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Single Motherhood and Staying In Shape

Ouch. My arms, legs, butt and back kill. You guessed it—I’ve been working out at the gym. After a summer and Fall of swimming, pushing JD on hilly 2-mile power walks, running around the track and chasing after him at the park, this cold weather obviously put a damper on my FREE, outdoors workout that conveniently included JD. As a single mom it’s hard to carve out time to workout or do something purely for me.

It’s not healthy for me not to exercise. With a history of depression and anxiety (that I wrote candidly about in my memoir Rattled!) I need to move and sweat and get my endorphins firing. I used to take antidepressants, but now I’m all about vitamins, a balanced diet and exercise.

Luckily, there’s a great gym minutes from my condo. Well, there’s also a FREE gym at my condo, but I can’t use it because I don’t have someone to watch JD for an hour or two when I want to workout. And I can’t ask my babysitters to come for just an hour, because it’s not worth it to them. Besides, sometimes, I just want to go and not have to deal with finding a sitter.

The gym I joined is $50/month and $1/hr for the childcare room. Awesome. Now, of course, I didn’t just join the gym and I probably would have if it weren’t for my little guy, JD. But, let’s be honest, I needed to scope out the childcare room, meet the babysitter and make sure JD was OK with this new environment. I called ahead and explained all of this and the manager was great, offering me a FREE week pass to workout and FREE childcare for that week. When we arrived we headed straight to the childcare room and before I could say, “Look at this cool room,” to JD, he screamed, “It’s McQueen!” and pointed to the wall. “It’s Dora, it’s Donald Duck, it’s Thomas!” The spacious room’s walls were stamped with all of JD’s fave characters. Ms. *Lily came over and introduced herself to me, then got down to JD’s level and welcomed him, by complimenting his, you guessed it, McQueen long-sleeve T-Shirt. I surveyed the room and it was spotless. There was a little table and chairs, a kitchen center, blocks, crayons, coloring books, puzzles, a cool ramp toy and cars. At the moment, Christmas music was playing, but there was also a big TV on the wall and a fun selection of movies including some of JD’s faves: Cars, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Finding Nemo. There was a bathroom in the room and it had a little toilet and sink, just like JD’s pre-school has. Ms. *Lily explained that the room is cleaned nightly and that all of the plastic toys are washed with bleach and water. Awesome! I mean, it is cold and flu season. The room is locked and parents need to be buzzed in. There is a sign in-and-out sheet. Of course all of this sold me, but really, I sealed the deal and slipped out to exercise when I saw JD playing in the kitchen with a little girl. He looked up for a second when I said, “Bye.”

Out on the floor, I breathed a sigh of relief, hopped on the treadmill and found my stride. It felt so good to exercise, knowing JD was also having fun and well looked after. After 20 minutes on the treadmill, I hit the elliptical for another 20. I was sweating and feeling pushed and energized. I love this feeling! I worked on my legs for a half-hour using the equipment (I also love to do Plies at home) before I picked JD up (so we could hit story time at the library).

I looked through the glass window before ringing the bell. He was sitting at the table with a little boy coloring in a Christmas coloring book and talking about something. When I walked in, I heard him say, “I like pizza so much!” LOL.

I’m still in my trial week, but I am definitely committing to the gym. Not only do I love the facility and feel comfortable with the childcare, but there’s another HUGE perk. On Sundays, the heated pool is open to family (and there's even water toys!) That means, when it’s freezing and we need to get out of the house, JD and I can go swimming. I can even take my niece Juliette along!

I couldn’t wait to call my friend, Nic, and tell her I joined a gym (we used to exercise together when I lived in NYC). Her first question: “Were there any cute guys there?”

"Yes. Oh, yes," I said. Seriously, so many.

Then she said something else.

"I'm proud of you for doing something you."

Do you belong to a gym? Is there childcare? How do you keep in shape? Does exercising lift your mood? When was the last time you did something for you (because face it, us moms, are all about our kids). Here are 6 Fun Ways to Sneak in Exercise.

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