I’ve been reluctantly trying to get in shape. My body creaks and freezes at the stupidest times. It didn’t used to be that way. I could throw together a dinner for seven after a day’s work, solve the problems of the ages and probably leap tall buildings at a single bound. The secret? I had young kids.
Recently at my daughter’s house, I had the opportunity to record the maternal fitness routine for the benefit of others. Follow this, and you will be in the best shape of your life.
We began the routine by Isaac climbing her like a jungle gym. He’s five, and a solid kid. She slung an arm around him and deposited him on the floor. He came back for more – four reps of sling, flex, bend. And some vocal exercise too.
Then Ethan hollered from the upstairs…something about the toilet. It was the stair dash – from seated in the living room position to racing two steps at a time in six seconds.
Followed immediately by the plunger action. Up. Down. Put those shoulders into it. Fourteen reps before the toy bubbles up. More vocal exercise. Then the follow-up eye roll during his earnest explanation.
Clothing had to be replaced (it had been a messy exercise). Bend at the waist. Tug. Twist. Tug. Do the two-step as the kid tries to make a break for it. Pull. Tug. Twist. Breathe deeply.
“Mommy!” Isaac hollered. “My feet are wet!”
“Then don’t step in the water!”
Too late. Bend at the waist. Support the full weight of the child leaning on your back. Grab the toe of the sock and pull. Child tips over backwards. Twist, grab, lift.
Follow-up with the ever popular clean-the-bathroom exercise. Throw down a dirty towel. Distastefully with your foot, glide the towel across the floor in long, slow sweeps. Feel the burning in your inner thigh? Using your shoulder muscles, toss the wet towel into the hamper. Then, being careful to keep your back straight, lift the overflowing hamper and carry it downstairs. Let at least one boy cling to your waist to add extra weight and strengthening.
Then do the laundry. Bend down, lift and toss. Repeat 18 times.
Take a break. Fill the kettle for tea. Forget about it when there is another howl from upstairs. Repeat the six second stair dash. Catch the wall for a hip-loosening shimmy when you trip over a toy car. Flow into the separate-the-fighting-children lift. Fifty pounds of flailing boy will add that extra muscle tone to shoulders and back. Dump each fifty pound boy onto a bed with a command to sit until ready to behave.
Slowly descend the stairs. Pour boiling water over the teabag. Sit, blowing gently over the mug. Remember to breathe. There will be at least 97 seconds before the next burst of activity.