Two months ago I went back to work after a 4 month leave of absence. While on leave, I could go to the gym with my daughter, and because she had spent most of the day with me, she willingly let me go for an hour so I could workout. She, in the meantime, had a fun time exploring the YMCA kids programs, or playing with stickers and reading books in the YMCA play center.
Since going back to work, my departure is no longer met with such limited opposition. After being away from my daughter for over eight hours a day, if I want to workout for an hour on our time, she has no qualms about voicing her abundant disapproval. Can I blame her? Not really. Parent/child time is important, and so is exercise. How do I carve out time for myself when, as a single mom, I'm either working full time, or being held captive by my daughter's captivating demeanor and persuasive puppy dog sad-eyes?
The work/life, time-to-myself/quality-time-with-my-daughter/still-holding-down-a-job-to-pay-bills-and-live, balance, are all incredibly tricky responsibilities to juggle. I have a responsibility to myself, to look after myself and stay healthy. I have a responsibility to be an example of many things to my daughter. I have a responsibility to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. I have a responsibility. I have many responsibilities.
Reading Dr. Suess' "Oh the places you'll go!" I am reminded that life and relationships are "...a great balancing act."
"You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left."
I won't claim to be well-coordinated at this point in time, but I'm trying to sort my feet out; trying to walk on the balancing beam without falling to the side of "it's all about me" or the other side where "it's all about others." There is a line, in between, and with some creativity, I believe I can moderate it.
My next workout will have to fit into my lunch hour break, at least once a week. It's not what I was doing before, but it's something, and I'll take it. Plus, the workouts in the past have equipped me to implement certain weight-lifting, aerobic routines at home.
Next, I hear there is a family fitness class on Sunday afternoons, 1:30pm at the Stork Family YMCA. Exercise for my daughter and I? Yes! I'm so glad someone thought of a program that combines exercise and family time. For me, that's one of the only ways my workout will work out these days.
Family fitness, here we come!
Shawna is a writer and public speaker. Email Shawna to invite her to speak at your next event.
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