Remember Maria Kang? Maybe you remember her better by her Internet-bestowed title of Fit Mom? She popped up late last year. I believe I was just entering my second trimester at the time.
I remember seeing her “inspirational” photo in my Facebook news feed. Now, because I’m a fan of the Health At Every Size (HAES) movement, it was being posted by like-minded people who felt she was criticizing mothers everywhere. I was inclined to agree though I didn’t really bother to research it and form an opinion on the subject. My concerns at that moment involved getting over my morning sickness and waiting intently to find out if I was having a boy or girl. Who cared how this slender lady was trolling the internet? Certainly not me.
And yet, one morning last week at about 5 AM, I was thinking about how I haven’t managed to get back to the gym in the two months my son has been alive. Well that’s not true, I went to the gym twice. Once to collect information about the on-site childcare, and the second time to use the child care and take a 30 minute “quickie” training session. Then my father came into town, and I got side-tracked again. I haven’t re-established the gym-going habit is what I mean.
So while I laid in bed, nursing my son in the bleary early hours of the morning, I thought about why I haven’t been able to get back to it. My left knee popped as I stretched it out slowly, trying to avoid waking my lightly sleeping son as he lay next to me. I flexed my aching fingers. My rheumatoid arthritis symptoms came back about four weeks after delivery. But I can’t take my previous course of meds to relieve the pain because I’m breastfeeding. I can only take prednisone. And only 10 mg of that a day. Even though I know exercise will also help my symptoms, I’ve still not gone back to the gym. Why?
And that’s when Ms. Kang (wife, mother, business owner and non-profit founder according to her website) popped into my head. What’s my excuse?
Just to be clear, I wasn’t asking myself Ms. Kang’s implied question of why I have “chosen” to look differently than she does. I mean, what’s my excuse for not going back to the gym. I want to be healthy, not Fit Mom-esque. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it boils down to money. Because money equals time. And what you really need in order to look like Ms. Kang is time. I suppose when she’s being a wife/mother/business owner/non-profit founder, it’s much more profitable than when I’m being a wife/mother/blogger/fundraiser for a non-profit.
If I lived at whatever tax bracket she lives, maybe I could afford a nanny who could come to my house and watch my son while I exercised my brains out. Or let me go to the gym for hours while the nanny helped out around the house. Unless it’s possible she manages to get those three kids of hers to sleep for four hour stretches in the middle of the day at the exact same time so she’s able to run a few miles with just the baby monitor strapped to her, I would assume she has some kind of help. And help costs money.
There’s always the chance that her husband takes a shift during the day to let her exercise. And of course, she might just have the power of genetics on her side helping her look the way she does with the least amount of time necessary invested. But I bet you she just has a lot more money than I do. It’s all just complete conjecture over here on my side. I doubt I’ll ever know Maria Kang well enough to discover her routine and find out what it is that makes her so “fit.”
Or will I? I just looked up her FAQ, and she’s divulged her routine to the masses.
Early morning: nurse baby
6:30 AM: Gym
8 AM: wake up children, feed them, clean them, etc.
12 PM: visit her residential care home facilities, scheduled meetings
5 PM: Cook dinner
10 PM: Put kids to bed, work on emails
If that’s true, she works out one hour everyday. Maybe 1.5 hours if the gym is very near her house. I suppose when you already have the physique you crave, maybe one hour of maintenance is all you need. Well here’s my comparison routine.
Early morning: nurse baby
6 AM: Baby wakes us up
7 AM: Soothe cranky morning baby with a shower
8 AM: Feed baby yet again, attempt to feed self and husband
9 AM: Clothe baby, attempt to find something that fits post-baby body that doesn’t look like shrink wrap or an oversized garbage bag on me
10 AM: Baby Storytime at the library
12 PM: Attempt to eat lunch before baby wakes up and wants his own lunch
1 PM: Attempt starting a load of laundry
2 PM: Attempt finishing that load of laundry
3 PM: Attempt tummy time with baby
4 PM: Watch for husband out of the window while bouncing baby on hip
5 PM: Start making dinner, but then stop to nurse baby and hope nothing is burned
6 PM: Watch husband interact with baby while wolfing down dinner
7 PM: Start nightly bedtime ritual (light incense, candles, chant and invoke the sleeping gods)
8 PM: Baby in bassinet
8:10 PM: Put pacifier back in baby’s mouth and rock cradle until he drifts off
8:15 PM: Re-swaddle baby, put pacifier back in baby’s mouth and rock cradle until he drifts off
8:25 PM: Put pacifier back in baby’s mouth and rock cradle until he drifts off
8:45 PM: Stare at baby to ensure he’s still breathing
9 PM: Lay down to sleep for hopefully a couple of hours before baby needs to nurse again
Yeah, I can see how similar our lives are. And yet, I still haven’t been hitting the gym.
Okay, seriously now, once I get the RA flare ups under control, I will at least begin to feel the inclination to go to the gym. And stop wasting my automatically-deducted gym membership fees. Maybe I could slip it in after Storytime. But honestly, I don’t think I’ll be able to get back to the gym going habit until Gibson is a bit older, and I figure out how I’m going to work eight hour days out of the home.
I even went to the website Maria links to: No Excuse Mom. And in all the pictures I saw of those women, their babies were able to support their own heads and necks! So I’m going to have to let myself slide. Obviously, it’s no excuses AFTER your child can sit up unassisted. Got it!
Ya know, the crazy thing is how little sleep she lets herself get. She goes to bed at midnight and gets up before 6 to nurse baby? I don’t care how skinny you are, if you don’t get rest, you won’t be your healthiest self.
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