By Ambrosia Brody of Random Aspects of (my) Life
Working out has always been my go-to stress reliever, but it was not until I had my eldest daughter that my preference to hit the concrete for a five-mile run changed to heading to the gym. Why pay a membership fee when you can work out for free? Um, maybe because the gym, I’ve come to discover, is a mom’s safe place.
Here are 6 reasons why parents really go to the gym:
1. Workout Gear: Most of the time I try to switch out workout pants for jeans to spice things up, but the comfortable, shape shifting, gut-hiding pair usually wins, which makes it easy to go straight from a Target run to the gym. No change necessary. Sweat pants, booty shorts, yoga pants and workout pants are all welcome here, along with ripped and stained shirts. I’m in!
2. Ponytails: Has my hair been in a bun all day, or did I just pull it all together after a long day at work? Everyone’s hair is in a top knot, pony tail or under some sort of hat at the gym. No one has to know your hair reeks of baby spit up and hasn’t been washed for two days.
3. Reality TV: Televisions are everywhere in the gym, which makes it easy to talk the front desk attendant (the holder of the remote) into switching to your favorite show. Watching reality shows at home, uninterrupted and without feeling guilty that you are somehow melting your child’s intellect by forcing her to listen to housewives fight and call each other bitches, is never going to happen. I used to think my toddler wasn’t paying attention to these shows, but that changed when she told me she could twerk. Now I head to the gym where I’ve learned I can spend an hour on a cardio machine as I rot my brain on reality TV.
4. Babysitting: Kids have been known to put on a show for strangers. My daughter is super polite and pretty adorable around those she doesn’t know too well. Once her audience is gone, however, it’s like a switch has been flipped and she’s back to the terrible two alter ego that is known for throwing her shoes across a room and yelling “help” in a crowded store. If my toddler is acting up or I need a break, we head to the gym.
5. Restrooms: Half the time I don’t have to go; I just sit on a locker room bench and breathe. I love knowing that if I need to use the restroom, I can do so. In fact, I have, like, six stalls to choose from, and I don’t have to wait for the stall with the diaper changing station. It’s comforting to know that if I need to go, I can, and I can take my time.
6. Exercise: At the gym you can take out your frustrations and aggression on a punching bag, on the treadmill, or on the stair master. Walking, running, jogging or dancing in a 60-minute Zumba class burns the right amount of calories to not make you feel guilty when you scarf down your daughter’s macaroni and cheese or drink that second beer while watching Blues Clues later that night.
If only I could have gotten over my gym snobbery much sooner, I would not have to be playing catch up with the latest season of “Modern Family” or “Total Divas.” You can keep your fresh air and free Vitamin D—I’ll take recycled, sweat-scented gym air anytime.
About Ambrosia Brody