The other day I sucked it up and went to the gym to exercise. But it wasn't the actual exercise part that required me sucking it up. It was getting out of our rut. Aka, the house.

I got Carter geared with snacks, juice, spare diapers, a clean face and tied shoes and we got out of the house - just me and him - to do something that wasn't focused on child-based entertainment for once. We usually hit up a place for him to play every so often, but even the play places start getting mundane for me.

My plan was to drop him at the gym's nursery to give us a few minutes of breathing room away from each other. I couldn't believe I was leaving him wrapped in the arms of a stranger (who knew nothing about him but his name and age) and having to put on a this is easy-peasy face as I kissed him byebye. He just stared at me blankly, as if his inner dialogue were saying in the most intellectual tone, So, Mom, it's come to this? He didn't cry, and that was all I had to go on.

I turned the corner and walked blindly around the gym, feeling instantly light without my toddler. I knew I had to rush to squeeze in some kind of exercise so I could get back to my little ball and chain. Nothing new, really. I rush to use the bathroom for him, rush to make food for him, rush to give him the things he points at, rush to distract him when he wants something he can't have. Everything is urgent, or else Carter freaks out.

I chose an empty treadmill in the corner where nobody could stare at me and pecked at the buttons. I started walking, then I amped up into a run. It didn't matter that I'd forgotten my water, my headphones and that I probably should have worn shorts instead of pants, because my brain started shifting into me mode.

I started remembering how good it felt to be alone, drowned in all these endorphins. My mind greeted the vast silence and spread itself out into listlessness. My eyes wandered, and noticed a tan girl in a tank top and shorts running in front of me. I want to be tan. I used to be tan. Hmph, I should get tan again. Why not have goals? Why not keep coming to the gym so I can be proud of myself? Why not keep going on this treadmill until I hit 2 miles? I started staring at the beeping treadmill and let go of the million worries I had revolving around Carter.

So what if he snacks all day and has never once eaten an actual meal?
So what if his bedtime is a little lot later than it should be?
So what if he leaves trails of crumbs all over the house?
So what if he doesn't care enough to remember that the piggie says oink oink?

I hit two miles and went to lift some weights.

So what if I'm forced to keep handing him cookies because I can't stand how cute he looks when he asks for one?
So what if my measuring cups take a swim in the toilet?
So what if he pulls containers out of the trash so he can play with their lids?
So what if he has a fit sitting in a shopping cart for more than 10 minutes?
So what if he tells me No! half the times I ask for kisses?

Daily life can't be as difficult as I make it out to be. The world won't end if I leave my baby in someone else's care. The messy house probably isn't bothering anyone else but me. Just because I'm ruled by the little King of Toddlerdom doesn't mean I can't fit in my own goals and activities anymore. I've spent the past year tied to an infant, but I totally forgot that I should be evolving with him. He walks now, so I should too. It's not that I want to change how I care for him, but I'm ready to zoom the camera out a little so I can be in the picture, too.

Thirty minutes later I went back to claim my Carter. I wish I had a hewashavingsomuchfun victory visual for you. He was laying, motionless on the stranger-girl's lap watching the older kids play and looking exhausted. I waved furiously and grinned at him, and he gave me a tired half-smile.

After that, we went to the store. I plunked a bag of oranges in the cart for him and then trucked over to the cosmetics aisle to stock up on self tanners.

Edit: Matt just read this post, and his first comment was, The measuring cups were in the toilet?! :)


  1. I love this post - good on you. I don't have a child, and can't even imagine the extent of the pressures, but I think that taking some time for yourself can only improve your parenting.

    I also love the way this post was written =) Love your blog!

  2. Wow, all i can say is I needed this post, i also have a toddler, a almost 19 month old. and this blog hit me hard, as i comment I am in tears. So what if we are not "perfect" our child/life is perfect for us. :) thank you. <3

  3. As a wahm with a 3 month old the gym time is the usualy the ONLY time I have out of the house and to myself! Sometimes I feel selfish for leaving Rylin for just that hour and getting into "me mode" but I know that it is so healthy for my body and my sanity! you are so right to put yourself in the picture!

  4. Great post, it feels good to do something for yourself. Harper is going through a super needy phase, I can't leave him for 2 seconds is exhausting!

  5. I think this is so great! When I was home fulltime with Mimi, after 6 months I started to lose myself, I didn't feel like me, I felt like Mimi's mom all damn day. I was getting cooped up, anxious, restless. It's awesome that you give yourself this time guilt free. Keep doing it--and the fact that you can run 2 miles and go lift weights in less than 30 minutes is also super impressive! It takes me 23 minutes just to do the running part!

  6. Men are great at picking up on the important parts aren't they. Sheesh!

  7. great post :) gym day care is the best! lol after bringing Kammy a handful of times, she now gets very excited when we walk into the gym bc she knows she gets to play. good for you for working out...its tough!

  8. @JKL yikes i definitely didn't mean to make it sound like i ran 2 miles, i walked some of it too & only lifted weights for about 2 min :) no way will i ever be as good at running as you jenny!

  9. LOL that was funny to me too about the measuring cups taking a swim..made me laugh..
    Have always loved your blog/vlogs..

  10. This was my favorite post yet. I love to see how new parents "evolve" as their little ones do. As a previous toddler teacher I was lucky enough to witness this often. My favorite part was watching how their goodbyes became shorter as they grew used to the idea that the world didn't fall apart for their child when they left, and how their hellos in the afternoon grew longer as they were so interested in this little person's activites when they weren't around, with the mental energy back to be fully engaged.

  11. Love your sincerity, humor, honesty. "Zoom the camera out a little" is such a great way to put it.. Thank you for this!