For years after having the kiddos ( you know, those years spent getting your groove / body back to were it once was .... which, let's face it, it's not .... but that's another post ...) I became a gym rat. It was my place of refuge - it's "what we did" during the day in addition to the typical new-mom circuit of Target and Panera Bread.
Two-three hours of babysitting with the YMCA employees who grew to be more like family than anything else ... that was something I looked forward to daily. They would feed, change, soothe.... hell yes. And I was only - at max - 100 feet away in the building somewhere. Needless to say, I was counting down the 6 week "off" period with each baby waiting for my small, but meaningful reprieve from baby duty .... even if it meant sweating my ass off on the treadmill.
As a former employee of Starbucks (I still to this day consider that the absolute best job I ever had ... like I was actually the lucky one to have been able to work there .... again, another post! ;) we received some of the best training available - in my opinion. In my 4 years of employment, we received training on customer service that I've carried with me to this day - including creating what we called the "Third Place" within the store. The third place is not your home or work, but it's that "other" place you feel comfortable and look forward to coming to. It should be easy and nice and enjoyable .... your "third place" .... In the 12-24 months following a new child, the YMCA gym was most certainly my "third place".
Hell, sometimes I was tired! Like, "no one slept last night and we can't find shoes so we wear our Crocs in the middle of winter" kind of tired.
We still headed to the gym. Why? Well, there's this magical place where no children are allowed. Where the showers are cleaned by someone else and there's no little fist knocking at the door asking for Goldfish and milk while you're trying to rinse shampoo from your hair for the first time in 6 days. Where there are other adults, dressing themselves without asking for help, and the mirrors are clear of grimy handprints and the floor free from baby toys and markers without lids. Ah... the magical heavenly haven known as the "Women's Locker Room".
On tired, non-workout days, I'd literally pack a lunch - like a grade school field trip - and a shower bag- drop the kiddos off at the playroom, and make a bee-line to the women's locker room.
Here I would enjoy a luxurious 2 hour spa day including:
~ Shower for one (20-25 minute treatment) includes shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap on washcloth exfoliating and cleansing, underarm shave, leg shave (above the knee is extra), and towel dry.
~ Blowout (10-15 minute treatment) includes quick dry with low-power-motor dryer and one try-to-do-it-all hair product application.
~ Lunch (30 minutes) a delightful blend of last nights' dinner and children snacks deemed healthy but yummy enough to serve as a 'lunch' type food
So yes, some days the gym was about the physical well-being .. other days, about the mental. Both equally important - some more enjoyable than others. And the kiddos? Um, super happy! Other children and non-parental figures stimulating their little minds... invoking discovery, independence and socialization. Boom - like free pre-preschool! I'd pick them up feeling like a new mommy ... ready to take on the rest of our day (yeah, probably Target - maybe Starbucks ... you know the drill) and all the while being extremely happy to pay that monthly gym membership - which for our family was so much MORE than just that!
PS: Be sure to follow my blog ... I'm back! All kinds of fun stuff coming like FitBit Charge HR vs Apple Watch, why your butt gets fat when you're pregnant (and why it's a good thing) and how yoga pants changed everything. ;-)