After Three Kids in Three Years, Getting Back to the Gym is Going to Be Hard


“I’m going to a really hard exercise class today,” I told my husband as I poured my fourth cup of coffee. “And I’m scared.”

“Why are you scared?” he asked.

“Because I might die,” I reasonably replied.

“Well, on the plus side, if you die, you don’t have to go back to the class,” he responded.

I have five kids. And in the past three years alone–over 28 months, to be exact–I’ve had three babies. They are now 2.5, almost 15 months, and almost 3 months. It’s been a wild ride, and one for which I am grateful.

But I’m not going to lie: it’s been hard. Pregnancy is tiring. Kids are tiring. The older we get, the more interesting and tiring life gets. And my body shows the tiring part. And I want to take control again, both of my fatigue and my tired, sagging self.

Maybe this is a midlife crisis…although at 40, I have the audacity to hope that my life isn’t half over.

At 40, though, I can see that the radius of my ambition has retracted. When I was graduating from college, I drunkenly told the video yearbook at the senior formal that I’d be the executive editor of The New York Times. It was unspoken that I’d assumed I’d win a Pulitzer or two as well. Now my life goals are slightly different, like “getting through a day without yelling.”

In all seriousness, my aspirations are lofty, but on the much smaller scale of my own life and family. I want to raise good, smart, kind Jewish kids. I want to be as good a person as I can be, in whatever capacity: wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister. I want to finish writing my novel, but with three babies, that has to take a back seat to the present day, whether I like it or not.

But is it selfish to have a somewhat smaller personal goal for myself as well, while submerged in The Land of Diapers? I don’t think it is.

My goal is a small one, but a long term one as well. I want to feel good about myself when I look in a mirror. I want to put on some of those jeans I haven’t worn in three years. Hell, I just want to wear a pair of pants that zips rather than concedes to a sagging tummy with an elastic top.

I want to be healthy in order to make the most of this life. I want to be around for a long, long time. I want to meet my grandchildren and maybe my great-grandchildren. And if I’m lucky enough to have another kid myself…!…I’d like to at least be in smaller maternity pants.

So I’ve signed up for a six-week gym challenge with a local program. I will be going to classes each week, getting measured, etc. It’s going to be really, really hard for me. I am the most creative excuse-maker there is. So please, feel free to give me encouragement, cheer me on, etc.

And if I drop dead of exhaustion, at least I won’t have to go back to the class.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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