I like to think of myself as an athletic person. But in all honesty, I haven’t exercised regularly for the past three years.
First, I was pregnant with Arthur and navigating body changes, school, work, and the new responsibilities of marriage. Then, Arthur was born and I wanted to exercise, but was discouraged by my jiggly, loose, postpartum body–too discouraged, unfortunately, to be successful. While pregnant with Lucy, I was a committed walker and dabbled in yoga occasionally. I’ve never completely given up on exercise, but I felt like I hadn’t hit my groove yet.
Well, at least until this past week. Until now, I thought the problem was that I wasn’t planning well enough. I wasn’t getting up early enough or committing hard enough. But I had an epiphany.
Two days ago, I had planned to wake up early and run before Devon left for school. But that night had been horrendous. (teething! toddler beds! potty training!). There was no way I was going to wake up at 6:30am to exercise. No. Way. So Devon left for school and our day began. But I still wanted to run.
So, when it turned out that Arthur wasn’t going to take a nap, I loaded him and Lucy in our jogger/bike trailer (Thanks Stacey!) and we left. I ran for about a mile and then let Arthur out to walk and explore, then I put him back in and jogged some more. And I loved every minute of it. I didn’t feel like I was forcing myself to go. I wasn’t inconveniencing anyone. I didn’t feel guilt or shame at being out-of-shape Mostly it was just joy. and babies.
What I learned is that like everything else in the life of a parent, exercise is most successful when it is flexible. By not setting time limits or giving myself ultimatums, I can be flexible enough to find something that works for me and my kids, no matter how the day (or night) has gone. I am hopeful that I can keep exercise a priority, no matter what form it takes.