Get Pumped

I go to the gym every chance I can get. Please don’t hate me.

It’s not so I can fit into these skintight pants (after all, my skintight pants are not designed to be skintight — it’s just that I love eating and hate the next size up!) or impress people with my big guns. It’s so that I can be clean and sane.

“I don’t know how you find time to go to the gym with three kids,” other moms often tell me. Are you kidding me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! How the heck else am I supposed to get a shower?

Now for people without kids, I suppose the 15 minutes of dressing and packing for the gym might be a hassle. It might be inconvenient to spend an hour working out and follow that up with a shower in a crowded, sometimes dirty locker room. But consider how inconvenient, crowded and dirty your shower would be with three kids in it. Yeah.

Don’t get me wrong; there is a place for screaming and pooping in the shower. It’s called Labor and Delivery. It should not be one’s daily ritual. Imagine, fellow moms, applying mascara and blow-drying your hair undisturbed by the tugging, whining and brazen lipstick banditry of your little ones. Imagine, if you will, an hour of time in which you are moving your body without 35-pound barnacles encumbering your limbs, in which you are free to wander in thought without interruptions of “Make Jamesy stop lookin’ at me!” or “I’m so bored, Mommy,” or “Mommy, can we get Timbits?” (Timbits are my great weakness because they are cheap and delicious, and this question is always launched after a stressful day but before I have eaten. My children are very crafty.)

Once we’ve gotten the kids packed up and driven to the gym and dropped off in the playroom, that 90 minutes of workout and shower is an oasis in a day filled with chaos and noise. Treadmill time isn’t just exercise for my body; it’s a chance for my mind to put aside, for a few moments, the list of reasons (kept at the ready constantly) that we are not stopping for Timbits or going to EnergyPlex today. For that half-hour, I can focus on exactly how we’re going to get through the rest of the day on time and with all the equipment we need.

Weights are a time to problem-solve. Whether it’s what to do for Halloween costumes or how to get my hands on a few thou to fly to my brother’s wedding, a little pec flying and leg pressing usually helps me push through life’s little problems. (Also, being deep in thought helps me avoid seeing my back fat and bat wings in the omnipresent mirrors.)

Using my awesome mommy powers (you know, the same ones that allow me to see what my mischievous daughter is doing from two flights down, and to carry four times my body weight in kid stuff at any given time), I have managed to distill all my hygiene and beauty needs into a short half-hour. I shampoo on odd days and shave on even days, and I have to say that I don’t look awful for someone who has 15 minutes to apply makeup, blowdry and style her hair. And that is 15 minutes that you can bet I wouldn’t be getting if I showered at home. (At least not without lipstick on the walls and a baby stuck in the toilet.)

Yeah, the gym keeps me in good shape considering my three fairly-recently-born children and my amazing ability to make chips and Timbits vanish in mere seconds. I will tell you that I don’t mind seeing my triceps and obliques. But will you ever see me attending a weight-loss seminar at the Lulu store with the Stepford spinners? Probably not. “Eating clean” is all fine and well, but my fitness regimen is driven more by actually being clean.

And now that I’ve answered the question of why I go to the gym and however do I find time for it (HA!), I have a few questions for the other moms:

1.) How do you NOT have time for a kid-free shower?

2.) Do you get a shower? How do you get a shower? Why can’t I get a shower without driving 20 minutes to my gym??!

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