April 21, 2014

Making myself (being a working mom who works out)

Quite honestly, I hate exercise. I can admit I like the after effect some days, but often, when I work out at the end of the day, it just makes me feel more exhausted, rather than energized and ready to face the rest of my evening.


That's it, really...there's always a lingering, finger-wagging "But". The alpha conjunction, ever vigilant of the possibilities and ever-ready to point out the other side of the argument.

I'm painfully aware that as I age, it's becoming harder and harder to stay in shape. It's so easy to say I have housework or errands, or papers to grade. The excuses are plentiful. And even when I do all the things I must to motivate myself (pay for a membership to guilt myself, financially, into working out so I'm not wasting my investment...sign myself up for marathons...schedule out my weekly workout in my planner...) I still talk myself out of it.

For now, it's really a day-by-day thing. A daily goal to do "something"...anything really. Walk the dog, run, walk, go to the gym and do weights, yoga...whatever.

And I know I'm not the only one. This whole, working full-time, being a mom, being a wife, and trying to have all my sh** together everyday seriously makes a girl feel inadequate on the best of days. I can usually do ONE thing well in a day. My house can be spotless, but I'm still in my pajamas and my son's played video games all day. I've spent time with my kid, but the house is a mess and there's a giant stack of essays that didn't get graded. My husband is happily satisfied (more on that later in another post, promise), but the kiddo had to go to grandma's and the laundry is piled ceiling-high. I've just run 3 miles and have worked up an admirable sweat and an adrenaline-caused glow, but I'll be going to bed at 8:00 leaving all the housework for another day.

So, yes, I know I'm in good company. In fact, I don't even have it as hard as some moms (especially single, working moms or moms of multiples). And I can admit, that during the summer, when it's just me and the boy, and I have no work-related constraints, I find it just as difficult to motivate myself to work out.

I have this good friend from junior high who's running the Boston Marathon today. I'll be tracking her progress via text today (using a really cool "follow your favorite athlete" app). It's ladies like her that make me feel hard-pressed to complain. She's a teacher, too...so she works really hard, multi-tasking like a fiend all day and fulfilling the demands and needs of hundreds of people (mostly young and rather attention-greedy). She teaches athletic classes after work. She has two kids. She runs at 4 in the morning to fit it in. She goes to church. She doesn't drink. And though I've never been there, I suspect she has a nearly immaculate house.

She's my hero and my nemesis all in one.  And what it comes down to is...every woman has her hurdles to jump, her mountains to climb, her obstacles to overcome. Mine is often self-motivation. I stress easily, criticize myself on a whim, and then find myself tired and irritable, cleaning the house and telling everyone around me to "wait"...including myself.

Life is short. And it's easily to lose one's priorities amidst the ocean of readily available obligations. Some of us have better compasses. Others of us, just have to fight through it on a daily basis, reminding ourselves to be kind to ourselves and just keep going.

So, today (don't know about tomorrow - I'm not setting myself up for failure on this), I'm going to focus on what matters. My family, my friends, my animals, my students, and myself. The living things that care if I forget them, not the inanimate objects and responsibilities that only have a demanding voice because I let them.

P.M. update...

So, I did NOT workout. I came sooooo close, but I caved to my husband's bad mood (I'm terribly easily drawn off course in that way), and instead found myself tidying up the house, nursing a child with a headache, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, and drinking a beer while taking care of the bills (which are almost late). 

And even though I could really get down on myself, I'm trying hard to be forgiving and less critical of everyone, including myself. I got a lot done today...I graded a whole set of 90 papers in between classes and after school, I cleaned off my desk at school, I took care of about 20 student needs (I won't go into specifics), I ran an errand (yes, a WHOLE errand), and picked up my son from after school club. I did a dozen house chores, and now here I am, actually writing.

So I wouldn't call today a total failure. Just not a monumental success.

There's always tomorrow. 

Okay, actually there's no promise of that...today is all that matters and all that I am sure to have. So, if there IS a tomorrow, I'll try again. If not, today could have been worse. So, I guess I'm okay with that. We have our health, we have each other, and that's enough. 

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