, as carefree as a vagabond.
When I switched careers to parenting, things became complicated. There were no breaks, and the shifts were twenty years long. How was I supposed to maintain my mental and physical machinery with no scheduled outages for upkeep? I tried to just suck it up, but I couldn’t. The kids drove me crazy with their late-night wake-ups and constant demands to have food shoved into one end of them and wiped off the other.
I hardly recognized the nuclear wasteland that had once been my body and brain. Something had to give. But that something needed to be magical; it needed to be affordable on my salary of $0 per annum, and require no more than the 0 minutes per week that I had available for me-time. That ruled out joining a gym, getting a personal trainer, and burning any calories. You know how they say that necessity is the mother of invention? There is a lesser-known corollary that states that a mother’s desperation can turn her world upside-down. In a good way, if she takes aim.
I made up my mind to get moving during the day, or die trying. I started taking my oldest to preschool in the jogging stroller. I saved my shower until her baby sister and I were back home, and she went down for a nap. This small change paid off with a triple win: our hellish “get out the door” routine got simpler, my morning dread got smaller, and my whole week felt 80 lbs lighter, thanks to those regular endorphin boosts.
I know that when things are running at the speed of family, it feels like there is no room to breathe. I promise you, there are nooks and crannies in your life that can be transformed into healthy release.