Thursday, May 12, 2011

Exercising In Skinny Jeans

So here’s the honest truth: I really don’t like to exercise.  I never have and I kinda doubt I ever will.  I actually loathe exercise.  (However, if hell freezes over and I start to love exercise, I’ll be happy.  I guess.)  

You know how there are those lithe chicks who throw their hair up into a ponytail, put on exercise pants/capris (of course, with room to spare because they don’t come smaller than size zero) and workout for an hour (oh—just a little workout!) with hardly breaking a sweat?  Then, they grab coffee with a friend while still wearing their workout clothes, but looking darn cute and still freshly coifed, and run to the grocery store before heading home.  And, of course, they’re cheerful and perky the whole time.

Yeah, that’s so not me.

I sweat like a pig.  Or a teenage boy playing baseball.  (Not that there’s much difference.)  I don’t make workout clothes look cute.*  Exercise does not make me cheerful and perky.  I throw my hair up into a ponytail and my frizz-prone hair looks like I was caught in a down pour…and that’s just after the exercise warm ups.  I sweat in places where I didn’t know sweat glands existed.  And, it’s obvious sweating.  Roll-down-my-face-sweating.  Not “glowing” or “glistening” or any other cutesy word.  It’s full out, man-sized sweating.  It’s gross.  
They say that exercise should release some kind of hormone or chemical that makes you feel great!  I don’t think I was born with that hormone/chemical.  
I’m tired, crabby and hungry when I’m done exercising.  (* When my middle teenaged child saw me in my new sausage casing workout capris, he asked, “Holy cow, Mom! Did you, like, get skinny jeans?!?!”)

While I may not feel or look (or smell) good after I exercise, I AM proud of myself for actually doing it.  Exercise is good for my health, regardless of how I feel about it.  If I waited until I was “in the mood” to exercise, I’d never do it.  Kinda like I have NEVER ONCE craved a salad or peas or carrots.  If I waited until I was “in the mood” for veggies, they’d never pass these lips.  (Although, in full disclosure, I do not and will not eat peas.  I have my personal limits.)

So although I don’t like it, I AM exercising.  And having accountability really helps.  My friend Michelle and I got on this kick together as we are training for walking 60 miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk For A Cure.  (  In Chicago.  In August.  (Did I mention I don’t like to exercise?  Or sweat?  Yeah.)  Michelle is motivated and doing far more than and better than me.  But, having her accountability and companionship has been motivating me to do more.  She and I have some striking similarities.  We both sweat A LOT.  We don’t love and adore exercise.  (Sometimes, on occasion, we even tend to whine about it.  Occasionally and sometimes.)  And, we’re not lithe ladies.  (yet)

The quote, “A burden shared is a burden halved” and the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (“Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up”) are so true!  A five-mile walk on my treadmill does not seem to fly-by as does a five-mile walk with Michelle.  By doing a disliked discipline together, we are providing encouragement and help to each other.  When I’m on the treadmill because the weather is too bad to be outside, the miles are easier to endure if I can distract myself from watching the minutes go by.  I started with listening to music and talk radio, but found that my eyes needed to be OFF the mile and calorie counters.  (Oh yay—all that work for burning off the 14 M&M’s.)  Reading has proven to be a great distraction while on the treadmill.  It almost makes me really want to hop on that conveyer belt going no-where just to read a few more chapters!  Yes, it is pathetic to dangle that carrot in front of myself – but hey, it works!  Pathetic or not, I need to use whatever is going to work

So what’s your dreaded thing that needs to get done?  If you seek out accountability from someone who can share the burden, it WILL be easier to get going and stay going!  Or, figure out what you can do to entice yourself—dangle a carrot for yourself!  There are very creative solutions out there!

And if you know someone who is working on something fairly dreadful and frustrating (a diet, exercising, job searching…heck, parenting can be included), give them some encouragement to spur them on!  You may not be able to physically walk five miles alongside someone, but a few positive, uplifting words can be just as effective.

Now to squeeze back into my “skinny jeans” because I have a book to finish!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Mother's Day! (Now Leave Me Alone)

Dear Children (and their father),

I know you all love me, as you frequently tell me and write so sweetly in the handmade mother’s day cards that I receive each year.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate your efforts…I really do!  It’s just that I have a new idea for our celebration this year and I thought I’d throw it past you to see what you all think.

You know how every Mother’s Day before church, you each tell me “Happy Mother’s Day!” somewhere in-between my badgering one of you to PLEASE go find some clean socks and put them on and I ask the other to stop shoveling handfuls of Apple Jacks into your mouth while standing in front of the cabinet (would it kill ya to use a bowl?), while I continually nag the third slowpoke to brush your hair so no one mistakes you for someone in need of a homeless shelter?  Yeah, THAT Mother’s Day morning.  Not that any of us can differentiate the Mother’s Days in my life.  Well, except that many years ago, my mornings revolved around changing diapers and giving bottles and sippie cups and getting you all dressed in some semi-respectable form and hoping we could be out the door for church before someone needed another round of diapers/bottles/sippie cups/clothes.  I guess somewhere in there, I was supposed to be getting dressed and eating breakfast and putting on make up.  But, I eventually got used to eating a cheese stick en route to church and having my “morning coffee” sometime after I fed everyone lunch and got the youngest down for naptime.

Where was I??  Oh yes!  My new idea!

Now perhaps it’s just that I’m feeling worn down like old carpeting that spurred me on to my brilliant plan.  Or it’s that I finally realized that with the exception of being handed your beautiful cards and sometimes going out to lunch, Mother’s Day was kinda feeling like most any other day.  Although, when you were all younger, I think it was MORE work for me (and you too, dear) to take the three of you out to eat.  You were always wonderful little eater-outers, but I still schlepped the loaded-diaper kiddo to the grimy, tray-in-the-wall changing station thingie, helped everyone pick out the perfect menu item that I knew you’d each love AND eat, cut everyone’s food, listened to the same knock-knock joke at least three times (since you each needed to give it a shot) and eventually ate a few bites of my (then cold) lunch, washed down with my luke-warm coffee.  Now that you’re all growing up so fast and have far more interesting/wonderful/funny friends than I can ever hope to be, it’s become a juggling act of schedules (and I play master-juggler) to make sure I see each of you on Mother’s Day.  Although I DO see you quite well from the metal bleachers as both of you boys usually have baseball tournaments on Mother’s Day weekend.  So, as I’m working fast and furiously on my farmer’s tan and numb butt, you’re right; I DO see you.  At the plate.  On the pitcher’s mound.  At first base.  At short stop.  That is, I see you boys when I’m not off looking to keep an eye on you, the baseball bored sister.  Or, accompanying you to the pervert-attracting bathrooms at the baseball field.  (At least I’m sure they are, based on a NightLine episode I saw once.)

Remember that Mother’s Day a few years ago when the weather was gross and I didn’t feel all that great?  And, I stayed in bed ALL DAY and watched TV and ate all my meals in bed and in front of the TV?  And, I shut the door so you all thought I was deathly ill, but remained conscience enough to watch really old movies (like“Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club”) on TV?  And it was WONDERFUL?!?!  Remember that?  It gave birth to my ingenious idea!

My amazing idea:

Could you all please leave me alone on Mother’s Day?

Like, after church, you guys all go do whatever you want to….but don’t include me.  Really, truly, honestly, I am NOT offended.  Maybe Dad can take you to a new movie, or on a really LONG walk, or out to lunch and dinner….or do all these ideas!  I wish you all could fully understand the sheer joy I would have by being given a few solid hours ALONE.  IN.  MY.  OWN.  HOME.  It’s better than a day at the spa!!!  I would crank my music (which, yes, you've all assured me is horrible, talentless noise compared to the gems of songs you guys love), sing as loud as I wanted to, eat popcorn for lunch, sit and stare at a wall for a bit (because I CAN) and even curl up with a good book.  And, you wouldn't KNOW I was sitting down with a good book, so none of you would HAVE to need me at that exact moment with some variety of a crisis.  Brilliant, huh?  I might even take myself to a coffee shop and instead of grabbing my coffee and leaving, I may become a sit-there-with-a-book woman.  AND, I may get a refill on my coffee if the book is especially captivating.  It’s almost downright deliciously scandalous.

Kids, I KNOW you’ll have fun with Dad.  And Sweetie, the kids really do crave more quality time with you considering all the long hours you put in.  Truly, we’re all getting the best of both worlds.  See!  I’m a great mom….still thinking of what’s best for all of you, even on Mother’s Day! :)  So, whaddya think?  Genius, huh?

Love you all a bunch and I hope you have an amazing time on your special day out together.


P.S.  And to anyone else who may find this letter and think, “This awful mother needs to appreciate what Mother’s Day means and be with her family all day!  Family is precious and this mother won’t know what she’s missing until one day it’s gone!”  Yes, I agree.  My family is amazingly precious and I love them dearly.  And, I’ve got 364 other days of the year to marinate in the constant preciousness of the job called “motherhood.”