Like it even needs to be said, I have had exactly zero hours of medical training. I’m not a dietitian, personal trainer, nutritionist, or any kind of expert in anything. If you walk away from reading this thinking, I should do what she does…. You only have yourself to blame.
Well, let me back up a little.
My go-to work out is swimming. I was a competitive swimmer most of my youth. Days spent swimming intervals for hours, doing a hair treatment, and eating filled most of my high school life. I have never been one of those people who likes to work out. I think it’s dumb and every time I do it, it’s the worst day of my life. I’m not sure why I did it for so long.
Then I grew up. Well, it’s better to say that I got older. I feel like that’s a better way to describe what happened to me. My body got older. My mind got a little less focused. The rest of my existence stayed the same, including my humor since I will be the first to laugh at someone slipping on ice or any type of fart joke. If anyone mentions the planet, Uranus, game over for Stacy. You’ve lost her in a giggle fit for the next three to four minutes.
I just wasted a half hour of my life googling Uranus jokes to add to this post. I regret nothing.
Here’s my main problem. I love food. All food. Pasta, cheese, carbs, cheese, chips, cheese, fountain cherry coke, cheese and especially, cheese. After what I would call a successful trip to the grocery store, I actually counted my loves sitting in the cheese drawer. We had seven different types of cheese in our refrigerator. We had lived in the house five days. Again, I regret nothing.
Whenever I start to have negative thoughts and feelings about how I look and feel, I have to remind myself that I am no spring chicken! Oh, I forgot chicken. I like chicken. And beef, and pork, and duck, and all meat, really.
Everyone knows about the miracle diets. The pills, shakes, lotions, and magic that everyone sells all over the facespace interwebs, they don’t work for me. The only way I can lose weight and tone up is diet and exercise. I don’t own a scale. I think I might have one in a closet somewhere but it probably doesn’t work. I have a rough estimate of how much I weigh. It’s around 5-10 pounds more than what my driver’s license says. I know that I am gaining too much weight when my pants don’t fit or I just feel gross about myself.
And that’s what happened when we moved to Texas. We were in a hotel for about ten days, eating out all the time, and loving everything cheese. In case you’re ever in Charleston, SC or Austin, TX, you will need to bring your stretchy pants. Two of the best food cities in the country and we just happened to be hotel living in both. We left Charleston with full heart, stomaches, and arteries. We arrived in Austin ready for more! Needless to say, I felt a little gross and a little tight in the pants.
One of the first things we did was join the YMCA. It was a perfect solution! A great place to meet people, work out, and have a place where the kids could play in water before their skin melted off their little bodies in the Austin heat. The YMCA voided all of my excuses, a gym that had pool access AND child care. It was perfect! All I had to do was start my laps again. I was going to get back into shape. I left feeling so inspired! So excited! So motivated!
That’s when everything started to fall apart.
I should have known better than to get excited about exercising, Who does that?! Did you say, crazy people get excited? Cause that’s the correct answer. The best part about throwing shade at all those nut job exercise people is they don’t care! They are all way too hopped up on natural endorphin’s to get upset about being called crazy. Don’t worry though, reality gave me the smack I was needing to get angry and unmotivated again. You see, the biggest pitfall about using swimming to feel good about yourself again is the equipment needed, mainly the swim suit.
That’s how you know that I was truly dedicated to getting healthy again. Nothing like a little bathing suit shopping to give yourself that much-needed ego boost! Even better, is when you take your two children to the sports store with you.
I started by grabbing the suit two sizes larger than I used to wear. I was being realistic and smart about this process. I have had two children. I have fully accepted that my body has grown a couple of giant humans and I will never have my high school figure back. I’ve gotten older, hips wider and stomach not even close to flat anymore. That’s perfectly normal and I have no harsh feelings about it. Of course I was going to be two sizes bigger than my high school racing suit!!! That’s nothing to be embarrassed about. My motivation was wavering, yet still intact.
Except I should have started with a suit three sizes larger.
So there we were, all three of us, piled into a dressing room for the third time and I know what’s about to happen. I see that beautiful horizon that’s working itself into the perfect storm. I know what I should do. I should grab my kids, leave whatever I have in the dressing room, and run for the door. I have seen the look in my son’s eyes before. I know what’s coming and I know how to stop it.
I can’t leave! I won’t leave!
I am determined. I know, if I leave, I’m never coming back. That’s it! I will walk away from my new, barely there, hanging by a tiny thread motivation. I will leave it in that dressing room with the 15 suits I have already tried. Some of which wouldn’t even go past my totally self assured child bearing hips. I’m going to do this. I am going to start working out. The tiny toddler dictator of the house will not kill my already dying motivation.
I can’t leave, I won’t.
My only choice now is to power through. I know I have enough time to try one more suit and get dressed before my son loses his mind and starts expressing himself in a manner fit for a three-year old who’s bored.
Turns out, I overestimated. I didn’t have time to try on one last suit and get dressed before my son lost his mind. I had enough time to try on one last suit before The Boy Who Breaks Things decided he was done.
Side bar: Here’s a little fun fact for anyone who hasn’t experienced a racing swimsuit, they are TIGHT. I know, seems like a totally “duh” statement, it’s a bathing suit. It’s not though, it’s not a bathing suit, it’s a racing suit. They like to cut off circulation to the extremities of a body so tightly that once the suit it removed, you can see the outline marked on the skin for hours!!!
Back to it, remember, I overestimated my time.
I don’t have time to get dressed again before it happens. I have told this hangry, bored little boy that we would go swimming. So far today, he hasn’t gone swimming. He hasn’t been allowed to run around, hide in the clothing rack, crawl under the changing room doors, swing his arms around in a circle next to glass items, or do anything fun. He was promised swimming after the store but he didn’t know that we would have been in the store for daysssssssssss before he could go swimming. He has put up with this nonsense for long enough. I have officially depraved him of all goodness and happiness he feels he deserves. He has decided to express his dissatisfaction with me. He takes a deep breath, looks at me, and says “Mommy, you said swimming after the store. The store is taking too long and I have lost my patience, I’m hungry, I’m bored and I am frustrated. Please, can we go, right now.”
He took a deep breath, looked at me and SCREAMED at me. I guess it could be described as more of a growl than a scream. Then, the shoes came off and he decided he was done waiting for me and he was going to leave. He doesn’t need help unlocking the door and
walking running out. The kid is so out of his mind, he will run out of the changing room, through the front doors, to the edge of the parking lot, stop, look both ways, yell “NO CARS!” and run straight to our car. He will then break the door handle trying to open the locked doors.
I mean, yeah, he would stop and look both ways. The problem with him yelling “no cars” is that it’s not so much an announcement, such as there are no cars coming. It is safe for him to cross. It’s more of a commandment. “NO, cars!” As if, his yelling at oncoming traffic will stop them.
I knew this was coming, I was prepared as soon as I saw the shoes come off. I was ready. He had the door to the changing room unlocked and I had one arm out of the bathing suit. I had no choice but to let him take his chances out in the world or grab him by the arm before he made it out of the door completely. Well, I missed his arm. I did, however, get a hand full of shirt before he hit the main floor of the store. I’ve got him. He’s secured! I am not.
I start to try to pick him up. He turns himself into a 43 pound limp noodle so my best option at this point is to drag him back to the changing room. From there I have to body block the door, make sure he doesn’t crawl away under the door, complete the process of removing the suit, (which I am pretty sure has gotten tighter since the beginning of the wrestling match he has started) put my shorts and shirt back on, and find all personal items that have gotten lost in the shuffle. All one handed because I don’t dare lose my grip on the demon that has taken over my son’s body. I ask my daughter, who has been sitting quietly and patiently, to grab the bag and his shoes because if you don’t kick your shoes off how will anyone know that you’re truly MAD. At least he has calmed down and it’s screaming anymore.
I walk out of the changing room, fully dressed, with a new suit under one arm and a screaming kid under the other. I start to head to the front of the store, towards the check out because I have made it this far. I can’t leave. I won’t leave! I approach the registers with my new swim suit under one arm and my son sorta half hanging half dragging under my other. Thankfully, the fates have smiled upon me! There’s three lanes open and no one in line.
There’s one lane open with a line in front of us. The person currently checking out is kind of person you want in the front. You know the type, aggressive, confused, and just an all around ass-hat type of person who likes to yell at the 17-year-old kid about not accepting personal checks. It’s as if yelling at the poor kid and demanding a manager is going to change corporate store policy. This dude is seriously killing my spirit! Oh no, wait, that’s the screaming, kicking, demon under my arm trying to run into a parking lot. Good thing he’s starting to lose steam and calm down a little bit.
Guess what, I’m kidding. If anything, he’s gained strength, I think it’s coming directly from me. He’s somehow absorbing my strength, my will, my spirit, and it’s official, my motivation. I set down my new suit, my motivation, and my optimism ready to leave. Don’t worry, I lost my pride countless fits ago, that’s no longer an issue. I’m not embarrassed, I am exhausted. And slightly embarrassed since the teenager ahead of us in line doesn’t even pretend to hide his slack-jawed staring. Just as I am setting everything down, I hear a voice say, “I’ll take the next in line over here!”
Doesn’t matter at this point, I’m not even next in line. Plus, everything I have worked for is gone. I don’t need the suit. I don’t my motivation. I’ve survived this long without my pride. I have been defeated. Someone a third of my size has beaten me down. I don’t need anything but to leave the store, go home, and cry over some cheese. Cheese doesn’t hate me, cheese doesn’t take his shoes off when he’s mad. Cheese just loves me and wants me to be happy. So I set everything down, and step out of line.
Then I hear an angel speak.
It’s not really an angel speaking to me, it’s another mom. So, yeah, an angel. It’s actually the mom of the teenager that’s been judging me since we’ve ruined his day too. She turns around and tells her son to grab my purchases and walk them to the belt beside us. She smiles that smile that only a fellow mom can give. The one that says, I get it. You’ll be ok. You will survive this.
“You go ahead, mine was worse,” she says about her son that just helped bring back a little hope in my life. I had no choice at this point! With one simple gesture, she brought back just enough hope and motivation to continue my purchase. I was so grateful and relieved that someone got it, I wasn’t alone. My kid must have sensed the graciousness because he also calmed down and quit screaming. It gave me the opportunity to express my gratitude in her kindness and solidarity of child raising.
He didn’t stop. I think I mumbled something similar to a “thanks” while trying to get my stupid card into that stupid little slot at the bottom. I was struggling to remember my PIN but I got it and grabbed the bag and tried to leave as quickly as possible. All. One. Handed.
We head out and I think, that’s it, I am going to officially bust this kid’s head on the ground. I hope the Man with the Plan doesn’t mind losing a tax deduction because I am about to have a battle to the death with his son. One of us will not make it to the car alive, and gauging by the strength my son has siphoned off of me, I am going to lose this battle. All I have to do is make it to the doors. Just ten feet between me and what will be the end of someone. Then, it happens.
Something snaps in my three-year old and he starts acting like a three-year old again. He stops screaming instantly, stops his wiggling to get free and starts laughing. Like a psychopath would. He gets excited and starts pointing, “look mommy! It’s a blue noodle. That’s so silly!” Yep, a small glance at a $1 pool noodle is all it took for him to act like a human again. I can’t help but laugh at him. Not with, but at, because I laugh so I don’t cry.
And that ladies and gentleman, is why you should never exercise.