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

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“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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