I’m a mom of four young kids, so there are very few minutes to myself in the day.  Yet I’m told I’m supposed to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Great! I’d love to! But first I have to wipe my two-year-old’s bottom, wash hands, cut up apples, yell at the kids to pick up laundry, grab water bottles, “Did you grab your bathing suits?!”, put on my on own clothes (always important and usually the last to get done), brush my teeth, “Did you brush your teeth?!”, grab my purse, check to see if I have money, go to the bathroom, clean up the sink, shoes, “Put on your shoes!!”, sunscreen–we’ll put it on there, get in the car, forgot my keys, forgot my phone, forgot to feed the dogs, lock the door, let’s go!

OK, so now I have four somewhat-dressed kids, we’re in the car, it’s already hot by the time we get out of the house, and we’re going to exercise.  But did I mention I have four kids?  So, we go to the park.

I should mention I was an athlete in a highly-ranked Division I volleyball program (Go Irish!). But I’m old now, a little saggier. A little rounder. I know what it means to be in really good shape. One year after college, I started having heart problems. My heart would start racing while just lying in bed.  I would lose my breath doing the simplest things.  My heart was racing all the time. I could feel my heart skip a beat every once-in-a-while so I knew there was a problem. I went to the heart hospital. They were convinced something was wrong because of my horrific descriptions. They put me through all sorts of tests.  Took a couples stress tests, told them every bit of my history and my family’s history.  I think the final quote was, “Uh, you are just really out of shape. You need to, I don’t know, exercise a little.”  Huh?!  (I really wanted to say something else but I was too embarrassed already — I didn’t need to make the situation worse).

So, here I am 10 years later with that still stinging in my ears, but now I’m even more removed and my body is more….different.  We go to the park. This is what I do: I play with my kids.  Way easier said than done, let me tell you.  I’m sure you’re thinking “Duh, I play with my kids all the time.”  OK.  But do you really play with them and try to keep up with them?  Honestly, I have given up even trying to keep up with them. I just try to stay active and chase them half the distance, do my little shake move to coax them back to me, and then run the other way, both out of fear and blind hope that they’ll still turn around and follow me. I play Boogie Man from under the slide. I push them on the swings.  More than push them – I push them hard, do under-dogs, and chase them back and forth.  Bottom line, I’m exhausted by the end and totally drenched. I certainly don’t look as good as the moms who sit on the side and talk on their cell phones, but I took maybe my only opportunity all day to get some exercise and also bond with my kids.

Like I said, easier said than done. I had a mom once tell me how great it is that I get out there with my kids and really dig in the dirt with them and act like a kid.  I wanted to say, “Lady, don’t you think I’d much rather sit back in silence and read that trashy magazine you have so I can escape this crazy life for a while!  I don’t do this because I like it! I do this because I already spend 23.5 hours a day devoted to other people–I might as well do something for myself!”

I, of course, did not say that.  I laughed, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,’ smiled, turned around and rolled my eyes.  Off to throw my kid in the air for my arm lifts for the day.


Lindsay Rosenthal is the owner of 1379 Sports, a family sports shop. Check out her site here.

Austin moms, get $20 for $40 worth of back-to-school gear at 1379 Sports with Plum District’s deal here!