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Before Em was born, I was a bonified gym bunny. The gym was my best friend. I was on the treadmill or elliptical machine every morning or evening, I worked out on my office lunch break, and fit in a long walk outside with my hubby whenever possible. I may have gone a little overboard with my fitness regimen, but working out was not just key to my physical well-being; it also served as a huge emotional outlet for me, and kept my inner feng shui in check.
Ever since Emmy was born, the gym has been more like a distant relative then a best-friend. Em was definitely a “high needs” baby, and did not like to be put down during her awake time or sleeping time. She was most at home in her Ergo carrier. While this did help me build my lower back strength and shoulders, it did NOT help me get back on track physically in any other way. I was definitely attachment parenting, and on my few trips to the gym for a group exercise class during the first year of Em’s life, I was racked with guilt and felt like crying even while Zumba dancing to “Party Rock Anthem” (side note: they should really start a “mommy and me” Zumba class for mommies like me, if they haven’t already). I did find an outdoor mommy-baby bootcamp class, which was amazing (and tough), but then the instructor got pregnant and winter arrived (double-whammy!).
This past December, at nearly 14 months old, my daughter started daycare two days a week at the local JCC, which requires all daycare families to also be members of the fitness center. I don’t LOVE the fact that daycare comes with an additional mandatory $70+/month membership fee, but I thought that belonging to a gym that is at the same location as my daughter’s care would be great motivation for me to get my behind in gear at least a few days a week. I fantasized about driving over to the center on my lunch breaks so I could fit in a good 40 minutes of intense exercise, then peeking in the “Busy Bees” room to make sure Em is playing nicely with the other kids, and eating my sandwich on my way back to work. Or alternatively, I would just go to the gym AFTER work, and leave Em in daycare for an extra half hour.
As it turns out, I truly was fantasizing. Emmy’s transition to a daycare setting has not been easy, to say the least. The first two weeks she cried ferociously every time I left her in the morning, and her face was tear-streaked and utterly exhausted at pick-up time. I couldn’t bear the idea of leaving Emmy a minute longer than my work schedule allowed, so the “after-work workout” plan did NOT work out.
And then the onslaught of daycare-inspired sicknesses began. Emmy has had about 87 colds in the last 59 days. My husband has caught about 86 of the 87 colds. I believe Em attended 8 out of the 16 days of daycare she was supposed to attend (and we paid for!) in December and January. The rest of the time she has been cared for by grandma when possible (or C or me when not possible), with me shuttling back and forth from the office on my lunch break to breastfeed Em or take her to a doctor’s appointment. Needless to say, establishing a daily routine that allows time for personal fitness has not been a real possibility.
With Emmy’s seemingly endless congestion, coughing, vomiting and fevers, night times have been no easier or more predictable. Our family “down time” is spent snot-sucking or disinfecting the house, and our idea of a really good time is a night where we are all able to breathe out of our noses.
I have given up on the old fantasy, but am starting to work on a new one. In this fantasy, spring arrives in Albany on February 15th. Emmy’s daycare is able to open their windows to let air circulate, and there is no longer a marathon of viruses being passed back and forth between the children. I am able to go to the gym on the days when Emmy is attending daycare (with a 100% attendance record, of course), and am able to take a nice long jog/walk outside on the other days. I’ll be listening to “Party Rock Anthem” on my Sansa mini, and I won’t be feeling an ounce of guilt.