My son turns 5 tomorrow. Before morphing into mom, I cannot imagine what I did with all the time in the day. Now, I speak for every parent when I say there aren’t enough hours in the day! I am just like every working mom, trying to find this unicorn they call “balance.” My wheels are constantly spinning, trying to get it all done. By it, I mean doing work that is meaningful to my industry and impactful to lives of individuals aspiring to get fit, but also doing the work of motherhood: folding laundry, getting kids dressed, making meals for individual family members- each with a palate as picky as a queen, doing dishes, answering to the barrage of “MOM” scream-requests, fixing the chain inside the toilet (why, with as far as technology has come, do toilets still have paperclip-like thingamajigs connecting the stopper), driving the taxicab, picking up toys, cleaning up spills, and picking things up so that our house doesn’t look like an episode of Hoarders.
What’s irking about mom work is that it’s invisible work. It has to get handled, but no one really cares. If no one cares, why can’t someone else just do it? Oh, because they won’t. Then, toilets run, kids stay in pajamas, dishes pile, leftovers in the fridge get moldy, toys and laundry build up in mounds, and everyone just walks around like Mr. Magoo, blind to the existence of any of it. As Mom, you’re the one stacking steps under Mr. Magoo’s feet every step. (Mr. Magoo was a cartoon character that would narrowly miss accidents as he would walk around blindly).
I have this alter-side to the invisible work, and that work is what social media has coined “fitmom.” That’s where I turn my phone off, and for one glorious hour, I kick a$$ in a workout. I exercise for those 60-minutes as if I’m training to take down Wonder Woman. On great days, I make it to a gym and can let my kids play in childcare while I knock this out with focus and determination. On others, I stick them in the bike trainer and ride that bike around the neighborhood as powerfully as one can carry 55-pounds of precious cargo… finishing at a playground where my son can play, too. I have a hard time relating to why people dread exercise. For me, this hour fills my spirit and fuels my motivation to get through everything else in the day.
Then, there’s work. I am an entrepreneur and a freelancer, so work is inherently up-and-down. Most recently, Rodale, the company that owned Prevention.com was purchased, so my work as a fitness writer (which entailed writing 3-6 articles per month) is on hiatus while reorganization is underway with Hearst. I work with a handful of companies, providing education on fitness equipment. I consult new-build residential fitness centers on space allocation and equipment selection. These things allow me to keep contributing to the fitness industry. It is very important to me to keep this part of my life, because it makes me feel like my strengths, talents, and education are being put to good use.
Without work-work, life gets to feel a little gunky with pots and pans. I join other women in voicing that our work should be compensated equally to that of men’s, but the beauty work brings to my life has little to do with dollar bills. It gives me an opportunity to do what I went to school for and what I do well. (Cause, trust me, my cooking and cleaning are no prize acts). I am so grateful to have a flexible work schedule; it’s the right path for me. But I understand why some women go back to work full-time, too.
Motherhood is wonderful. Children are the greatest gift imaginable. Life has never been better, but it’s a heck of a lot of work. Sometimes, you just want a loved one to call and ask how you’re doing. But you carry on, jugging the demands of mom life, trying to keep it together.
In case you haven’t heard it in a while, you’re doing a good job.