I've never really worked out. Gyms intimidate the heck out of me. I'm not coordinated, I hate running, I'm not strong... I'm a bit of a nerd. Our brains are our biggest muscles more often than not (haha, yeah, just writing that cracked me up... And yes, I'm aware that the brain isn't actually a muscle). I've had gym memberships in the past but almost never went. I signed up just a couple weeks after having baby #4 though because I knew I was going to experience some catastrophic postpartum blues (I always do) and that I needed to be proactive about fighting it as best as I could. I even signed up to work with a trainer since a) I needed some way to be held accountable for my workouts and b) I have no stinkin idea how to work out. Thankfully, and this is totally God at work, my trainer is a kind, patient woman that doesn't freak me out by being over bearing but still pushes me.
When I'm not working with my trainer, I'm busy doing cardio related stuff. One thing I've come to love about the cardio related workouts is that I don't have to do a lot of thinking during it. Crank up the tunes and go. It also gives me a chance to people watch, something I find quite amusing most of the time. You get a wide variety of people coming to the gym. Older people, middle aged moms, couples, guys with huge muscles that like to stare at themselves in the mirrors... Yeah, those ones make me laugh out loud often. But there's another group that makes me want to scream and chuck my metal water bottle at them. The ones that are skinny and pretty but rarely lift a finger to actually exercise. It's like they're there to show off their "perfect" bodies and socialize. Oh man. Watching them bugs me and not just because I'm blinking stinging sweat out of my eyes. It's not quite jealousy. More like frustration that I'm actually trying to get fit and loose weight and tone and be healthy. Like trying hard. Working my tail off. Sweating and gasping for breath while they stand around and smile and laugh and don't work out. Stinkin annoying skinny people...
I never thought I'd have some kind of semi-profound revelation about parenting at the gym but I came to realize that the same way I feel about these "non-exercisers" is the same way I feel about parents that seem like they have it all together. Like parenting isn't hard work for them and they can do it easily and naturally. I don't know about anyone else but parenting kicks my butt. Much like working out does. It wears me out physically, mentally and emotionally. I'm exhausted at the end of the day. From being a parent. There are some parents though, that are fun and their kids are well behaved and clean and well rounded. It's like they're not having to work at it to keep it all together. I am literally sweating by the time we get to church on Sundays just from running around non stop trying to get everyone fed and dressed and clean. Sometimes I have to shut myself in the pantry and put my hands over my ears (we've entered the oh so delightful "tattling" stage) to stop myself from flipping my lid. The car is a mess, I keep forgetting to get rid of the dead flowers on our front step, and there are 5 baskets of clothes in the laundry room waiting to be folded. My kids can't sit still in their chairs at restaurants and sometimes get stuck in their chairs in such weird positions that I have to get the waitress to help me get them out. My 2 year old feels the need to loudly announce to anyone within 30 feet that she's pooped in her diaper. And all three older kids will rough house in stores while you're trying to shop till one of them smacks their head on the floor and you're dragging them out while people stare. Parenting is tough for me.
Maybe that's just my lot in life though. Some things are going to be harder for me than for other people. Maybe parenting IS easy for some like its easy for some people to be fit or for some women to handle their hormones after pregnancy. But maybe for those same people, they're working hard to overcome something in their own lives. Maybe there's even something they see when they look at me and think, "Man, I wish I could do that as easily!" (I have no idea what that'd be but who knows...)
I hear often that things that you have to work hard for are the things that are most worth having. I'm not sure if that applies to everything for everyone but for me, right now, it makes sense. When I was younger, I hated when my parents made me help with difficult yard work. But when it was all over and we were worn out from all the labor and fresh air, I felt good. Like I acomplished something. And in those moments, I was grateful that my parents made me work and I also felt closer to them. There is a sense of deep satisfaction from working hard at something.
That being said, I'll no longer look at the people at the gym with frustration. I'll just keep on sweating like a crazy person and thank God for giving me a healthy body and a healthy mind, for my wonderful four children, my awesome husband and our beautiful home. All blessings that He so willingly gave me.