Finding Balance Through Exercise

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Alison Korn

For months after birthing twins, I waited to feel rested again so I could resume exercising. Ha! Laugh all you want. As a new mom, I didn't know I might never feel rested again. But soon enough I figured out that this reality shouldn't stop me from exercising in order to lower my stress level.

I used to work out full time -- three sessions a day, six days a week -- with the Canadian national rowing team. After racing at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, I retired from the sport and had my kids in 2004.

Now that I work full time as a mom and a journalist, my struggle is how to fit exercise into my life. For my babies' first year and a half, I met fellow moms for hours of walking with our strollers, which worked until my snoozing duo got older and refused to tolerate long rides. Next, I tried to sneak in workouts while the kids were at day care and I worked from home. I was usually way too busy.

I'm now on to a third tactic: rising at 6 a.m. to swim with my local masters club. Much as I hate waking to an alarm before my family is up it's worth it for the joy I get from these sessions. For one precious hour, I join the friendly group and swim as hard as I can.

The physical challenge of exercise, for me, works as a buffer against the emotional challenges of parenting. A workout is one hour when I'm not a parent but an athlete ticking off the distance efficiently throughout the session. Swimming offers a feeling of accomplishment and peace, fueling me to more fully enjoy my two messy, loud, hilarious toddlers.

When I return home around 8 a.m., coffee in hand, I'm not fazed if Cheerios are spilled or I step on scrambled eggs. My good mood lasts all day. My sweet kids are now two and a half, I'm still not properly rested, and getting up early is difficult. But morning swims have become a habit, and I'm a better mom because I'm happy and active -- again.

This parenting/sport balance works for my family because daycare is a block away and I work from home. Neither my husband nor I "commutes" in the traditional sense. My husband can delay his own workout -- cycling to work -- until I return.

Alison Korn is a Toronto journalist.

How do you manage stress along with juggling work and family? Do you bike with your kids? Take long walks with the dog? Or bang your head against the wall?

The Washington Post Health section would like to hear how you manage the stress that is an inevitable part of our busy lives. Please e-mail health@washpost.com (200 words or fewer please) with the subject line Stress Management. We'll publish some of the most interesting responses in the Tuesday Health section.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  January 16, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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1st!

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 16, 2007 7:38 AM

We're lucky our DD loves her jogging stroller, we've logged several thousand miles with her in it. She particularly loves to race, post-race oranges & bananas were her first real foods. She's become a competant and efficient race volunteer/supporter. Running is our passion, including her in on it is natural & necessary. Sure, training for a 100 miler is out of reach for now, but we've managed to train for over 30 marathons & ultras in her first four years. She races the shorter ones with us--two hours seems to be her limit, though we've never tested it. It keeps our relationship on balance, gives us a great family outing, and drives our non-running family members nuts.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | January 16, 2007 7:57 AM

I'm training for my first marathon and even though I'm working and have a full family life, I'm making it a goal for this year. Exercising keeps me sane, and when I put it off or make excuses not to do it, boy, am I sorry.

The hardest thing I have learned to do as a mother is to make myself a priority. By that, I don't mean that I'm THE priority in my life, but I make sure I'm in the top 3. The old saying "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is so true. Taking time to exercise and do things that make me feel good about myself only help me to be a better parent and wife. I used to stress about taking time for myself -- it seemed so selfish for some reason -- but I don't anymore.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 16, 2007 8:16 AM

Getting exercise in is so important. I think many moms, especially new ones, cut this out first because it seems so "selfish", but it's not. I used to exercise most days while I had a flexible job, but now my job is less flexible and my commute longer. I just can't seem to fit it in.

Anyway, good for you for working it in

Posted by: working mother | January 16, 2007 8:17 AM

Housework is good exersize too.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 16, 2007 8:26 AM

quote: Housework is good exersize too.

Indeed it is, but not in the same way that anyone who was REALLY active before having kids would find fulfilling.

Pre-kids, I played soccer probably four times a week. Post-kids, I've pared it down to once a week, on Monday nights after my kids are asleep.

It's not ideal, but it keeps our weekends free for child-centered activities and it keeps me in shape and in touch with a little bit of who I was before these two came along.

Saying that doing housework as exercise is overly simplistic.

Posted by: JennyK | January 16, 2007 8:46 AM

I get to work at 6 am. Off work at 2 (no lunch) for household errands and housework. Get the kids off the bus at 4 and then it is homework, kids sports, dinner, baths, bedtime stories and at 9 o'clock me time. Somewhere before 6 am and after 9 pm, I need to add about 30 to 40 minutes of exercise. Any ideas? Right now I get up at 5. I guess I could get up at 4, but it takes about a hour to get ready, pack lunches and get to work.

Posted by: Not busy | January 16, 2007 8:53 AM

Competitive tennis keeps me sane. I'm out with the ladies (though just as likely it is mixed doubles). The discussion can be about kids, but just as likely, it won't be about kids at all. Even when talk is about kids, it isn't "kiddy-talk." The competition is keen and lively. It is adults being adults.

Posted by: dotted | January 16, 2007 8:56 AM

Thank you for a great guest blog! I'm pretty active as well, and I worry about maintaining my level of activity when I become a mother. My boyfriend says the kids will keep me so busy that I will get exercise that way, but all I ever hear is how having kids makes you fat. I hate to be so shallow, but let's face it, being out of shape is not a good way for anyone to be happy. Like you pointed out, the endorphins from exercise can keep you going all day.

Posted by: Mona | January 16, 2007 9:01 AM

To Not Busy,

Some friends of mine walk around the soccer/football/baseball field while the kids are practicing their sports.

My other friend bought a recombinant (sp?) bike that she rides while watching TV for the hour before bedtime.

All I have is a husband and two dogs, and I still have a hard time finding time to exercise. It's my New Year's resolution to do so (that and quitting smoking--it's been 16 days!!). But I also get a full 8 hours of sleep, so that's probably why I don't seem to have the time for exercise.

Anyway, I'm very impressed and encouraged by moms who make time for exercise. It's SO important, and you set an example for lazy people like me.

Posted by: Meesh | January 16, 2007 9:06 AM

In my doctor's office, there is a sign saying "If you don't make time to exercise now, you will have to make time for illness later".

Making time for exercise is an absolute priority for me. It's not easy, with work and kids, but it pays off. I feel happier, more relaxed and more energized after exercise. Sure, you are still sleep-deprived, but you feel more energetic if you exercise regularly.

Posted by: Ajax | January 16, 2007 9:22 AM

Meesh: kick the smoking habit before you worry about exercise. Definitely exercise when you can, but place more importance on quitting smoking. Exercise is important, but you don't want to do too much too soon and suffer burnout. And smoking is more dangerous than sloth. Congrats on 16 smoke-free days! That's really great! I'm proud of you...good luck!

Posted by: Mona | January 16, 2007 9:23 AM

This is interesting. I'm currently seeing a therapist about anger management (related to parenting issues) and one of the FIRST things he asked was "Are you exercising regularly?" I need to work something into my routine - maybe an hour bicycle ride while my son is at morning preschool.

Not Busy, maybe you could make one of your errands after 2 pm "exercise". For me, it's not about finding the time, it's more about TAKING the time.

Posted by: Need to start | January 16, 2007 9:24 AM

For Not Busy- wear a pedometer. If you really are busy, you are probably making the 10,000 steps per day that is recommended for good health. I was concerned about spending so much time on errands and house/yardkeeping to the exclusion of exercise until I discovered that the daily routine, combined with parking at the far side of the parking lot when I shopped, could help add steps to meet my goal of 5 miles/day. If the pedometer tells me I'm short at the end of the day, I can do a nice 1-mile circuit of the neighborhood after dinner in about 15 minutes. It's not the same as the Olympic sport I competed in when I was younger, but it adds up.

Posted by: childfree and equal | January 16, 2007 9:25 AM

Mona,

having kids doesn't make you fat, eating the wrong foods does. Pregnancy will change your body, of course, and not necessarily to the better. Aging will do the same. If you stick to a reasonable diet and a reasonable amount of activity during pregnancy and parenthood, you will not get fat for the long term (short-term, your body will store some extra fat in preparation for breast-feeding but that will go away naturally).

Don't let them scare you - I find lots of women use pregnancy as an excuse for eating crap and letting themselves go!

Posted by: To Mona | January 16, 2007 9:26 AM

Thanks, To Mona. Re: "Don't let them scare you - I find lots of women use pregnancy as an excuse for eating crap and letting themselves go!" I've heard the same thing! "I'm eating for two" is BS. You're eating for one, plus a fetus. You don't get to double your caloric intake. You're not carrying a 140-pound woman in there. I've read that a healthy-weight woman should gain only 30 pounds, tops, during pregnancy, and overweight women even less. Yet I still hear this excuse. I think the reason celebrity moms lose weight so "easily" after pregnancy is that they don't gain much to begin with and they keep their slimming habits throughout and immediately after pregnancy. I've also read that women should lose the weight within six months after birth; otherwise it gets much harder to lose. Is this true?

Posted by: Mona | January 16, 2007 9:36 AM

This blog is so timely. I've been trying to figure out a way to add in exercise to my life as well. One SAHM mom I know wakes up at 5am to work out at her community center. I'm just not a morning person.

I was thinking of trying some yoga after work (just a tape at home) in the winter. Summer/spring, with the longer days and light/warmth, I love being outside and exercise is usually not a problem. My very favorite exercise is biking or walking with our dog, but in the winter, I just don't have the motivation to do much beyond the bare necessity.

I have a bike seat for my son and he usually loves taking rides with me. I've also got a dog bike leash attached to my back wheel, so I take our dog for a mile run at the same time (he's been doing this since he was a year old and loves it).

As a side note, if people with high-energy dogs out there would get one of these bike leashes and run their dog regularly, the dog would be much happier and calmer (if their energy level is a problem). We have a pitbull/boxer mix who looks like the Target dog (he's not an alpha dog, is a sweetie and loves my son, please no pitbull comments!). This is a high-energy dog for our low-energy family, but one bike run a day (for 15 minutes or so) and he's a happy camper and just needs a bit of fun but nothing excessive. One caveat -- in the summer heat, you have to be careful to run them in the early am, before the pavement is boiling hot! Too much can really hurt their paw pads.

Posted by: Rebecca | January 16, 2007 9:41 AM

Mona - I agree having kids does not make you fat however, chasing them will NOT make you fit. It will make you exhausted but not fit. I do think that a lot of the weight gain stems from fatigue, lonliness and depression which can follow after having kids especially if you choose to SAH. It takes a long time to adjust to being a SAHM and it can be VERY, VERY isolating. Both my children were 5 wks early in the winter and I couldn't take them out in public, except for walks, until the RSV season was over. So both times I was locked in the house, in the winter for 4 months. I ate a lot during that time. When my dd was 18mos. old I felt comfortable leaving her at the daycare in the local gym and that's when I got my active lifestyle back. Its a different trip for everyone. I honestly don't know how WOHM's do it. When could they possibly sleep? Hats off to those who figure it out.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 16, 2007 9:42 AM

Housework is NOT good exercise. It is activity, but it is too stop and go. Do not kid yourself into thinking that housework will substitute for exercise.

Exercise has two aspects that are great for parents: 1) the buzz from sustained aerobic conditioning, and 2) the feeling that you've done something for yourself.

Exercise with your kid is OK, but it never worked for me. They hated the jog stroller, they hated the bike seat, they hated the nursery at the gym, they misbehaved at gymboree, they hate to hike, they want me to pull them around all the time at the pool. I had some luck working out while they were at swim lessons but they have to be big enough that you aren't expected to be in the pool with them. I needed to do it alone.

I found an 8:30 pm aerobics class at the YMCA. Dad was almost always home by then. I'd come home from work, feed everybody, have a light snack, then wait for his arrival. I'd leave, go exercise and feel great.

Once the kids got older the 6am routine worked. It's good for a kid to have an alarm clock and learn to heed it. Of all meals breakfast is one of the easiest to make ahead. You can leave the cereal out and the milk in a glass. I could be home before the bus came so if there was any real disaster nobody would be late to school.

Overall I credit the YMCA with saving my sanity, plus improving my health! Of the many things I spent money on the membership there is one of the best values I get.

Posted by: RoseG | January 16, 2007 9:44 AM

I think I am going to try the pedometer. That was the first piece of useful information I have gotten from the comments on all the blogs I have been a part of. Thanks childfree and equal!

Posted by: Not Busy | January 16, 2007 9:44 AM

I don't know about the "lose the weight within 6 months" rule. The breastfeeding is a big factor. You are not going to lose the excess fat entirely until you stop breastfeeding (milk is very fatty). A lot depends on your individual situation/body and I don't think you can make a whole lot of sweeping generalizations. For example, I'm on the small side (110 pounds pre-first-pregnancy), a regular exerciser and healthy-food eater - still gained 35 pounds during pregnancy #1. Still didn't keep any excess weight for too long afterwards.

Don't stress, just be reasonable and you WILL keep looking attractive post-pregnancy. Things will start to deteriorate here and there - but they will do that eventually anyway, with age.

Posted by: To Mona | January 16, 2007 9:45 AM

Exercise was great after I had my daughter. I dropped the baby weight within 6 weeks, but was still 2-3" from fitting into my jeans. And with all the major changes we had undergone at the same time (job change and move to new state), I lost myself for a bit -- everyone knew me as his wife or her mother, but no one knew me as just Laura. The gym gave me my body back, which helped me feel like I had some control, and gave me a place where people knew me as me, not just as a supporting character in someone else's life.

Unfortunately, I haven't been so successful with no. 2. Baby weight didn't just drop off this time, and I'm now back in an office, working closer to full-time and with double the kid stuff -- so need is greater, but finding time is harder. But the biggest problem is that the gym now feels like just another burden -- I need to take care of myself, I should lose weight for my health, I should get trim and fit so my husband still finds me attractive and I can keep up with my kids, etc. But my life is already filled with an overwhelming number of "need tos" and "shoulds." So when I get through a day of managing all those other needs (clients, kids, husband) and shoulds (groceries, cooking, house), the idea of working out feels like another weight on my shoulders -- it's just one more responsibility on that never-ending to do list. And what I really want by that time is to toss off ALL responsibility and spend a few minutes doing something that is just purely fun and nonproductive. So usually after the kids go to bed, I end up plopping down in front of the TV, or picking up a book or crossword puzzle, instead of heading up to the treadmill.

I am trying, though. I realize that all of my focus can't be on other people, and that even if the gym is a responsibility, it is a responsibility that I owe myself. So I do a weekend exercise class (when the gym offers babysitting) and a personal trainer once a week -- I hate the cost of a personal trainer, but I find that I need the motivation of having that appointment etched in stone for me to get there consistently (plus I'm cheap, so forcing myself to spend the money makes me see it as a real commitment). But I still haven't figured out how to fit in the additional 2-3 workouts I would need for real health and weightloss benefits. Oh well -- at least it's something.

Posted by: Laura | January 16, 2007 9:47 AM

Laura,

in my experience (and I have 2 kids & a job, too) exercising loses its "should"/chore-like character once you have gotten back into it. At first, yes, it's another thing on your to-do list, and you usually don't feel like it. After a while, you are back in the swing of it and start looking forward to the fun/benefit of it.

Maybe you could clench your teeth and try to just exercise regularly for a few weeks, even if it will add to your to-do stress, then see if it doesn't end up being a plus rather than another burden?

Posted by: Ajax | January 16, 2007 9:53 AM

Yes, using a pedometer is an excellent motivator. You will probably find yourself making more time to get in those extra steps. In my old office, we turned it into a competition -- and the mom with two kids actually won both times (not because she spent all her time chasing after them, but because she made it a point to try to win the competition).

Another tip: if you have a playstation, there is a video game called "Yourself Fitness." My hubby bought it for me after my first baby was born, and I love it. You can tailor your workout a little bit, and you can work out in 15 minute increments, which I find really makes me feel better. I don't have a lot of time to spare either, but 15 minutes is probably what I spent reading this blog!

Posted by: writing mommy | January 16, 2007 9:55 AM

I found with child #2 that it took almost 18 months before I had enough energy to pursue a structured exercise plan. A second child is very tiring because #1 is there also.

Once #2 got to be about 18 months old he was easier to deal with and my husband was more willing to step in and take up slack which freed exercise time up.

If you work out 3-4 times a week (say twice during the week, once on a weekend with another stray activity thrown in) for about 3 weeks it will suddenly become a part of the things in your life, so it gets easier to do.

Posted by: RoseG | January 16, 2007 10:01 AM

Ajax, my brain realizes you're right. I know when I'm in the routine, when I stop for a while, I notice that I feel a lot worse. Problem is fighting the apparently magnetic attraction between my butt and the couch after dinner. :-)

And also, frankly, trying to find a routine that works -- we have a treadmill on the 3rd floor, but I've hesitated to use it early AM or evening for fear of waking the baby (in violation Rule # 1 of parenting). And now that the baby is a toddler who could sleep through an earthquake, our kitchen remodel has created so much dust that it gives me asthma problems. My current plan (once I get the dust cleared out next month) is to hook up a VCR to the TV up there, and designate a particular show that I can only tape up there (like Dr. Phil -- something my husband hates). I figure if the only way I can watch my shows is to have my butt on the treadmill, that may give me a little more incentive.

Posted by: Laura | January 16, 2007 10:03 AM

"I think the reason celebrity moms lose weight so "easily" after pregnancy is that they don't gain much to begin with and they keep their slimming habits throughout and immediately after pregnancy."

Actually, if you notice- celebs often PILE on the punds because they deprive themselves of eating before pregnancy. They lose weight quickly after the birth due to personal trainers, chefs, unlimited money and babysitting, not having to work full time or parent full time, and dangerous detox diets that make them shed 60 pounds in a 2-3 month period.

I don't think we should be looking to these women as having a healthy lifestyle. Did you see Reese Witherspoon on the Golden Globes last night? She is scary skinny now. Let's not look up to those moms.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 10:15 AM

Reese is going through a divorce right now, which may very well be why she's lost weight. I actually think in terms of her charity work and her family life, she IS a role model, and I do look up to her.

Posted by: Watcher | January 16, 2007 10:22 AM

Where are all the supporting dads in this?

My wife went to the gym for a while (she hates exercising) and I watched our son during that time after I got home from work. We are now trying to find another outlet for her to get some activity. I have told her I will be with the boy whenever she needs to get out.

Now, my exercise is a different matter. I really miss it, but physical problems prevent me from doing so.

Posted by: Working Dad | January 16, 2007 10:26 AM

great guest blog! I too rise early to fit in my workout. I get up at 5:15 am ( I have a long commute into work and have to drop off my kids at school at 7:15 am) to go for a run outside. My husband gets up even earlier 4:30 am to fit in his workout and be available to get the kids started on breakfast etc. It works for us and it gives me energy throughout the day.
On weekends, My family and I take long walks (2-3 miles) and try to get as much outside exercise as possible in a fun way. The kids are very used to going outside to play because their school sends them outside for recess three times a day in every season (only keeping them in on rainy and days where it is actually snowing hard).
I think exercise is one of the key things that help me keep my balance. I have recently also started taking yoga classes at night twice a week after the kids go to bed. It's a really nice complement to running in the morning.

Posted by: downtown mom | January 16, 2007 10:29 AM

"This parenting/sport balance works for my family because daycare is a block away and I work from home."

You also have someone else at home while you're at the gym (hubby? au pair?) willing to get the kids up and feed them the Cheerios or scrambled eggs while you're working out. That's great, and more power to you -- just don't overlook that (or forget to appreciate it) in your calculation. I used to work out in the early morning but I had to do it early enough (beginning at 5:30 am) that I was back in time to be a part of the kids' routine, and eventually that became impossible. When they are old enough to get themselves dressed, at least, I may try it again. In the meantime I fit in workouts at lunch, if at all.

Father of 4, it is difficult to read your comments and not conclude that you've never actually done any housework. If you think it is "exercise" you are just wrong.

Posted by: Used to work out in the am | January 16, 2007 10:30 AM

Exersize not only lowers my blood pressure and glucose levels, it also does quite a number on my IQ. I've learned not to schedule anything that requires logic after working out during lunch.

I do, however, enjoy reading the Mommy blog during this time.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 16, 2007 10:32 AM

The only way to be successful with excercize is to realize that something has to go. That's really easy if you spend lost of time watching TV, but since most of us don't its more about pinching minutes.

Let the housework go. Real exercize is more important that housework. Yes, clean the clothes, the dishes, and the bathroom but stop putting away ever item in the house. There may be pile of books all over my house, but I'm pretty happy and healthy and so is my family.

On another note, unless your spouse's job requires him/her to be a workaholic they can put the kids to bed too. 40 minutes of pilates every other day while dad puts the kids to bed is a great start and is only a $30 investment for DVD and mat.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | January 16, 2007 10:35 AM

Totally off topic but very interesting story in today's NYT, "51% of Women are now living without Spouse."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/16/us/16census.html?hp&ex=1169010000&en=47985bda8ea9f048&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Leslie, A good topic for a column?

Posted by: Fred | January 16, 2007 10:36 AM

speaking of balance - I think that there are inevitable choices to be made. If I wanted to make working out my #1 priority then I could likely look like I did before I had kids. That would mean however, that I would have no time to read, do my woodworking or any of the other things I enjoy. So I've kind of had to find a place that is deciding how much I'm willing to work out, how much extra weight I'm willing to carry and what I'm willing to give up to do the work out. Then, I've just got to be happy with it. The most important thing is being healthy and strong (which is what I tell my kids when they ask why I work out). I can be healthy and strong without being the woman I was when I was 25 physically. Frankly I may be heavier, but I think I'm fitter than I was when I was 25 because I eat better and work out more regularly.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 16, 2007 10:38 AM

Fred, I think it's a great issue. I raised the exercise issue last week with the request that it show up in this blog, and it did. It's a guest blog, and I don't know if my comment is the reason this guest blogger wrote, but hey, it's worth a shot. I'm looking forward to reading the blog about that article, and the comments that follow. :-)

Posted by: Mona | January 16, 2007 10:42 AM

51% of Women are now living without Spouse

I am interested to know the socioeconomic breakdown in this study. Certainly, the overwhelming majority of women I know are married. But I am white, college educated, and upper middle class. The women I work with who are not do seem to be raising children alone (either through divorce or more commonly because they never married) or have never been married.

Posted by: Unreal | January 16, 2007 10:46 AM

There is some breakdown of the figures in the article, I am not going to recap. But as you suspect, white, college educated, and upper middle class tend to be with a spouse.

Posted by: Fred | January 16, 2007 10:51 AM

First - congrats to Meesh for quitting smoking. I did it last year. I agree with the poster above about not trying to do too much at once but I did find that exercising did help with not wanting to smoke as you feel so much better.
Second - there are alot of little things people can do to get their exercise (supposed to get thirty mins of good areobic per day) without a formal exercise time. The thirty minutes doesn't have to be all at once - 10 minute spurts three times a day is good too. Take the stairs. Park farthest away from the door. It all counts.

Posted by: KLB Silver Spring | January 16, 2007 10:53 AM

"there are inevitable choices to be made. If I wanted to make working out my #1 priority then I could likely look like I did before I had kids."

moxiemom, I'm with you. I love working out, but it's not more important to me than bedtime stories and the other time I spend with each of my kids between 7 and 10 during the week. Sure, their dad loves to be dad, but I'm not giving that time with my kids up. Hence, I have great weekend workouts, but until the kids are older, I may not be as fit. This time will be gone soon enough. Too soon, to be honest.

Laura/Mona, losing the baby weight was a non-issue for me each time. My post- and pre- weights were identical within 6 - 8 weeks. What changed is the distribution of those pounds and my age, and the weight challenge is a direct reflection of our decision to have our kids at a later age. My weight gain is not a reflection of eating unhealthy items. It's a reflection of the fact that I am now in my mid-40s, and coloring and reading stories with my 5 year old, and playing tennis (if you call it that) with my pre-teen are not aerobic activities. I spend my free time in less active ways -- for now. When my kids are older, I will joyfully be back at my gym 7 days a week. My husband is well aware of the trade-off and supports it. If he felt differently, we'd go back to the drawing board and evaluate our priorities together.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 16, 2007 10:53 AM

"Where are all the supporting dads in this?"

My husband is usually at gymnastics with our daughter when I take the boy to the gym on Sat. AM. I hope I didn't imply that any of my failure to hit the gym is his fault, i.e., I can't find time because that jerk isn't carrying his weight around the house so I have to do everything -- that's not it at all. It's more like we're both tired in the evenings, he already does a lot with work and kids and chores, so I don't want to dump more responsibility on him (at least not on a regular basis) given everything else he does. Plus I don't want to spend big chunks of evenings and weekends away from the kids myself, since I'm gone so much during the week -- I mean, kids go to bed at 7-7:30, so if I go work out after work, I might not see them at all that evening, which I just haven't been willing to do.

Posted by: Laura | January 16, 2007 11:01 AM

Before kids, I jogged a lot and ran short 5-10K road races. Also went to the gym. Then with Kid#1 began squeezing in a quickie workout on my lunch hour.

By the time I had three kids, finding time for exercise was a nightmare. I always told new moms that pregnancy doesn't make you fat -- it's the inability to exercise once you have the baby that does.

My solution was to put in a small exercise room in the basement. That way, when the kids are napping, watching tv, or asleep for the night, I can sneak downstairs to work out. Sometimes they come with me (oh, joy) and slide down the ab bench while I ride the bike. I needed a way to exercise without leaving the house, and this works great.

My favorite joke on this subject:

First baby, you can't wait to wear maternity clothes.

Second baby, you put off wearing maternity clothes for as long as possible.

Third baby, your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

Posted by: Leslie | January 16, 2007 11:05 AM

Two things: First, I'm beginning to believe that if you were an exerciser before you have kids, it is easier to be an exerciser afterwards. I was always an exerciser. I enjoy working out and competition. Not everyone does. However, given the weight distribution problem as described by NC lawyer, I'm glad I have that exercise predisposition.

I second that recommendation to work out while the kids are doing their atheletic activities. Just doing something worked for me when they were younger. Now that they're older with their more time intensive competitive sports, I like to think I don't look like I'm pushing 50, as much as pulling 30. he he he...

Posted by: dotted | January 16, 2007 11:05 AM

I was always relatively active before having kids, but after the birth of my second baby, exercise became the lowest priority of my life, and it didn't help that my second child had/has physical and developmental disabilities, causing additional emotional, financial, and physical strain for my husband and myself.

About a year and a half ago when my doctor told me to see a psychologist for depression and lose some weight (my weight at that point was the same that it was while seven months pregnant with my first child) I finally took exercise seriously--I made a "no excuses" committment to exercising at least three times a week, preferably five or six. And I was amazed that I could actually find the time when I had always said I had no time for exercise. I started taking one hour lunches twice a week at work (I never took lunch breaks before) to either walk outside or run on a treadmill at the gym. I ran once or twice on weekends too. After getting the kids to bed (DH and I work opposite shifts so except on weekends I can't have him stay with the kids while I exercise outside), I'd put in a pilates or aerobics DVD and would do that for 20 or 30 or 40 minutes. At one point I challenged myself to exercise every single day for a month, just to see if I could--and I did. Some days that just meant ten minutes of jumping rope in the kitchen before packing lunches for the next day and doing the dishes, or jumping on the trampoline with the kids for 20 solid minutes (they thought we were playing), but I always got some kind of hard exercise each day.

I figure now that if I can manage to find the time to exercise in with all of my other committments, anyone can. It might mean going to bed a bit later, or skipping some housework, or getting creative with time management, but it's really worth it. Interestingly, about eight weeks after that doctor's appointment and eight weeks of exercise, the psychologist I had made an appointment with called to cancel the scheduled first appointment and I never called to reschedule--the exercise alone had cured the depression. I don't think it was just the physical activity that did it (althought that was a lot of it) but also because I was finally doing something for myself regularly and taking control of this one aspect of my life. I'm not saying this would work for everyone--I was lucky--but I'm glad I started the exercise when I did.

I really hate exercising, btw; never lucky enough to feel the "runner's high" or anything like that. It's pure work and drudgery for me every time, but the benefits are so worth it.

Posted by: Sarah | January 16, 2007 11:06 AM

Sarah,
I'm impressed. You are a strong woman!

Posted by: dotted | January 16, 2007 11:08 AM

Hi all,

Sorry to hijack your board, but I just found out that it will soon be MY board. (That is, just found out I'm pregnant.) And I have two questions:

First, someone here mentioned that she made good friends on an internet forum of expecting mothers. The ones I've seen (iVillage and its ilk) seem to be full of 12-year-olds, with their "siggies" and emoticons and rainbows and unicorns and bad grammar. Are there any boards for grown-up pregnant women?

Second, I'd love to hear some thoughts on doctors and hospitals versus midwives and birth centers.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Posted by: Totally Off Topic | January 16, 2007 11:09 AM

anybody else get the denise austen workout advertisement on the right side of this blog today? Good ad placement.

Posted by: dotted | January 16, 2007 11:11 AM

For all of you runners out there:

http://www.seemommyrun.com/

I notice lots dads and kids in strollers on the sidelines of local road races these days with signs cheering on mommy. It gives me hope.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | January 16, 2007 11:20 AM

Working out has been a challenge for me since having my 1 year old. I lost the pregnancy weight within 4 months, but I don't workout as regularly as pre-baby.

I used to workout 3 to 4 times a week regularly (half aerobics or running, half pilates). Now it's more like 2 to 3 times a week and for a little bit shorter of a period.

The trouble I am having is that I already get up at 6 am, commute 45 minutes with my daughter, work a 9 hour day, commute 45 minutes home, and don't get home until 6:30 or so at night. By the time my daughter's in bed by 7:30 or 8, I am usually exhausted. And I go to bed by 10, since I NEED 8 hours of sleep. After my daughter's in bed, I am usually too tired to work out, and I also want to spend the time with my husband.

I've been working out when she naps on Fridays (which I take off -- that's why I work 9 hour days) and then at least one of the days on the weekend, when my husband can watch her. Then I try to sneak in a pilates routine or something I can do while watching the idiot box one night a week. My husband gets up at 5 am to work out -- but I am just not cut out for that time of day!

It will get better in spring, I think, when I can pull out the jogging stroller again!


Posted by: DC Mom | January 16, 2007 11:23 AM

Any activity that causes me to break a sweat I consider exercise. this includes scrubbing floors, bathtubs, carrying loads of laundry up and down steps, moving couches and furnature to get to hidden or lost artifacts, mowing the lawn, washing the car, raking leaves, gardening. It's all good.

It's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The best exersize: sex! Amazingly fulfilling. Studies have shown the more you have, the happier you are and the longer you live.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 16, 2007 11:26 AM

One other thing that really worked for us as a family is family bike rides. We are lucky to be near a great trail so we will spend "nice" Sunday am at "family church" and go on a 3 hour bike ride. We got a tag along for the 6 year old which is the one wheeled bike that fits on the back of the grown up bike so he can peddal or not and then we have a trailer for the 4 year old where she sits with snacks and drinks for the family along with a couple of books. It was a pretty significant finanacial investment but it allows us to have time as a family, be fit and help to encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle for our kids.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 16, 2007 11:28 AM

Totally Off Topic --

Congratulations!

I have no thoughts on boards -- ran into same problems you did.

On birth options: the only real advice I can give you is to really think through how you would like things to go, but then also expect things not to go according to plan. I did a very detailed birth plan, and pretty much that whole thing got shot out of the water (sure, you can ask for a birthing ball -- but when you go from 1 to 8 cm in 45 minutes, it might not get there in time!). Fact is, your baby will decide how, when, and where he or she comes out, so don't get deluded into thinking you're actually in control of anything. :-)

I would also put in a plug to seriously consider a hospital for your first baby. I understand that some folks will strenuously disagree with me on this, and that for the vast majority of childbirths, hospitals are completely unnecessary. But the problem is, with the first one you just don't know how your body and the baby are going to react until you're actually there. In my case, both my babies had a real problem getting through the pelvis (all my docs had told me there was plenty of room, no problems, but apparently, freakishly large heads run in the family). If I had not been in a hospital with my first baby, there is a reasonable chance we both would have died (her first apgar was a 2).

I really really really am not trying to be a scaremonger -- my case was very unusual. For me, I chose a hospital for the first, with the idea that once I knew how things went, I would be in a better position to think about a birthing center for no. 2 (not surprisingly, we ended up choosing a hospital for that one as well). And there are things I REALLY did not like about the hospital experience (like not letting me walk around because I was being induced). But if you are interested in a birthing center, I would suggest finding one that is located right next to a hospital, so if you're that one in a hundred or one in a thousand that runs into a problem, you're right where you need to be to get it addressed quickly.

Posted by: Laura | January 16, 2007 11:30 AM

I just realized how much my message sounds like I am apologizing for not working out more. Yet, I should take pride in the fact that I do manage to workout pretty regularly and that I am a pretty healthy person. I am within the normal weight range (though like most people I would love to lose 10 pounds), my physical health is great, and I do what I can to make myself healthier without being obsessive about it.

Why is it that we feel so much pressure to work out as if we were training for some major sporting event? This board was supposed to be about exercise as a means of relaxing -- and yet for many it's far from relaxing.

I am 100% convinced that some people experience the psychological benefits of exercise far more than others. I work out regularly and enjoy it while I am doing it, but my husband gets a high from an aerobic workout that far exceeds what I ever feel. Even when I workout my hardest. So do what you need to do to stay healthy -- and if you enjoy it, do more. But give yourself credit for what you DO get done in a day! It's not easy!


Posted by: DC Mom | January 16, 2007 11:36 AM

I must admit that I am one of those who gets extreme highs from working out - helps me avoid the blues like nothing else. I do need to find a way to balance it out though... currently I am obsessing about finding enough time to train for races this year and I'm not sure it is going to happen and I need to be okay with that.
I tend to do yoga during my lunch three to four times a week, and swimming, running, and biking when I can squeeze it in - even if that means that I get up at five or go as late as ten... I can't wait until it gets lighter out later - I hate running in the dark...

Posted by: s | January 16, 2007 11:46 AM

I totally agree with DC Mom. It's important to work exercise into your schedule, but we don't have to take it to the extreme. I do my best to get out there running four times a week -- with a kid in the stroller on the weekends -- but I'm not training for a marathon, and I need to get the extra hour of sleep on the days I don't get up and run. When baby #2 showed up, I did not run out and get a double stroller -- that was more than I was ready to take on.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | January 16, 2007 11:49 AM


I really should find a way to start incorporating exercise into my day, for the weight/health/energy/mood benefits. But like others I don't want another isolated activity that takes me away from my family, and for me, time after the kids fall asleep or before they wake up doesn't really exist (go to bed at 9, snuggle and read with parents til 10, start the wake-ups at 6:30 - if I do rouse myself after they're asleep it's for shower, work deadlines or house/laundry triage . . . )

Last year we got our kids (now 6 and 9) the Dance Dance revolution game for their GameCube (with mats you dance on at the indicated places/pace to score points; comes on other game platforms too I think). It is fun and quite aerobic exercise; it also made my youngest finally 'get' rhythm and beat in a way that none of her previous kiddy-music classes had (I think it was the visual reinforcement of the heard beat, and the reward for stepping exactly on the beat). At my oldest's slumber party last year the girls all loved it; it was very funny to see them all lined up dancing exactly the same steps at once . . .

Anyway, I keep meaning to leave the mats hooked up in the playroom and to take advantage of that to use it for exercise. Even if the kids join in/take turns (we can run 2 mats at once) it's very aerobic. The kids were very keen on it, using it daily for long periods, last year, though lately their obsession of the moment is webkinz. So at least if I can do this they're likely to join in/keep me company, and if not I'm still in the center of things with them . . . only thing is that it's aerobic enough to prefer scheduling it before a shower . . .

Posted by: KB | January 16, 2007 11:54 AM

Congrats on quitting smoking! My mom did it after chain-smoking for 40 years. That was 6 years ago and she hasn't smoked since. She used Nicorette for 1 year and then quit altogether. She said so many people said it was impossible that she believed them. But once she did it, it wasn't as hard as she thought it would be. You go!

Posted by: m | January 16, 2007 11:58 AM

I get up at 5:15 AM. Shower, dress, nurse the baby, have breakfast while pumping and putting on makeup. Out the door at 6:25 to be at work at 7.
Work 10 straight hours (no lunch hour) so I can leave at 5 PM. Home at 5:45ish - take baby from DH who is a WAHD - and who immediately heads upstairs to get in some work time. Nurse baby. Make dinner. Eat dinner. Nurse baby. Clean up from dinner and get stuff ready for tomorrow morning. Bedtime routine for baby starts at 7 PM. Baby in bed around 8 PM. I go to bed around 9 PM (because baby still gets up at least once a night and I NEED 8 hours - ok really, I need 9, but I've given that up)... and don't really think I should be exercising less than an hour before bedtime.

Granted, I'm working 4 days a week... but when exactly am I supposed to be exercising on those days? I don't get enough sleep as it is (since that 9 PM bedtime easily gets pushed back when anything needs to be done).

I normally don't comment on the blog writers being out-of-touch with regular people... but this one hit a nerve.

We DO try to go out and walk on the weekends, but with the cold weather finally coming in, that's not going to last.

To exercise more, I would have to give up more sleep - and that's just not possible.

Posted by: Mary2again | January 16, 2007 12:01 PM

we also got a bike extension aka kiddie crank & do family bike rides. son has a goal - he wants to bike out to my brother's house to visit with his cousins. that would be a 30 mile ride out & back. we are slowly working up the milege with that goal in mind. son hikes with us but the miles we can hike are limited by his limitations.

weight loss after baby. i gained 60 pounds when i got pregnant & lost almost all of it within 6 months of my son's birth. i had been a big hiker before his birth and after he was born we could put him in the back carrier and were still able to hike. all the came to a grinding halt when son started walking. he no longer was content to sit in the carrier but wanted to practice his new found skill. the miles i walked on the weekends dropped from miles to around the block. i continued to eat like i was still hiking & gained 30 pounds before i realized what had happened. that weight is slow to come off. i am thinking it is my pentence for being such a superior snob to oeveweight people.

Posted by: quark | January 16, 2007 12:02 PM

Anyone see the Globes last night? Could most of the women be any skinnier - it was like the night of the thousand clavicles! Honestly - apalling. Loved Borat.

Posted by: Really off topic | January 16, 2007 12:02 PM

we also got a bike extension aka kiddie crank & do family bike rides. son has a goal - he wants to bike out to my brother's house to visit with his cousins. that would be a 30 mile ride out & back. we are slowly working up the milege with that goal in mind. son hikes with us but the miles we can hike are limited by his limitations.

weight loss after baby. i gained 60 pounds when i got pregnant & lost almost all of it within 6 months of my son's birth. i had been a big hiker before his birth and after he was born we could put him in the back carrier and were still able to hike. all the came to a grinding halt when son started walking. he no longer was content to sit in the carrier but wanted to practice his new found skill. the miles i walked on the weekends dropped from miles to around the block. i continued to eat like i was still hiking & gained 30 pounds before i realized what had happened. that weight is slow to come off. i am thinking it is my pentence for being such a superior snob to overweight people.

Posted by: quark | January 16, 2007 12:03 PM

To respond to "Not Busy" (I love that postname!!), the only suggestion I have --which I just started doing -- is to get a set of very light weights (2 or 3 lbs.) and when you walk from one room to another while doing things when your kids aren't around, pick up a pair of weights and do some bicep crunches, arm lifts, etc., while you walk even those few feet. Sounds silly, but in just a few days, my arms feel firmer and I feel like I'm doing something that takes no extra time but the initial purchasing and positioning of the little weights around the house. Do same thing at work. Good luck!

Posted by: flexbutcrazedworkingmom | January 16, 2007 12:04 PM

Mary2again, You're right all the way -- the folks who say "you have time" often have the time, but shouldn't assume everyone else does. If I exercise during lunch, I have to stay at work later. That's not balance. My commute doesn't allow for exercising in the a.m. before work. The blog writer and her husband, and evidently a few others, are living in a different world from me.

Economics and gender are at play here, as well. We can't afford exercise equipment -- no treadmill in our house -- our gym memberships. Yes, we can walk outdoors, but that opportunity is limited by weather and time of year. I don't feel safe walking after 10 p.m. in the dark by myself. In the summer, this limitation becomes unimportant.

I'm not justifying not exercising, but have a sense that one or two responders believe that any parent not engaged in regular exercise is either lazy or a poor time manager.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 12:08 PM

To Mary2again. You are right. Sometimes, it's just not possible to exercise, or the cost of it (less sleep, for example) simply outweighs the benefits. I would say give it some time. Once you stop nursing, that will free up some time (no more pumping, for one thing). Once the baby sleeps through the night more predictably, you will have more energy and time. Etc.

Posted by: Ajax | January 16, 2007 12:10 PM

Totally Off Topic

hospital, hospital, hospital!

you never know what's going to happen, have an emergency medical team ready in case a ceasarian or other measures are needed to save your baby's life. Pick your doctor based on his/her birth philosophy. Many hospitals try to give you a natural birth experience if you want one, the nurses are into it and the doctors support it.

Where are you located?

Posted by: experienced mom | January 16, 2007 12:25 PM

I started exercising after baby #2. She is heavy, my back was going out, I was unemployed and had time to hit the gym. The Y has babysitting. Turns out I enjoy weightlifting to a certain extent. No "high", but the class I take is fun. And I really like the results, both in my weight/size and seeing my progression of weights. I don't do enough cardio, but we all have to start somewhere.

Now that I'm working again, it's hard to fit in. I went part-time at least somewhat so I could fit in the exercise - my husband works crazy hours, so I can't count on him to be home and watching our girls.

The most important for me is to cut myself a break. No beating myself up if I miss a class, just congratulating myself when I do make it to the gym.

And now that my older is in swim lessons at the Y, I put the younger in babysitting and work out for 1/2 hour. Again, better than not working out, so no guilt about not getting in a full hour.

Posted by: inBoston | January 16, 2007 12:25 PM

Along the same lines as what flexbutcrazedworkingmom wrote, I bought the little weights that you wrap around your ankles and wrists and I wear them at home (when I remember).

Posted by: Meesh | January 16, 2007 12:26 PM

Yes yes yes! Exercise is very important to me. I started running/jogging for exercise in college and grad school, but was interrupted in it when my kids came along. I got back into it after being prodded by my therapist, I was depressed from a lot of issues (and way overweight); my younger child was 18 months then. I had not been a morning exerciser but became one because it seemed the only time that would work. I got up 5 - 5:30 and jogged around the neighborhood while my husband was on duty for the (mostly sleeping) kids. One of the things that really kept me with it was the sense of it as "me" time, I used to especially relish the 15 minutes I spent sitting out on the patio afterward, feeling so good physically and for once not feeling "on call". And it really helped me calm down and relieve stress as well as help me lose weight, have more energy, etc etc.

That was about 20 years ago, and I have been jogging ever since. Mostly in the morning, but if I had to I fit in a jog at lunch time at work or in the evening. In my 50s now, I am in far better shape than most of my peers and am told I look much younger than my age; not that that is the main reason to exercise but it doesn't hurt. I can't do without it now.

I have a whole range of mind games I play with myself to get out there when I don't feel like it. One is, when the alarm goes off, just tell myself I am putting on my running shorts - it is far easier than visualizing the whole run. By the time I had my shorts on I felt awake and ready to go. I always allow myself to run less than usual, but not skip the run totally unless there is a really good reason - it is more important to maintain the habit than to do a lot of exercise, it is easier to increase later on. When I started I felt shy about it because I "wasn't a runner" and I was fat, but learned to look at it that I was doing better than most people, who cares if I was not a "real" athlete. I think that the mental blocks are harder than the physical ones.

I think all sorts of exercise are good but I stuck to running because it is efficient, gets a lot of exercise in in the minimum time, takes little equipment, can be done anywhere (and in almost any weather, really!), doesn't need an appointment or a partner, etc etc. But I like biking and sports as well.

Posted by: Catherine | January 16, 2007 12:32 PM

According to my brother ( a researcher in the field of liver/kidneys), the body has a basic setting of fat levels. It takes some time for the body to adjust to a new 'fat level'. About 6 months to a year once gained, The good news is that you have 6 months during which the fat can be lost relatively easily. The bad news, after 6 months or so, your body has adjusted to your new weight, and now that is your base level, and now the fat is much harder to lose. I am paraphrasing here - but that is the jist of it.

Posted by: G | January 16, 2007 12:33 PM

http://www.familyandhome.org/index.php

family and home network has articles, links and boards. they used to promote staying at home with kids, but now they are more about balancing work and family. Tons of info about babies and pregnancy, through parenting teens and young adults, etc. You might find contacts local to your area.


check out MOPS - mothers of preschoolers. Babies count as preschoolers! They have lots of meetings and activities.

Posted by: experienced mom | January 16, 2007 12:34 PM

Quark, lol. I felt so proud of myself when we got the baby backpack and I was getting us out and about a lot -- this was back when I was working part-time and going to the gym 5-6x a week, so I was hugely proud of myself that I could carry the backpack longer and faster than my husband! Then my daughter started walking, and the backpack has been gathering dust since then. Although now that she's 5, we've discovered she can ride her bike while we walk, and we all keep a more reasonable pace -- and luckily, her brother seems to really enjoy just sitting in the backpack (though since he's already 30 lbs, we can't take it for too long!).

Ditto on the weight as well. I gained 60+ lbs with both pregnancies. And no, it wasn't that I just decided it was a great excuse to go hog-wild -- I really hate that whole concept that if you gain more than 25-30 lbs, you're just a pig. Heck, I worked with a dietician with my second, and gained even more than with the first! But with my first, all of that weight just dropped off within the first 3 months, without me even trying. With the second, I dropped like a stone to within @ 15 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight, but then it just stopped -- guess I'm just older.

Posted by: Laura | January 16, 2007 12:42 PM

I agree with experienced mom about the hospital. I had my daughter at Arlington Medical Center and I thought the staff there were great. I had an easy delivery, but you never know when you will need a doctor.

As far as exercising goes, I try to walk. I am not much of a gym person because I fear germs, yeah really I do. I have a membership and never go, but am going to try to get there after all the ice melts!

Posted by: scarry | January 16, 2007 12:44 PM

Mary2again--I can't imagine keeping up the exercise I do now while having a nursing infant and working FT. OTOH, I've found that exercising within an hour before bedtime is entirely possible--that's when I exercise with DVD's at home (pilates is even somewhat relaxing) and while some people might get too revved up by exercising to be able to sleep immediately afterwards, I suspect most working parents are pretty good at nodding off whenever they get the opportunity, no matter what their recent activity level was!

Economics shouldn't be a factor. Two or three exercise DVDs aren't horribly expensive. You can also find a lot of them secondhand for just a few dollars. Jumpropes are cheap, and ten minutes with one while dinner cooks will get your heart rate up nicely. DH uses gallons of milk (milk gone, filled with water) as free weights. Walking outside in the winter is miserable, but do-able.

I had to really change my mindset about exercise after having kids. It's not something that requires a complete change of clothes, 45 minutes of attention, a shower and a change of clothes afterwards. I walk in my work clothes and just change shoes. I devote ten minutes to exercise if all I can carve out is ten minutes. I stick in a Wiggles video for the kids and dance along with it. I look and feel like a total idiot but you wouldn't believe what a great workout those dances are, and the kids think it's the funniest thing EVER. I'm not training for competition--I'm just trying to avoid stagnation.

Posted by: Sarah | January 16, 2007 12:49 PM

G,

Can you re-set your fat levels? Yikes!

Posted by: scarry | January 16, 2007 12:50 PM

Oh, how I WISH I could get dear hubby to go along with helping me get my exercise in before my work day. Problem is, I work from home and he sees it as my "free" time when I should be able to accomodate a work-out!

Gotta do something, though --- the mid-forties pounds are creeping on!

http://punditmom1.blogspot.com

Posted by: PunditMom | January 16, 2007 12:52 PM

Don't get hung up on having to go to a gym or outdoors, or having special equipment to exercise. Ten or fifteen minutes with a jumproap is killer. And you can use your own body weight as an exercise tool while doing sit-up, push-ups, and squats. Pump that can of corn over your head ten times before opening it when making dinner. Over the years I've found that the time I spend doing exercise really isn't time out of my day- the increased stamina I get from it evens out. (And yes, I work 10+ hours five days a week.)

Posted by: childfree but equal | January 16, 2007 12:56 PM

Totally Off Topic

I vote for a hospital too. My first baby was "easy" and the cord was wrapped around her neck only once.

My second child stood a very real chance of dying as did I--as the cord was around his neck twice as well as around his chest. I would have a contraction and his heartrate plummeted. Not to mention he never turned properly, his head was very large--I was almost filleted in order to get him out FAST.

So, even with one baby down, you just never know what can go wrong, and if there will be TIME to get somewhere ELSE.

Just because you are in a hospital doesn't mean you have to avail yourself of all their services, nor does it doom you to a drug-resistant staph infection.

(But I did raise enough of a ruckus that I was released in less than 24 hours with both kids. I was and AM the sort of person you have to hog-tie to the bed rather than prod out of it, even 30 minutes post-partum.)

Good luck. Prepare yourself for what you want, then be prepared to change your mind.

Posted by: MdMother | January 16, 2007 12:58 PM

my husband & i also wrestled with the spend time with family versus spend time exercising since we really couldn't do both. family time won out. now that son is older we're trying to make family exercise time.

last summer, once i was comfortable with son's biking on the street safety sense i started skating while he biked. i wasn't out there in my spandex like i had been pre-child but that was a workout.

we also got dance, dance revolution. that worked well. we haven't gotten it out since we moved but i maybe i'll do that tonight.

yes, i have read about fat index. i realize that i'm working against a whole lotta factors in trying to lose weight but i'm determine to lose it.

Posted by: quark | January 16, 2007 1:02 PM

Does anyone else find the lunchtime exercisers who return to work drenched in sweat more than slightly unpleasant? I hate having to be in meetings with these people after lunch.

I try to walk during my lunchtime, but I don't think that I exert enough energy to make a difference. I perspire easily, don't have a place to change clothes or shower, and have a limited amount of time for lunch, so I don't push myself.

I, too, find that I see exercise as one more thing to take me away from my family. My husband has a physical job, not a desk job, and has no desire to exercise outside of work. I'd rather not walk alone, and the kids don't keep a pace that is fast enough. They are school-age and would rather watch bugs, jump over sidewalk cracks, and do other things than keep a steady pace with me.

I have picked up weight over the years, but my husband doesn't mind. At times when I have complained about picking up weight or clothes not fitting, he just says that I should buy something bigger that will be more comfortable and will make me look better because it won't be tight. Says he love who I am, not how I look. Wonderful, but doesn't give any extra boost to the motivation.

I find that people I know who are transplants tend to be able to find more time to exercise than those who have family in the area. We spend at least one weekend day every week or two with our parents, siblings, cousins, etc. Not necessarily all day long, but the amount of weekend time we spend with family does affect the amount of free time we have for our own pursuits.

Posted by: anotherworkingmom | January 16, 2007 1:07 PM

Experienced mom, I'm in the District, and am leaning towards GW. However, there's a lot to the idea that "you're not sick, you're pregnant" so I understand the desire to hand yourself to people who view pregnancy and childbirth from a perspective other than the medical.

And, I've heard horror stories about hospital L&D nurses who live on absolutes: mustn't walk, mustn't eat or drink, not allowed to refuse the IV or the monitor... I don't think I'd cope real well with someone telling me what I'm not allowed to do at that particular moment.

With an HMO and a two-week wait to get even a preliminary appointment, I'm not sure how feasible it would be to interview doctors about their birth philosophy. Doctors in this town seem to be totally inaccessible, and not likely to sit down for friendly chats about what kind of birth experience I want. It's just my impression. I'd love for someone to tell me I'm wrong, and then tell me how to handle it!

Cheers everyone.

Posted by: Totally off topic | January 16, 2007 1:08 PM

"And, I've heard horror stories about hospital L&D nurses who live on absolutes: mustn't walk, mustn't eat or drink, not allowed to refuse the IV or the monitor... I don't think I'd cope real well with someone telling me what I'm not allowed to do at that particular moment."

I had those nurses and got over it. Hence, I respectfully disagree, in this context. You are in control of the practice you selected, and the hospital at which you'll deliver (assuming you make it to the hospital). At the point when you are in labor, the most important thing to you in the universe is delivering a healthy baby, and survival. If you are comfortable with the hospital you've chosen (ours was Holy Cross and they were absolutely wonderful), you will cope well knowing that, in any event, you have no other option than to cope if you're going to deliver this baby, have her/him be healthy (to the extent any of us can control that outcome) and survive. The world actually gets very simple and focused for those hours in which you labor with Child 1.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 1:19 PM

Rain was in the forecast when we planned to go to Busch Gardens for our family vacation so instead we bought a trampoline with the money we would have otherwised spent at the amusement park.

20 minutes jumping on that thing in the morning puts me silly for the rest of the day.

And for the kids, they love it. When they are driving me nuts, I give them a choice:
1. Go to your room.
2. Jump on the trampoline until you sweat.

The trampoline gets used almost everyday. Just yesterday, I was watching a group of my son's neighborhood friends. In order to jump on our trampoline, the rule is to do 100 jumps by themselves to get the hang of it. then they can jump as a group.

It took about 2 minutes a piece to flatten out each kid.

I love it when the boys fall asleep before bbedtime!

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 16, 2007 1:20 PM

Hi, and thanks for the comments on my piece today.

A few notes - my kids were 18 mos before I began swimming regularly. It is wimpy to say it was just too hard before that point?

When they were infants and still breasfeeding, I was on duty 24/7 to nurse them and too exhausted from sleep deprivation to willingly get up early for exercise. (I was off paid work for six months.)

At 5 mos I tried to go to an 8 p.m. masters swim after pumping (so pleasant), but was dead tired so that time slot didn't stick.

I am not at all a morning person, and remain surprised that I get up early 3-4 mornings/wk to swim. But it is the only time I have found that consistently works.

Yeah, my husband is the support that lets me leave the house for this. He also 'allows' me to put in ear plugs if the kids are waking at night, and deals with them. He has a sacred Sunday morning sleep-in.

His efforts, more than any material things which do nothing for me, lead to a very Happy Mama, which is so much better for family life than Crabby Mom.

As for commuting, clearly it sucks up the exact blocks of time one could use for exercise.

We have said NO to moving to the 'burbs for this reason.

It is much more costly to live in the city. We have a small, old, un-reno'd house and one small, old car. This doesn't matter 'cause we also have time.

How much choice do you have in where to live? Where does a healthy lifestyle rank in your priorities?

Posted by: Alison | January 16, 2007 1:20 PM

"Good luck. Prepare yourself for what you want, then be prepared to change your mind."

Sounds like excellent advice, not just for childbirth but for parenting.

Finding a good Ob/GYN in DC is like finding an honest man in Congress. It is dispiriting if you don't have an awesome provider during this exciting and sometimes scary time in your life. Trust your instincts and remember that most women in the world do it successfully without thos What to Expect books. Mother nature knows what she's doing and remember that your wedding day is just a day and marriage is about a lot more than that day. Having your child is one day (hopefully) and you have a lifetime together too. I'm envious - I'd love to go back and do it the first time again - nothing like it at all. Magic. Although I'm one of thos wackos that thinks being pregnant and giving birth is a privelidge and feel sorry for my dh since he doesn't get to experience it.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 16, 2007 1:20 PM

TOT - I have HMO coverage and had a natural childbirth. It was in a hospital because I think giving birth anywhere else is irresponsible.

I was prepared, didn't go in too early, stayed calm, and delivered with very little intervention.

With an HMO, particularly one where the Docs rotate, you are in control. They follow your lead unless things get dangerous, which is why you need them.

Posted by: RoseG | January 16, 2007 1:21 PM

I really appreciated this guest blog. I have two kids, 3 and 5 and have been a stay at home mom the whole time. The only days I have not exercised have been when I've just had a baby, or am deathly ill. For two years after my second was born, I ran with them in a jogging stroller. If our house had been on fire, I would have gotten my kids out first, and then the stroller. It was my best friend, and my husband recently suggested that I sell it and get a single, since my older son is now in school and never run with him anymore, but I am so attached to it that I don't think I can do it. FOR ANYONE WHO THINKS THEIR KIDS WILL NOT SIT STILL FOR AN HOUR IN THE JOGGING STROLLER: I started my kids young, and I gave them a small treat when they first got in and let them take one toy. After that, I would put my headphones on and turn the volume up and hell or high water could not stop me! If they dropped their toy, I wouldn't stop (sometimes I would see it after turning around, or the next day and I would grab it then). If they cried, they cried, it was for an hour max, and after a few weeks, I can count the number of times they cried during runs on one hand. When it was raining, or really cold, my rain cover did the trick. I have, at various times, tried other solutions to fitting activity in, from gyms with childcare to hiring a babysitter to getting up early, before my husband leaves, and by far and away, the stroller has been the best fit for me. I could run anytime I wanted, got an even better workout than running alone and my kids came to love it (and got outside time every day). And nothing in the world beats blowing past another runner while pushing a hundred pounds of kid and stroller, plus all the encouraging looks and comments I would get from people out on the trail. I even used to see a woman running with two babies and a toddler in a TRIPLE jogging stroller and evertime I saw her I wanted to yell YOU GO GIRL!! I can't say enough good things about having a jogging stroller. I would suggest you invest in a really good one (my double was about 400$), especially if you plan to use it everyday. Good luck to all who are working on exercise as a new year's resolution! You can do it, no matter what your lifestyle, if you make it a priority!

Posted by: runnermom | January 16, 2007 1:23 PM

I've found a hobby that enables me to exercise as part of my daily routine. I'm fortunate enough to live within biking distance of work and do so most days of the year. It's not just "exercise": It's how I get to work and it's fun. Plus, it's a burnoff of some 700 - 800 calories each time I commute round trip! If one is busy, exercise has to be part-and-parcel of everyday life, or it gets lost in the shuffle.

Posted by: Eliott | January 16, 2007 1:25 PM

Quark, you play Dance, Dance Revolution?

I think I just heard a Mom advocating a video game. I am starting to tear up, here...

Posted by: Wow | January 16, 2007 1:28 PM

I've found a hobby that enables me to exercise as part of my daily routine. I'm fortunate enough to live within biking distance of work and do so most days of the year. It's not just "exercise": It's how I get to work and it's fun. Plus, it's a burnoff of some 700 - 800 calories each time I commute round trip! If one is busy, exercise has to be part-and-parcel of everyday life, or it gets lost in the shuffle.

Posted by: Eliott | January 16, 2007 1:30 PM

Has anyone tried the Leslie Sansone "Walk Away the Pounds" DVDs? I was doing reasonably well with a walking routine before the weather turned cold but need something aerobic for indoors now. I saw the DVDs on a website where I've purchased some decent Yoga DVDs. Sansone's website advertises some DVDs that incorporate a spiritual element, something I'm not interested in. Does anyone know if all of her DVDs have the religious part or are some straight exercise?

Posted by: Another Librarianmom | January 16, 2007 1:31 PM

I'm all for running when and where you can but I think my kid's outside time should be spent with him running around instead of just me. He likes the jogging/bike stroller as long as he is only in it on the way to the park, river, wherever so he can run around and play...

Posted by: s | January 16, 2007 1:33 PM

My exercise consists of commuting to work by bicycle. I've been doing this for about 10 years. My commute has varied from 8 miles to 30 miles. At all times, biking has been the fastest, cheapest, most environmentally friendly, and relaxing option to get to work. Since it costs about $28 per day to park, very few "ham and eggers" can afford this option. Biking from 30 miles took about 1:45 while the train/subway option took 2 hours. As a result, biking has helped me be more balanced since I'm home longer in the morning and return earlier in the evening.

Posted by: equal_too | January 16, 2007 1:34 PM

What's a "ham and egger"?

to runnermom - you have found your solutions. thanks for sharing, but honestly, I wouldn't run in the cold or rain by myself, much less with a stroller.

also, as someone already mentioned, the cost of a jogging stroller can be hard on families on a budget.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 1:42 PM

equal_too, I'm not disagreeing with the substance of your comment, but I am confused. You said biking is the cheapest option to get to work, but it costs about $28 per day to park. Is $28 per day really the least expensive commuting option you have? Where do you live and work?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 1:44 PM

What's a "ham and egger"?

to runnermom - you have found your solutions. thanks for sharing, but honestly, I wouldn't run in the cold or rain by myself, much less with a stroller.

also, as someone already mentioned, the cost of a jogging stroller can be hard on families on a budget.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 1:45 PM

A "ham and egger" is a term my buddies and I use to describe a working class person. I'm not sure of the origin. Maybe it was in a pub about 10-15 years ago.

Posted by: equal_too | January 16, 2007 1:48 PM

Another Librarianmom--I know a lot of people who have used the Leslie Sansone WATP videos. I've never heard anything about a "spiritual element," though. They are pretty decent workouts, from all I've heard, although several people have commented on the chatter between the women in the video--apparently it can get on your nerves. But people who are bothered by this just put on their own music and turn the sound down.

Posted by: Sarah | January 16, 2007 1:48 PM

$400 for a jog stroller? I just can't relate to this.

and if a toy is dropped, you don't stop to pick it up? Tell me again what the kiddos get out of this other than fresh air? you're a SAH mom, and your husband can't watch the kids after work so you can run on your own without confinining the kids in a stroller in all kinds of weather? Clearly this works for you and your husband, but it makes no sense to me.

I'd much rather walk with my kids to a park a couple of miles away and stop to watch the butterflies, snakes, and various dogs on the pathway, play on the playground when we get there, and race each other for short distances on the way back, and run or work out after my husband gets home.

To each his own.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 1:56 PM

"And, I've heard horror stories about hospital L&D nurses who live on absolutes: mustn't walk, mustn't eat or drink, not allowed to refuse the IV or the monitor... I don't think I'd cope real well with someone telling me what I'm not allowed to do at that particular moment."

Me, too -- I ran into all that stuff, and it drove me completely nuts. Least favorite was when they delayed my induction by a day because I'd had a glass of milk (had gestational diabetes and was worried about blood sugar crash, and no one told me otherwise). But the good(?) news was, after the first hour or two, I was in too much pain to worry about it any more. :-)

FYI, those rules are likely set by the hospital, not your doc or the nurse (in my case, my doc happened to be the one who had written the rules for the hospital, so she was un-effing-believably stringent). Most hospitals offer tours for expecting parents, so you should be able to figure those things out in advance despite the problems getting in to see a doc.

And btw, despite my aggravation, I'd take my doc again in a heartbeat, because she knew her stuff and did everything necessary to get me through a very risky pregnancy, and I ended up with a healthy baby boy. Which is the only thing that matters in the end.

Posted by: Laura | January 16, 2007 1:56 PM

I hate to exercise pretty much more than anything else in the whole world. I hate radical Islam more, but not by much.

Incidental exercise is a different ball of wax. When I started grad school, I used to get a ton of exercise walking back and forth to school (about 2 miles away from my apartment), especially when carrying tons of books. I don't have much incidental exercise in my life anymore, so I take one of my dogs on long walks through different neighborhoods. He gets to chase squirrels, I get to see parts of the city I might not otherwise, and we both have a good time. Well, an okay time. I also take the stairs instead of using elevators and walk to do my errands as much as I can.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 16, 2007 1:58 PM

"How much choice do you have in where to live? Where does a healthy lifestyle rank in your priorities?"

Allison- thank you for including that comment on our lifestyles today!


We also choose to stay in the city for lifestyle reasons. We have 2 hrs more time per day since we don't commute and we walk EVERYWHERE. We have 1 car that we paid for with cash that we barely use. We also live in an apartment instead of a 3000 sq ft mcmansion that we would be able to afford in the burbs.

I walk my daughter to school, then I walk to work, then pick her up and walk home. I walk about an hour/day during the week and about 2-3 hrs on the weekends on playground, museum trips, etc..

I grew up in the burbs and I really didn't enjoy the lifestyle. I love walking everywhere, especially in DC- I fall in love with the city through nice leisurely walks in all different neighborhoods. It's built in exercise that invigorates me daily.

Great point Allison!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | January 16, 2007 2:06 PM

This is for Mona, who posted way up there and seems a little worried:
When I got pregnant the first time, one of my biggest worries was that I'd never be in good shape again and that I'd be fat for life. I shouldn't have worried at all about that (hell, there were plenty of other things to worry about!). It turned out that I lost weight pretty quickly -- I breastfed what seemed like all the time, which is a big calorie burner -- and actually got into great shape by walking for hours on end with my baby in a front carrier and, later, a backpack.
I am a very serious runner, and I would say the hikes with baby were equivalent to hard, long runs. I did miss out on many of the races I usually do, but that was a temporary loss.
Things get more complicated with a second or third or subsequent child, and not all babies or toddlers have a tolerance for sitting for long periods in a jogging stroller or backpack. Still, I've found that I can stay in shape by being very efficient in my workouts. I don't do those three- or four-hour mountain runs anymore, but I do a lot more speed work, for example. And the gym's child care center is very important to my life and happiness.
As for women using pregnancy as an "excuse" to eat more than they should, I think this is a myth, for the most part. Pregnant women are notoriously queasy, and many have a hard time eating anything at all. Often, junky and oily food is the precise stuff that makes pregnant women feel sick, and they tend to avoid it. It is helpful, though, when you're in the throes of nausea to eat frequently, especially protein and complex carbs, because an empty stomach makes things much worse. And when pregnant women do crave some kind of food, my observation is that it's something like grapefruit or some other wholesome fare that, probably, their bodies need for some reason. In general, I think pregnant women are going to gain whatever weight their bodies need to pack on, and the amount of food they take in -- within reasonable parameters -- doesn't have much effect on the total poundage.
In sum, this is not what should worry you. There are so many other things to worry about!

Posted by: anon mom | January 16, 2007 2:06 PM

Totally Off Topic:

I would have to recommend that you have your baby in a hospital if possible. I had both my babies at Sibley in DC, and it was a fantastic hospital. My first son's birth was completely normal. My second son turned himself around in such a complicated way (even though he had been in the proper position -head down- the entire pregnancy), that my emergency c-section after my water broke was truly an emergency. The doctors had such a difficult time getting him out, that they had to make an incision up to my belly button to get him out. His first apgar score was very low, but thankfully he quickly rebounded. He is a very healthy and happy 8 month old baby now, but I am so very thankful that I was in a good hospital. Good luck with everything!

Posted by: KG | January 16, 2007 2:07 PM

I think too many people get caught up in trying to lose weight as if the bathroom scale is the determiner of well-being.

The point of diet and exercize is to feel good. Not withstanding pregnancy, Studies show that only 1 in 20 people can lose a substancial amount of weight and keep it off.

So, if you're anything like the 95% of the rest of us, you may want to make your personal goal of your exersize program to keep healthy and be able to do the physical things that you enjoy.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 16, 2007 2:10 PM

Mona,

I only gained ten pounds with my daughter and she weighed seven, so I left the hospital in my jeans. Believe me, there are worse things then gaining weight when pregnant. :)

Posted by: scarry | January 16, 2007 2:13 PM

Also -- In defense of expensive strollers:
If you use a stroller daily, you need a good one. And if you travel over rough terrain -- dirt trails, gravel roads, ice, snow drifts, etc. -- a sturdy ATV stroller is a necessity. I live in a northern climate. I had a cheap stroller, and while using it on a downtown street in March, a front wheel just snapped off after bumping into a relatively small amount of ice buildup on the sidewalk. The stroller was ruined, and I had to carry it and my baby around for the rest of the day. Not good. Those run-of-the-mill plastic type strollers are OK for inside the mall, but not for the real outdoors.

Posted by: anon mom | January 16, 2007 2:14 PM

Alison, I'm with you. I'd so much rather live in the city than commute every day. To me, there is nothing more boring than driving. I despise my daily commute from Rockville to College Park, especially when all that's on the radio is lame morning shows, no music (and my car is old and about to go to Purple Heart; I am not installing a cd player). I would much prefer a spacious apartment or condo in the city, walking/biking/pubtrans distance to work, than a large house and two SUVs in the suburbs. But the boyfriend swears it's only acceptable to raise kids in a house, hates the city, and we'll have to compromise if we want to be together. I just hope he's prepared to carpool, because I absolutely despise commuting. I agree with you that it's probably much easier to exercise when you don't have to spend two hours in traffic.

Posted by: Mona | January 16, 2007 2:20 PM

anon mom, I agree with you, but consider that this raises the issue once again of economics. The average family cannot afford a $400 "investment" in non-essential equipment. If one has an extra $400 in the ol' budget, great. But this becomes the board of the privileged with comments like "ham and egger" and references to $400 play equipment. What a turn-off.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 2:22 PM

10 pounds with a seven pound baby? Don't believe it for a minute. See below:

Baby - 7½ pounds
Enlargement of uterus - 2 pounds
Placenta - 1½ pounds
Amniotic fluid - 2 pounds
Breast enlargement - 2 pounds
Extra blood and fluid volume - 8 pounds
Extra fat stores - 7 pounds
Total - 30 pounds

Posted by: to scarry | January 16, 2007 2:23 PM

"$400 for a jog stroller? I just can't relate to this."

Me either, Thank God!!! My form of exercise? Wonderful CF sex! It's best when the end result isn't a baby!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 2:24 PM

More in defense of expensive strollers. I've used mine 2 - 4 times a week for five years. $400 stroller / 60 months = less than $7 a month. If you really use the stroller, it's a great deal. And I've got a four years of running with a kid still to go.

To RunnerMom: YOU GO GIRL!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | January 16, 2007 2:25 PM

anon mom and scarry: thanks so much for the info. I'm filing all this away in my mental "for later use" file.

Posted by: Mona | January 16, 2007 2:26 PM

Wow, some people. Patronize much?

I live 45 minutes away from my job because this is where we can afford a house with a decent school system. I work full-time because I carry the health insurance. Why yes, a healthy lifestyle ranks reasonably high in my priority list... but a house in a safe neighborhood, and health insurance for my entire family actually rank higher.

FWIW, I'm not trying to lose pregnancy weight. I did that the first week after I had the baby. I actually lost an additional 25 lbs because of nursing. I just wanted to be more in shape.

It looks like I just have to wait a while. I can just see my toddler hanging on my legs while I try to jump rope (although the jump rope in and of itself isn't a bad idea). Now, where to jump so the house isn't shaking and I'm not waking up the kid...

Posted by: Mary2again | January 16, 2007 2:26 PM

do those who run ever use a treadmill? Do you find you get the same quality of run when you do use one versus just running?

Posted by: s | January 16, 2007 2:27 PM

to "to scarry":

If you're going to be snarky, you might want to pick a topic you know more about than how much weight Scarry gained when she was pregnant. She's ultimately the only who knows that info, capice?

Second, when someone says she gained a certain amount of pounds during pregnancy, you should allow for the fact that she might have lost weight during the initial 6 months due to nausea and/or various other health factors, and regained baby related weight.

btw, I gained 13 pounds with the first baby and 17 pounds with the second. Wanna bet me? I love taking easy money from know-it-alls.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 2:28 PM

"10 pounds with a seven pound baby? Don't believe it for a minute."

I can't speak for Scarry, but I believe it's possible. I was so sick with morning sickness all day long, that I actually lost weight during the first half of my pregnancy. I also gave up my bad eating habits while pregnant so when i did start gaining it wasn't the typical amount.

Posted by: anonfornow | January 16, 2007 2:29 PM

s, I find treadmills disorienting. Moving your legs while the ground moves underneath you is way different than you moving yourself over the ground. It's great for some, I'm sure, and I used to love the treadmill. But now it's track or trail for me.

Posted by: Mona | January 16, 2007 2:29 PM

Choice about where to live? How timely! My husband and I are now facing the difficult choice about staying in the city or moving to the suburbs.

I think the reality is that most people simply can't afford to stay in the city with kids, even if they'd like to. At least for DC, that is. The vast majority of public schools here are very poor quality, and the price of houses (or even 2 or 3 bedroom condos) in neighborhoods with decent quality schools are simply out of most people's price ranges at this point. To live in them you either had to purchase in a much better market or you have much more money than most of us. Sure, there is the select good charter school or public school here and there, but then what happens in middle school and high school? And if you pay for private school, you're again in a different income bracket.

Posted by: DC Mom | January 16, 2007 2:31 PM

First child: 18 pound weight gain - 7 pounds, 8 ounces

Second child: 15 pound weight gain - 6 pounds, 4 ounces (and also 3 weeks early)

You don't have to gain 30 pounds to have a healthy sized baby.

Posted by: little weight gain too | January 16, 2007 2:33 PM

$400 for an all-weather jog/bike stroller is an investment in your health and sanity. Consider it a piece of sporting equipment. You need quality equipment if you are going to use it daily or even twice daily, for years.

The cost works out to just pennies per use.
I have a friend whose total family income is $30,000 and they bought one instead of a car - they asked for donations toward their Chariot instead of baby gifts.

Worth every cent:
www.chariotcarriers.com

Posted by: Alison | January 16, 2007 2:35 PM

Mona -- me too! I have to hold on to the wall after I run on a treadmill because I feel the motion afterwards. The other drawback for me of the treadmill is that it's just too easy to hop off of it -- If I run 3 mile away from my house, I HAVE to run 3 miles back!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | January 16, 2007 2:35 PM

To say "I only gained 10 lbs when I was pg" is a lot different than "I only gained 10lbs. because I lost 20 throwing up for the first 3. It is physiologically impossible to give birth to a 7 lb. baby and only gain 10 lb. from your weight the day you conceived. Can't be done.

Posted by: to scarry | January 16, 2007 2:35 PM

On the strollers -- you can buy used and save lots of $$$$, or even use hand-me-downs and pay nothing.
Decisions about strollers and, for me, baby backpacks became somewhat analagous to those about cars. Not everyone needs an AWD or big pickup, but some people truly do. Same with tough, high-quality gear for hauling babies. If it's something that's important to your life, your health, your happiness and your safety and your kids' safety, the expense -- measured out over the long time period in which the gear will be used -- isn't really that oppressive.
Put it this way: Say you buy a lousy baby carrier -- or no baby carrier -- and wind up throwing out your back while trying to haul your little one around. In the long run, that's a lot more expensive than paying up front for the right gear to use from the beginning.

Posted by: anon mom | January 16, 2007 2:36 PM

Mona, I find the same thing (thought maybe it was just me) and I don't seem to work as hard on a treadmill - probably the whole moving yourself idea. It has just been difficult finding time to run as my other has gone back to school and I have to be home in the evenings with my son. I might have to resort to running at 10pm in the dark again... crazy considering I am up at 5ish am.

Posted by: s | January 16, 2007 2:37 PM

How about Baltimore? No boring suburbs and long commute, close to DC and the eastern shore, much less expensive cost of living, still lots of culture and livliness, and you are more likely to have extra $ to send the kids to private school.

Posted by: citymom | January 16, 2007 2:37 PM

I appreciate all the comments about how much easier it is to have the lifestyle that allows for exercise with a shorter non-existent commute. But I have to add again that those who have a long commute can also make it work. I was born and raised in the city (DC) and I now live in the suburbs. My commute is one hour and 15 minutes each way. However, I exercise every morning by rising early (as I said before) and exercising after the kids go to bed. I have wonderful walking paths near my house and my family and I go on 1-2 hour walks each weekend day. It's true we don't see a lot of other families out there walking. I also take the stairs at work and at the metro and try to add in extra walking in my office building by getting up to deliver a message instead of sending e-mail.
My point is this can be done without moving to the city. If you want to live in the city--great but if you need to or even want to live in the suburbs you can still find time to exercise.
By the way, even when I was nursing my kids 24-7 I still exercised, I just didn't get as much sleep. Not sure that was the best choice but it all worked out.

Posted by: downtown mom | January 16, 2007 2:38 PM

I'm with you Anon Mom -- not everyone needs the fancy stroller. I love my $15 small, portable umbrella stroller for short walks and the mall. But I love my fancy Baby Jogger for running -- what I find amusing is that so man people have running strollers that are in pristine condition -- my old "depreciated" running strollers is proof that I've been using it as sports equipment!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | January 16, 2007 2:40 PM

DC Mom, the only way the schools are going to get better is if interested parents stay in the city and get involved. If you've loved living in the city, maybe it's time to give a little back, in the form of your committment to the schools. A little work on the part of just a few people can make a huge improvement for many.
I plan on staying in the city and sending my kids to public schools for as long as it's feasible. I plan on becoming the bane of Mayor Fenty's existence, always hounding him to make good on those campaign promises. It's not impossible to have good urban schools, and I want a stake in that game!

Posted by: WDC | January 16, 2007 2:41 PM

To the person who claims Scarry couldn't have only gained ten pounds - the same thing happened to a friend of mine - now I don't know Scarry's circumstance, but my friend was approximately 30-40lbs overwieght when she became pregnant and her wieght shifted, from fat to baby. Again Scarry maybe was normal weight and became underwieght, but still it is possible. (I guess she didn't get those few pounds of fat stores you mentioned in your first response)

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | January 16, 2007 2:47 PM

WDC, tell us about this after you actually have children in sub-par public schools. There's politics and then there's your very own child's only chance at first grade, or third grade, or 6th grade. She only has one life to be safe, and to be motivated to love school. My politics make me volunteer. My daughter makes me make the best decisions for her, today, with the options we have available to us, whether or not those decisions are a good fit with my politics.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 2:48 PM

ah, youth.

Posted by: to WDC | January 16, 2007 2:48 PM

Who is this anonymous idiot who seems to know so much about what's possible and not possible during pregnancy? Sounds like a man, or a woman who put on 60 pounds.

To scarry and others: you're so fortunate, and an inspiration. I'm sure that a sensible lifestyle had a lot to do with it, and good genes, too. Go ahead, feel a little smug. You likely earned it. (Someone posted previously that in her experience few pregnant women actually "ate for two", I've known quite a few who used their pregnance as an excuse to eat entire bags of hershey's miniatures in one sitting.)

Posted by: I'm anon too! | January 16, 2007 2:49 PM

WDC, tell us about this after you actually have children in sub-par public schools. There's politics and then there's your very own child's only chance at first grade, or third grade, or 6th grade. She only has one life to be safe, and to be motivated to love school. My politics make me volunteer. My daughter makes me make the best decisions for her, today, with the options we have available to us, whether or not those decisions are a good fit with my politics.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 2:49 PM

s, don't beat yourself up over using a treadmill instead of running outside. Any exercise you can get is good, especially considering the challenges parents here have described in trying to exercise! If a treadmill is what you have to use, it's much better than losing sleep! Raise the incline or the speed to get a better workout, or throw in some free weights afterwards to keep burning calories, but please, don't be hard on yourself if you have to use a treadmill when you'd rather be running outside. You're still doing something good for your body.

Posted by: Mona | January 16, 2007 2:50 PM

My mom was very tiny when she got pregnant with me (and still is, actually). I weighed 8.5 lbs and she only put on about 12 lbs while pregnant with me. She didn't gain no 7 lbs in fat stores, she didn't gain no 8 lbs in extra blood, and she sure as hell didn't gain no 2 lbs in breast enlargement, to my dad's dismay.

I'm taller and larger-boned than my mom and will almost certainly gain more during pregnancy than she did.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 16, 2007 2:53 PM

My husband and I need to exercise for our mental and physical health. He commutes by bike daily, I try for at least twice a week. I run twice during the week at 5:45am (with other women, thank goodness! I'd never get out of bed on my own!) On the weekends we get time for longer workouts, hopefully on both Sat & Sun. We bike with the kids and go to the playground or walk in Rock Creek as often as the weather allows. My husband and I make exercise a priority for us and the kids (now 4 and 6) because we have found it is key to our overall balance and happiness.

One of the things I liked to do when I was a SAHM (I've been back at work FT for a year) and hanging at the playground was to get the kids (and their friends) to do what is known in the sporting world as "suicides" (because done hard they can be excruciating). Line up everyone on the back line of the basketball court - run to the top of the foul line, touch the line and run back. Then run to mid-court, touch the line and run back. Then run to the other foul line touch the line and run back. Then run all the way to the end of the court, touch the line and run back! Yea! Let's do it again! It was great way to burn off energy for the kids (and me). They love the physical challenge and it takes some thought, too (which line do I touch now?). I also used to have them do jumping jacks and jumping over cones or running the bases of the baseball diamond. A mini-PE class that was good for them and me! You just have to remember to wear a jogbra and sneakers to the playground!

Posted by: DC | January 16, 2007 2:53 PM

Great topic!

No other parent in my house, and I work a full time job, but excercise is a priority for me - it keeps me sane and healthy (meaning less sick days from work and more and better quality time to spend with my daughter).

I was never a morning person - never! But, when my daughter was 2 months old, I finally decided that I needed to become one if I was to fall into an excercise routine that I could stick to. I get up between 5:30-6am and do about 45 minutes of yoga. I work up a sweat, I'm in a natural high when I finish, and I can come closer to equalling the energy level of my daugther. oh, and deal with the stress of adult colleagues who behave worse than my child.

From my vantage point, if there is another spouse in the house, there shouldn't be a single reason why the other parent can't find a time to get in some excercise time. Personally, I think half the battle is that our culture has come to view "good" excercise as one that is extremely intensive (look at all the joggers), and it just is not the case.

And uhm, I'm totally with the person who said it was difficult to get into a routine until her kids were 18 months old- I don't think its slacking at all, I think its reality -it takes time to adjust to a new lifestyle.

Posted by: Single Mom in SS | January 16, 2007 2:56 PM

To: Posted by: | January 16, 2007 02:22 PM

I was referring to myself as a "ham and egger". I don't think this qualifies as an elitist comment. I happily consider myself part of the working class.

Posted by: equal_too | January 16, 2007 2:58 PM

I think I should clarify the "have to be home with my son". He goes to sleep at 730 so I could go for a run after that but my other isn't home so I can't leave the house... ah... the many factors of life!

Mona, thank you for the kind words. I guess it is just one of those things I will have to learn to be okay with for the time being. I just love to run and it makes the stresses in the day that much easier to handle. I'm sure when my son is a teenager and can't wait to get out on his own, I will miss these days... It will be spring soon (right?!) and then I can run much later due to the longer days...

Posted by: s | January 16, 2007 3:00 PM

talk about a day when we should note the absence of comments from males other than Arlington Dad and Father of 4. How many dads do you see worrying about whether they have crossed over the 40 mark and are packing an extra 15 - 20 pounds? Know any new dads fretting about whether to get up and work out at 4:30 a.m. or 10:30 p.m.?

If working out makes you feel more fit and assist you in dealing with stress and anxiety, great. If it doesn't, you're not a bad mom, a bad woman, or an uncaring partner. Geez. Have a beer with your husband and chat about how great your kids are, whether it's going to snow this year, and whether to bet on the Colts or the Pats.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 3:00 PM

haha, I am laughing my ass off. I had horrible morning sickness. I lost weight and was almost put in the hospital. I only gained ten pounds back and that was in the last three months. Believe me, if I wanted to lie about something, I would pick a good lie.

I think everyone else who responded to your comment can attest to the fact that you can indeed not gain that much weight and have a healthy baby. Sometimes you people kill me. Really I wished I could have eaten more and gained some weight. I started out at 160 (mostly boobs) and went down to 150 in about two weeks. I stayed steady at 150 through most of my pregnancy fighting to keep it there so I wouldn't be put on an IV. Finally, at about 6 months my morning sickness disappeared and I could eat. I felt good for a month, and then I had pre-term labor and was stuck in bed. I had a rather quick and easy labor though, which I am thankful for. Did I mention to you guys that I am trying to get pregnant again? Everyone says you forget how hard it was, but I don't.

As far as good genes go, I defiantly don't have those. My sister gained 60 pounds and my mom gained 20, 20, 60 and 10 pounds with her four children. Yep, I was the ten pounder and I weighed nine.

Posted by: scarry | January 16, 2007 3:01 PM

To anon at 2:48:

Elementary school doesn't matter, academically. There is nothing a child will learn before 7th grade that he won't have already learned from me, at home. Elementary education is teaching you the life skill of how to stand in line at the DMV. (Readying flame-proof armour... gimme a minute...)

That said, I feel it is far more important to make a real contribution to my community than to stake a status claim in regards to schools. People used to do this all the time-- put the good of the community ahead of their personal good. What happened? Is it option overload?

Perhaps my perspective is different. I know how this can turn out positively. My husband grew up a refugee, in the worst neighborhoods, destitute, alienated, because his parents stood up for what they believed in against a corrupt government and lost everything. (The result was a hard-working, close-knit family, all of whom have succeeded far beyond any of my private-school suburban siblings and cousins.) For most people like me, like us, we've grown up with such ease that the idea of voluntarily putting ourselves in a less-than-ideal situation for nothing more than principles is crazy. It's like the concept of "principle" has swung the other way. As if anything resulting in personal benefit for me and mine, no matter the cost to my community, must always be the very greatest good.

Sorry. I won't be a part of that problem, and I won't excuse your cop out, either. So fire up the flame throwers and tell me that I'm irresponsible to subject my kids to DC public schools. Not growing up in surroundings of unlimited priviledge will do them lots of good, and make them more interesting, loving, involved people. What more could any parent hope for?

Posted by: WDC | January 16, 2007 3:06 PM

The running stroller was the BEST baby gift we got. 20" wheels, great shocks, UV/bug screen and a wind/rain shield (we did have to reinforce the seat as she got older, wear and tear). DD is part of our runs, she's now old enough to be part of our running conversations if she stays awake long enough--it's our family time with her. And she's phenomenal at spotting interesting things along the way. It's not for everyone, but it's how we kept our balance.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | January 16, 2007 3:07 PM

I don't have kids but, like everyone, I am aware of the problem of childhood obesity. Kids learn from their parents and if their parents exercise then aren't the kids more likely to exercise too?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 16, 2007 3:08 PM

I think it is hard for the husbands to find time too. My dh comes home, spends time with the kids, puts them to bed and then goes to the gym. He doesn't eat dinner until 9:30 or so and is up until mindinght because he is so "high" from the workout. This happens 3 - 4x a week. I miss having him around in the evenings, but I also want him to be healthy. He is so tired on the weekends - but he doesn't want to sacrifice his already meager time with the kids. Can't really figure another solution.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 16, 2007 3:08 PM

I don't have kids but it seems as tho with the problem we have of childhood obesity it should be a good thing for kids to see their parents exercise as an example of a healthy lifestyle (even do it with them when they are old enough).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 16, 2007 3:09 PM

WDC, I was trying to come up with an eloquent response in your defense, but I couldn't have said it any better than you just did. Hats off to you for standing your ground. I am sure you'll make a positive difference in the lives of pretty much everyone you meet.

Posted by: Mona | January 16, 2007 3:10 PM

The running stroller was the BEST baby gift we got. 20" wheels, great shocks, UV/bug screen and a wind/rain shield (we did have to reinforce the seat as she got older, wear and tear). DD is part of our runs, she's now old enough to be part of our running conversations if she stays awake long enough--it's our family time with her. And she's phenomenal at spotting interesting things along the way. It's not for everyone, but it's how we kept our balance.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | January 16, 2007 3:11 PM

NW? SW? NE? SE?

Posted by: to WDC | January 16, 2007 3:12 PM

Some of us deal w/ the "subpar" schools and try not to get irritated by those who insist their move to the 'burbs had nothing to do w/ money and was all about sacrificing for the children's well-being ...

Exercise - I'm not religious about it, and admit that I pretty much didn't do it at all when my son was young - I can definitely appreciate everyone out there saying they don't have time because of infants and toddlers!! Now that he's old enough that he can be left alone, I run twice a week whenever I can fit it in the schedule - usually on weekends - and I'm a big fan of videos - pilates, dance, yoga, aerobics, you name it - and I check mine out at the library for free for three weeks each - it's my understanding that it's good to mix things up anyway. I don't watch TV, so I do the videos at night after my son goes to bed. Like some other posters have mentioned, we love family bike rides - my son had an infant seat when he was little, then a bike trailer, and now we ride together (and I bought BOTH our bikes for much less than $400 - used - which brings to mind the fact that I'm sure you can also get jogging strollers used) - we also skate and play tennis - and I envy those w/ a trampoline - they are so much fun! Exercise really is easier when it's something you enjoy.

Posted by: TakomaMom | January 16, 2007 3:13 PM

The running stroller was the BEST baby gift we got. 20" wheels, great shocks, UV/bug screen and a wind/rain shield (we did have to reinforce the seat as she got older, wear and tear). DD has always been part of our runs, she's now old enough to be part of our running conversations if she stays awake long enough--it's our family time with her. Along the way we've taught her race etiquette, exercise psyiology, and optical physics (in the form of shadow-Itsy Bitsy Spider). And she's phenomenal at spotting interesting things along the way. It's not for everyone, but it's how we kept our balance.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | January 16, 2007 3:13 PM

WDC - While I admire your principle and courage. I have trouble with people who make a point with their kids. They don't have the ability to make good choices, it is up to you to do that for them. I'd have a hard time sending my child to a subpar potentially unsafe school to make a point. They might be interesting, and involved people, but can they get a job? I dont' mean to sound super critical, I'm more skeptical.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 16, 2007 3:14 PM

BRAVO !!!

Posted by: to WDC | January 16, 2007 3:14 PM

BRAVO !!!

Posted by: to WDC | January 16, 2007 3:16 PM

Sorry for the repeats! Bad computer day.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | January 16, 2007 3:17 PM

Sorry for the repeats! Bad computer day. But now I get to add that DD is not happy if we run without her. And will only tolerate marathons if Grandma is there to watch her.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | January 16, 2007 3:18 PM

WDC, I don't agree with you, but if you think you can change DC schools, don't wait until you have a child, get started now. Volunteer, hound Fenty, live up to your lofty goals. You won't have as much time as you do now to work towards change once you start having kids, so put those loft ambitions into practice now, and prove us naysayers wrong.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | January 16, 2007 3:18 PM

I am looking at a gym membership like Lady of America where they have on-site child care. My main problem on exercising was my husband's wacky schedule - he could never be counted on to watch the kids and getting a babysitter for the same 3-4 times per week was undoable. Now that my kids are older I don't feel bad having them sit/play/do homework for 30-60 minutes while I work out - after all - how many days/hours have I watched and waited while they have soccer practice, etc?

Posted by: cmac | January 16, 2007 3:20 PM

"talk about a day when we should note the absence of comments from males other than Arlington Dad and Father of 4. How many dads do you see worrying about whether they have crossed over the 40 mark and are packing an extra 15 - 20 pounds? Know any new dads fretting about whether to get up and work out at 4:30 a.m. or 10:30 p.m.?"

Not a dad (yet), but I lost over 40 pounds by getting up at 3:30 am and walking 3 miles every day for two years straight. And yes, I'm over 40. I have dropped back to about 2 miles 5-6 times a week, but still get up between 3:30 and 4:00 every weekday!

Posted by: John | January 16, 2007 3:21 PM

WDC,

You don't need a flame-retardant suit. You only need directions on how to dismount from your high horse and develop a little perpsective.

Why is it a cop-out to look at the options and determine, based on MY child's interests and abilities, what is best for MY child? Volunteering is noble and important. You, on the other hand, are suggesting that any parent who chooses differently than you, who by the way are not yet a parent, is either copping out or not upholding his or her civic responsibility. How nice to be smarter and more virtuous than those who have actually been in a situation and made the tough call. Oh, I know, you've decided what you're going to do with that child that doesn't yet exist. Let's hope your child doesn't have a learning disability or other special needs.

Perhaps your devaluing of elementary education explains why it doesn't matter to you whether your non-existent child is placed in an environment that encourages, or one that impedes, education. If you don't think your comments about elementary education are part of the problem with education in D.C., think again.

Again, enlighten us all after you share your residence with a child older than 5 and whom you love more than life itself.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 3:23 PM

Wierd article on a couple trying to have their own kid today (or yesterday) in the WaPo, who ended up adopting. Not sure what to say about it other than it made me feel.......wierd. And uncomfortable.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 3:24 PM

don't get mad about WDC -- just be thankful you'll never be on PTA with this person!

Posted by: to Anon 3.23 | January 16, 2007 3:27 PM

To s: the treadmill is my last resort for running (I jokingly call it the dreadmill). Just accept that your pace on the treadmill won't be as fast as on the road, strap on the music and go. I second Mona's suggestion to up the incline too. I generally try to ignore the annoying hotshot on the next treadmill over running 6 minute miles -- I don't do that on the road, I certainly don't need to do it on the treadmill. Runner's World online also has some ideas for making treadmill runs more interesting.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | January 16, 2007 3:28 PM

yes, i guess i am advocating a video game. i am only on the beginner level of ddr & after 30 minutes i'm sweating and breathing hard. it took me a month of working on the pre-beginner level before i could handle beginner. my niece does ddr on the more advanced level. she lost about 30 pounds doing this. i would file this under the "whatever works" catagory. if a "video game" works then go for it.

Posted by: quark | January 16, 2007 3:28 PM

To totally off topic: try www.babycenter.com

Posted by: tlawrenceva | January 16, 2007 3:30 PM

WDC:

I grew up in DC and went to great public schools that were great (and are still great) because of the involvement of my parents and other parents. I didnt suffer in the process: got a great education and a real perspective on life. Got into a good college, too.

You go, girl!!

There is politics, and then there is working hard to make things better for your kids and other kids in the process.

Posted by: jessker23 | January 16, 2007 3:31 PM

Thanks Mona, Moxiemom, and others.

Columbia Heights, to them that's asking. That is, NW. I judge it to be just on the gentrification line. We were able to afford a house, but we feel safe.

Moxiemom, I appreciate your thoughts, and this is my big concern. A child going through typical childhood angst might not understand why these choices were made for him. He might feel that his life is the wrong tool to make my statement. But you beat me to the punch when you said that kids don't make good choices. I liken public school to eating your vegetables. Sure, you'd rather have candy, and a nuturing I'm-ok-you're-ok school environment, but is it really good for you?

ArlingtonDad, spot on. I'm not currently working on any school-related volunteer projects (I tried, but they tend to be a tad exclusionary-- like, "if you don't have kids, why are you here?) but I am involved with two neighborhood groups, one focusing on safety and city services, and a clean-up group. I hope it's never said that I don't put my money where my mouth is.

By the by, once we hit junior high, all bets are off. I can't teach my kid calculus or Mandarin, and if the local schools can't do it either, off to the Academy he goes. I'm not insensitive to the importance of a proper education, after all!

Posted by: WDC | January 16, 2007 3:33 PM

KLB SS MD, sure, role modeling is important. Funny enough, the unintended consequency of enrolling your kids in sports activities is that it vastly increases the amount of time my husband and I spend (sedentary) in the car. The volume of games and practices throws off the family dinner hour so we all eat later two days a week, and gets in the way of my ability to get to the gym. For three weekends last fall, we had to attend out-of-town soccer tournaments and none of the hotels had gym facilities. We are not permitted to pick a different hotel.

If we pulled our son out of soccer and tennis, his dad and I would be far more fit. Strange, but true.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 16, 2007 3:34 PM

because of sports, we don't eat until 8:30pm. We all eat together most nights. It is just one more year-to-year thing that changes around. Nothing is ever permanent.

Posted by: dotted | January 16, 2007 3:42 PM

As a graduate of DC Public schools and the daughter of a DC public school teacher I admire those who believe in the public schools and plan to fight to make them the best they can be. I certainly gained from dealing with all the diversity offered by the public schools. However, I also experienced sharing sub-par textbooks and sharing lockers because of over-crowding. Friends of mine were killed or dropped out to start families in junior high. One year the schedule I received had 6 courses of home economics, one of typing and lunch. Of course, I got it changed to what it should have been but some students just didn't. I even had to repeat classes because there were not enough advanced students to constitute a class. Of course, the teachers tried to teach all the levels existing in that class. Of course my parents worked hard to supplement my education and to advocate for me in the public schools. But I have made a different choice for my children. I have decided to give them options I never had. And I don't think that makes me evil or uncaring. I gave 12 years of my education to DC public schools and I continue to give money every year through means for dreams.org ( a non-profit that coordinates donations directly to dc public school teachers to support projects and curriculum activities that are not funded other ways).
But you know what --none of that has anything to do with whether or not I exercise. It's all just a red herring. Whether you live in the suburbs or the city I think it's worth trying to figure out how to work some exercise into your life.

Posted by: downtown mom | January 16, 2007 3:42 PM

There are a few gems in the DC public school system, and a few more on the fence. I am committed to a public school education for my child but will not put her in a failing school. I will find one in the system that my contribution as a parent will make a difference, yet one that will not negatively influence my child and her need for a solid education. Diversity is one thing, but using your child as an experiment/political statement is another. Middle class parents should push for better schools, and are lest apt to accept subpar education.

Posted by: single mom | January 16, 2007 3:47 PM

How about Baltimore?

How much are bullet-proof vests, again?

Posted by: Re: | January 16, 2007 3:54 PM

on topic, I think I am more healthy now that I have had kids: no drinking, no smoking, no late, late nights at the old 9:30 club. I eat very healthy, walk a lot, play soccer with the kids. Sometimes the lifestyle changes you make for pregancy have a good and lasting impact on your life.

downtown mom, I appreciate that you give something back. Like everything else, we make the best choices for our kids and who they are. I just hate the automatic rejection/dismissal of DCPS by people.

WDC, there are good junior highs/middle schools (and charter schools)and high schools (I went to Banneker, its not in the news much but it is a great school.)

Single mom, no, you shouldnt sacrifice your child, but the good schools are there. We didnt have the options of charter schools when I grew up, I would have loved the choices.

Posted by: jessker25 | January 16, 2007 3:54 PM

WDC - hats off to you and good luck. Your kid will certainly not lack for moral guidance - somthing that is often lacking everywhere.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 16, 2007 3:58 PM

"Wierd article on a couple trying to have their own kid today (or yesterday) in the WaPo, who ended up adopting. Not sure what to say about it other than it made me feel.......wierd. And uncomfortable"

Why did you feel weird? Because there are people who sometimes end up raising children who aren't biologically their own? Sometimes (gasp) they raise children who have issues or are even from another culture!

It takes a lot of strength to prove you want to be a parent that much. IMHO, they deserve more respect than those who want a cookie for squirting out a little mini-me!

Posted by: AdoptionAdvocate | January 16, 2007 3:59 PM

"How about Baltimore?

How much are bullet-proof vests, again?"

No more than anywhere else. Obviously, Baltimore has some crime problems, but, not in every part of the city or surrounding counties. Baltimore countians, who live outside the city limits, can commute to downtown in as little as 10-15 minutes or as much as 40-45 minutes, depending on specific neighborhood.

And there are parts of Baltimore city that are very desirable.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 4:00 PM

"How much are bullet-proof vests, again?"

Yeah, because you don't need those in DC at all!!

/sarcasm

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 4:01 PM

I read the same one - I thought is was wierd because the adopted child was only their back-up plan. they did not seem thrilled about it until the IVF they went to south africa for failed.

As for the topic. I can only get to the gym once a week after work (cannot motiviate myself to do the lunch thing), has anyone had success with exercising with a DVD workout? Any suggestions?

Posted by: single mom | January 16, 2007 4:01 PM

"How much are bullet-proof vests, again?"

Yeah, because you don't need those in DC at all!!

/sarcasm

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 4:02 PM

"How much are bullet-proof vests, again?"

Yeah, because you don't need those in DC at all!!

/sarcasm

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 4:02 PM

Single mom - for a while I taped Denise Austin's workout on my DVR...it plays on Lifetime at 7:00. It's a decent workout, doesn't take very long, has yoga, cardio and stretching.
Meesh - congrats on quitting smoking!
I am looking into a personal trainer (for a very short term, too expensive) - any one have suggestions?

Posted by: Missicat | January 16, 2007 4:04 PM

NYC public schools are succeeding because middle class parents stuck around and fought for a better system. That was paramount to Bloomberg when he took over the school system. There was a focus on DC education in OUtlook a couple months ago and every big city mayor that has good schools insisted that this is the key: Keeping educated wealthier parents in the city.

Take a look at the schools in the educated wealthy neighborhoods- Tenleytown, Chevy Chase, Gtown, Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, Glover Park- they all have great elementary schools. What happens once they hit jr high? We need to figure out how to keep parents involved. I don't plan to make my child an experiment, but I do plan on sending her to a great DC school in a nice safe neighborhood for the elementary years. In 10 yrs time, maybe we'll have to consider privates, but I'd like to try to help the schools for all kids, not just my own.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 4:08 PM

Because I have a big mouth, I just have to add one anecdote. Urban crime, especially against young'uns, scares the bejesus out of me. However, I grew up in a relatively wealthy town where every kid had his or her own car, and access to all kinds of booze and drugs, with the predictable results. For years after I graduated, the first conversation when meeting up with a former classmate was always "who's died since we last talked". So in my mind, McMansions and privilege = dead teenagers. This to say that school shootings are WAY rarer than teen auto fatalities, and that even if I totally fail and my kid is coming home hammered, at least he'll be coming home on Metro. Another little perspective tweak, if it helps.

Thanks for the great discussion everyone. And apologies for the hijack. I'm off to my doctor's appointment. Maybe we'll get a good picture of the little guy today! (I keep saying "he" but I actually have no idea.)

Posted by: WDC | January 16, 2007 4:11 PM

Can someone post a link to the article about adoption? I can't seem to find it.

I did my housework to music. I would dance between tasks. Make the bed, dance to a complete song. Clean the bathtub, dance to another song. Also, I would double my stair walking. If I had to go downstairs, i would walk down, walk back up and walk down again. I don't know that it made much difference, but at least I felt like I was trying to incorporate exercise.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 4:12 PM

I think KB Silver Spring has a good point. When kids see you making time to exercise they will also.

I found as my children got older that sports practices were good times to take off for a walk around the track or field where they were practicing. One complaint I had with swim-team was that the whole pool was taken up with kids so you couldn't slip in for some laps yourself.

It's been my observation that a lot of parents use that time to gab with other parents. It's a sacrifice to take off walking because inevitably other parents had little ones who couldn't or wouldn't come along on a power walk around the track.

My husband, a soccer player himself, always took a ball with him to practices and occupied himself kicking it around. Oddly, he was rarely alone in that activity very long!

Posted by: RoseG | January 16, 2007 4:14 PM

Gosh - why so harsh AdoptionAdvocate? What do you mean by people who "want a cookie for squirting out a mini-me?" I'm not completely sure why it made me feel wierd, but it certainly wasn't because they ended up adopting. I can't put my finger on it, but I was fascinated that Suz didn't mind not having her DNA in her child, but that she really, really wanted to be pregnant, and had "pregnancy envy" when she saw other pregnant women [before getting her daughter Eve]. I'm surprised that a couple who were willing to spend more than $70,000 trying to have a child didn't consider surrogacy [perhaps they did, but she was pretty open in the article and she probably would have mentioned it if she did. They traveled to South Africa so SHE could carry the embryo of another woman and her husband]. It just seems like, if she was willing to have a child that is the genetic offspring of another woman and her husband, that they would have considered someone else carrying it - but because they didn't, it seemed very ME/ME/ME - I want to carry the kid. It is unsettling to me (and I could certainly be wrong about this, I haven't developed thorough thoughts on IVF, etc.), that biology is telling this woman/couple that they aren't supposed to have kids, and that she ended up going to a random doctor in South Africa, having whoever's eggs were available implanted in her, to be pregnant. The article came across to me like she wasn't focused on being a parent, but being pregnant, which I find a little unsettling. I don't know - I'm not trying to be mean, but science dealing with this can be in an ethically gray area (how about the woman in Texas profiled in the WaPo recently who sells completed embryos), and this is just one area that made me feel wierd. I wanted to see if anyone else felt that way.

Posted by: Wierd WaPo Article | January 16, 2007 4:14 PM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/10/AR2007011001394.html

Posted by: Adoption Article | January 16, 2007 4:17 PM

I couldn't read all the comments so I may be repeating. I walk with coworkers at lunchtime for about 20-30 minutes almost every workday. I need more exercise than this but this fits in the day and is a lot better than nothing. I leave walking shoes at work and make sure I have hat and gloves for the very cold days.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | January 16, 2007 4:18 PM

One thing that has only tangentally come up is setting a positive example for your children and helping them (especially daughters) develop health habits and a healthy body image. I never tell my dd that I'm looking to lose weight - always that I want to be healthy and strong which over time has truly become the case. Whatever body I get with what I can do is what I'm going to live with. I don't think that mothers can do to much in this area to help combat all the garbage out there that tells our dds they aren't good enough the way they are.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 16, 2007 4:29 PM

Wierd WaPo Article:

My apologies for coming across so harsh. I admit I jumped the gun. For some reason, I get defensive of adoptive parents--and I'm not one myself. But I typically hold a higher regard for them.

Based on what you described, I would find that unsettling too. It's unfortunate how the concept of parenthood in general is supposed to be so selfless, and yet, has fostered many selfish qualities, such as the one you described.

Posted by: AdoptionAdvocate | January 16, 2007 4:29 PM

"How about Baltimore?

How much are bullet-proof vests, again?"

Lol! I live up here in the county, hon, and I get to live in a great old house that I could never afford in DC, with a 16-minute commute to my office at 7:30 AM (well, 22-23 if I go at 8 or so -- if I didn't have to commute the other way for preschool, life would be great). In a nice neighborhood with sidewalks, and a little main street where we can walk to dinner and the library and the ice cream shop. Looking forward to next year, when my daughter can go to the great elementary school that's 1/2 mile away.

My family's been here since '78, and no one's gotten shot yet. :-)

Posted by: Laura | January 16, 2007 4:30 PM

In defense of RunnerMom and $400 jogging strollers....not only is it totally worth it to purchase such an expensive piece of equipment, if you don't use it long or find it is not for you, you can pretty much get most of your investment back b/c of it is of such high quality and retains it's value. If you can get the better stroller and it will make exercising easier for you, do it, then sell it on ebay/craigslist.com.....

Posted by: tlawrenceva | January 16, 2007 4:35 PM

So...am I the only person who was alarmed that runnermom runs with her headphones cranked up? That's a horribly dangerous practice for outdoor running when you're by yourself, let alone pushing your kids along. Yikes.

Posted by: pastryqueen | January 16, 2007 4:36 PM

Laura--sounds like you're a neighbor of mine (I'm in Catonsville) but you've also described a LOT of the older suburbs around Baltimore--nice main street business area, walking distance to the post office, library, schools, playgrounds, etc., old houses that are affordable, great schools, nice neighbors, and super-fast commutes. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else!

Posted by: Sarah | January 16, 2007 4:40 PM

pastryqueen -- oh, you are so right! Under the best of circumstances, runners share the trail with other runners, bikers, those ridiculous inline skaters, tourists, and then you have your runners who share the road with cars. Those headphones seem like a bad idea to me.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | January 16, 2007 4:43 PM

plus, if you run with headphones, you're undercutting in advance all of those arguments you're going to want to make to your teenager about not using cell phones or headphones while driving - egad!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 4:45 PM

I will have to try raising the incline and calling it the dreadmill (I really enjoy that one!)! I was thinking of getting a cheap manual one for my basement but will have to look into how "wonderful" they are...

Posted by: s | January 16, 2007 4:50 PM

Re; Weird WaPo article - I just read that and I too feel really .........weird about it. There seems to be something about the acquisition that seems too....acquisitiony. (can't come up with a better term). I'm gonna have to think on it. Good blog topic tho - leslie.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 16, 2007 4:51 PM

Alison Korn from BAHS?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 4:56 PM

looks like it, what with twins born in 2004. http://www.bahs.org/bahspa/dsp.record.cgi?0554

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 4:58 PM

Sarah, we're neighbors!! I grew up here and really had to work to convince my husband to come here (all he was hearing was how great Howard County schools are -- from his relatives in NoVa, no less!). At the time, he didn't understand why a walkable neighborhood was so important to me (thought of turning into Mandatory Child Transportation Device for 15 yrs tooooo depressing). But now that he doesn't have to hop into a car to go hit a deli or get a beer, he's glad he caved on that one.

Posted by: Laura | January 16, 2007 5:08 PM

neighborhood walkablilty was one of the most important traits when we searched for this house. Kids walk to school, walk to the theatre, we walk to the tennis, grocery, beauty salon, gym, church...

Posted by: dotted | January 16, 2007 5:18 PM

fortunatly, I work at a job that allows 1 hour of exercise a day in addition to lunch. There is an onsite gym w/exercise classes (classes start at 6 am and end at 6pm) and onsite daycare. I live in Fairfax near a 24 hour gym and near some of the best trails/outdoor recreation in the country. Last month, I purchased my first treadmill. But somehow, with two kids under two, I still haven't found a way to knock off the extra 30 lbs I'm carrying........

It's all about making yourself a priority instead of putting it off till later, I guess.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | January 16, 2007 5:25 PM

Another vote for AM exercise. I'm a father of 2. After years of racing a bicycle a little too enthusiastically, I stopped riding because it was impossible to find a break in the work & family day. I now do my trainer or road time during the AM hour before anyone else is up. It's the only hour I can reliably schedule. Doing that first makes the rest of the day go much more smoothly. It becomes a habit, which I think is important to sustaining an exercise program.

Posted by: BP | January 16, 2007 6:08 PM

I don't know where people looking for a gym/personal trainers live but I go to Fitness First (quite a few locations in the DC/MD area) and they have free day care and personal trainers. I joined three months after I quit smoking (had to make sure it was going to stick - it was my treat as I spend less on gym membership than I did on cigs) and I love it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 16, 2007 6:27 PM

mary2again: perhaps your WAHD husband could make dinner and have it ready when you arrive home so you'd have 30 minutes to exercise (do an aerobics video, use the treadmill, go for a walk, whatever floats your boat.) Or maybe he could bathe the baby in the morning so your bedtime routine wouldn't take an HOUR (which is just insane.) Or maybe you could do your aerobic exercise on the 3 days you do have off and do 10-15 minutes a day of resistance training during the 4 days you work.


Posted by: they're all just excuses | January 16, 2007 7:20 PM

Funny how people criticize a $400 jogging stroller but wouldn't bat an eye at a $400 exercise bike, a $75 a month gym membership (that's $900 a year for the math deficient), or a $50 a month Pilates class ($600/year.)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2007 7:23 PM

I'm 62 years old; have five children - two were identical twins. Fortunately, I never had to work outside the home 'til my youngest was 2 1/2 and then I went to work parttime. We weren't wealthy by any means, but I just knew that I couldn't (or wouldn't?) work outside the home and try to raise these children at the same time. What I did for exercise was to jog in place(listening to the soundtrack of "Electric Horsemen") in my livingroom early in the morning before anyone awakened. Then when they went down for a nap(and some were in school), I would get on my stationary bike and do that while they slept. I lost 70 lbs. in five months. As for my children, they are all well-educated, responsible adults holding down prestigious jobs. What alot of women in this day and age need to remember is "there is a season for everything". When you have children, your place is in the home. My children are all grown now as I've said. And now I have time for me and I glean much pleasure from seeing my children as assets to society rather than burdens. Our children are this country's most valued assets. There just ISN'T a more important job than raising your children. ANYONE can take your place in the office, but NO ONE can replace you in your home.

Posted by: Emma(mother of 5) | January 16, 2007 9:12 PM

Since the discussion has been taken off topic...On the adoption article - yes, I felt completely weirded out by it too. I have 2 close friends who are adoptive parents. One set was very fertile, but after 2 biological sons, decided that to go for their girl, they'd adopt. Second friend had fertility issues, mourned their dreams, and went into adoption with a pretty full dose of enthusiasm.

from the WaPo article, it does sound like this woman went into it with lots of regret and only as the back-up choice. I was a bit disappointed that perhaps that article reflects on the attitudes of all adoptive parents, which it does NOT..at all.

Posted by: mom2threedears | January 16, 2007 9:18 PM

Since the discussion has been taken off topic...On the adoption article - yes, I felt completely weirded out by it too. I have 2 close friends who are adoptive parents. One set was very fertile, but after 2 biological sons, decided that to go for their girl, they'd adopt. Second friend had fertility issues, mourned their dreams, and went into adoption with a pretty full dose of enthusiasm.

from the WaPo article, it does sound like this woman went into it with lots of regret and only as the back-up choice. I was a bit disappointed that perhaps that article reflects on the attitudes of all adoptive parents, which it does NOT..at all.

Posted by: mom2threedears | January 16, 2007 9:18 PM

I agree it's important to include exercise in your daily/weekly routine, especially if it was a large part of life before you had children. We still struggle with this, but have been working out a way to balance it all lately.

I have to be really disciplined to squeeze in my swims 3x a week while I have a sitter or my husband to watch my daughter. My husband gets up before work sometimes to go running, and plays soccer once a week in the evenings after my daughter is in bed. Like everything else, it takes another layer of planning but it's worth it when you feel better and can function better as a wife/mother because of it.

Posted by: Vienna mom | January 17, 2007 8:12 AM

I gained 20-30 pounds with each baby, and then another 10-20 pounds AFTER each baby was born. Breastfeeding made me ravenous and there was very little time to exercise. Losing the weight took longer with each baby. Oh well...small price to pay when your body does such amazing things!

Posted by: Leslie | January 17, 2007 10:54 AM

To "they're all just excuses"

whatever...

I'm sure if I said, "Oh, I only see my kid for a little over 2 hours a day on those days that I work, but I'm going to spend 1/4 of that time exercising away from him" I'd get jumped on too...

And an hour to give a baby a bath, meds, rub down with lotion, read 2 books, sing a song, nurse, and go to sleep isn't insane. It's normal. It's also a relaxing thing for all involved.

Maybe you missed the part about where we try to walk on the weekends?

Posted by: Mary2again | January 17, 2007 12:24 PM

Funny how people criticize a $400 jogging stroller but wouldn't bat an eye at a $400 exercise bike, a $75 a month gym membership (that's $900 a year for the math deficient), or a $50 a month Pilates class ($600/year.)

Posted by: | January 16, 2007 07:23 PM

uh, no. we do bat an eye. Cash is cash. If you have it to spend on non-essential items, I'm glad for you, but not all of us do. To say, it's only X amount per day is to ignore the fact that you have to have it all at once, up front, before purchase, unless you believe that running up credit card debt is a way of life.

This board is chock full of judgmental people like "they're all just excuses" with a tremendous amount of expendable income. Just don't kid yourself that you represent the average person. You don't.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 17, 2007 12:39 PM

In response to the question about treadmills, whether they really provide a good workout and good training, the answer is yes!
In some ways, they provide superior training than ordinary running because you can program in a fast pace, faster than you would normally run during training.
Remember Chris Clark, the only U.S. woman marathoner at the Sydney Olympics? She's from Alaska and had done a large percentage of her training during the winter before the Olympic trials on a treadmill.
But running on a treadmill is tedious, that's for sure! Like others, I think the nickname "dreadmill" is appropriate. Treadmill training, through good for you physically, does not provide that outdoors/mental/communing with nature break that is so much a part of running.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 17, 2007 2:18 PM

I bought my $400 jogging stroller on my husband's $20,000/year grad school stipend. I used some birthday money and the rest we just scraped together. Not everyone loves running as much as I do. I would go absolutely crazy if I couldn't run. I guess the reality is, if activity is important to you, you'll find a way to do it, no matter what. Of course you don't need expensive equipment, but we decided we needed that stroller more than a second car/ dinners out/ nice clothes/ cable/ a weekend at the beach/ etc/ etc/ etc. That was our decision, some may have different priorities and I completely understand and support that. I was just trying to encourage those who might have thought they wouldn't like running with a stroller, because I used to feel that way, but when I tried it, I loved it. For what it's worth, I look like a homeless person when I run because I haven't bought new running clothes in like 10 years. But I don't care about that- someone else might really want nice workout clothes because it helps their confidence, helps them get out the door, motivates them, serves as a good reward for meeting goals, whatever. I admire everyone who finds the time to do what inspires them and makes them happy after having kids, whether that be exercise, cooking, painting, reading, or whatever. We all need to stay in touch with the person we are, independent of our family roles- it makes us better, more fullfilled, more balanced parents.

Posted by: runnermom | January 17, 2007 3:45 PM

Some suggestions for fitting workouts in:

-Make it part of your every day schedule, liking brushing your teeth
-Expect your husband/significant other to support you and make time for you to exercise
-Take a jump rope along to the playground/sports field and jump rope while your kids play (jump ropes are great for business travel as well)
-Turn on some high energy music and dance with your kids
-Use exercise as transportation (walk or bike to places you would normally drive)
-If you work outside the home, join a gym near the office and work out at lunch -- you will have much more energy in the afternoon (don't worry about washing your hair after your workout!)

I am a partner in a law firm with 2 kids ages 7 and 5 and on the side I teach group exercise classes (spinning, yoga, sports conditioning). My husband is also a lawyer and teaches exercise classes as well. It takes extreme organization and we don't get a lot of down time, but working as a team, we get everything done and spend quality time with our kids as well. The best part about teaching classes (aside from the fact that you get paid to exercise) is that you can't bail on your workout!

Posted by: Stacy | January 17, 2007 4:03 PM

Mary2again: "Oh, I only see my kid for a little over 2 hours a day on those days that I work, but I'm going to spend 1/4 of that time exercising away from him"

Maybe you missed the part where I said your husband should make dinner before you get home so you don't have to spend 30 minutes doing it and you could have that time to work out. Are you spending time with your child while you're making dinner? Probably not. And if you are, you could spend the same time with your child while you do aerobics or walk on the treadmill.

"And an hour to give a baby a bath, meds, rub down with lotion, read 2 books, sing a song, nurse, and go to sleep isn't insane. It's normal. It's also a relaxing thing for all involved."

Now here's where you could tell me that your workout would be taking time away from your child. But once again, you obviously missed the part where I said your husband could bathe the baby in the mornings. Or you could only bathe the baby every 2 or 3 days. And skip the lotion - it's unnecessary. So there - I just cut the routine to about 30 minutes.

As far as going for walks on the weekends - that's great, but a leisurely stroll with your husband is not working out. Do you not have 30 minutes a days on the weekends to yourself to go for a brisk walk, run, or bike ride, go to the pool and swim laps, use the treadmill, whatever? If not, then your life is seriously out of balance and I would look at that instead of making excuses for why you can't work out and telling the rest of us who do workout that we're out of touch with reality.

Posted by: more excuses | January 17, 2007 4:39 PM

again with the "more excuses" person:

actually, I DO spend time with my son while I'm cooking. I don't see how that's hard to understand. At any time I can stop what I'm doing and hold him, nurse, whatever. I couldn't do that while on a treadmill. I actually enjoy cooking (that balance thing again).

Weekend walks aren't "leisurely strolls" for me... they are a little COLD right now though - that doesn't always stop me, but it does when there is precip involved. Not everyone has a gym membership or a home treadmill.

The bath thing is non-negotiable. It's a part of being with my son that I'm not giving up. I'm sorry you feel like I'm telling you that you are out of touch with reality. You are simply out of touch with MY reality.

Posted by: Mary2again | January 17, 2007 4:57 PM

There are excuses and there are reasons. I'm with you on the reasons why it is hard to get exercise in your schedule.

It's a matter of perspective, personal choice and personal reality. I work because I have to, not because I choose to. since I can't cut my work hours, I cut out anything else that interferes with time with my family, including exercise. Running is not for me because I HATE the cold and would not be running more than 3 months a year.

I have always felt that a jogging stroller was for the parent, not the child. I had a treadmill in my home, but once the kids are crawling, it was dangerous for them to be near me while I was on the treadmill. And anyway, kids in the room while I am exercising is NOT me interacting with my children.

Posted by: to Mary2again | January 17, 2007 5:33 PM

To Mary2again: Let me make a suggestion to your schedule that might help. You didn't mention how old your baby is but if he/she is still waking up once a night I figure they're less than one. Try waking the baby up earlier - maybe not letting the baby go back to sleep after the 5:15 am nursing and let the baby start the day then. Keep your regular morning activities, but shift the baby's schedule by an hour or so so that by the time you get home at 5:45pm, the baby is pretty much ready to fall out. Dad has already bathed and fed (if you're on any solids yet) and you stroll in for the evening nursing at 6pm and the baby immediately falls asleep. Keep all of the bedtime routine to a bare minimum - for example do the book reading during the day. That way you get your evenings back. Then try to park yourself in front of an excersize video or head out to a quickee aerobics class. It worked for me. It's actually alot easier when they're so small that you can manipulate their sleep schedule to your advantage. Harder when they get older and more opinionated. Keep in mind that you lose those precious bedtime routine hours on the nights you work, but you'll make it up the other three days. And really, truly you will feel better, more hopeful, and more energetic if you get some excersize. Hope this might help.

Posted by: Tu | January 17, 2007 5:59 PM

Emma (mother of 5): Lay off the whole "your place is in the home" crap. Great, it worked for you. Were all happy. And productive citizens too? Amazing. Now let the rest of us raise our kids as we choose.

Posted by: tu | January 17, 2007 6:07 PM

Stacy - the jump rope is a great suggestion. Thanks.

Posted by: anon mom | January 17, 2007 6:53 PM

Really, the bottom line is that you are no good to your children if you are not healthy. People are always looking for the "magic bullet" for good health and a long life and that "magic bullet" is unequivocally exercise. It is well-established that regular exercise lowers your risk of virtually every disease, gives you more energy, improves your sex life, improves sleep, improves self-esteem, etc. etc. There are always excuses for not fitting exercise into your life, but if your health is a priority, you will find a way to fit it in. Also, if you prioritize exercise, you are setting a good example for your children, which is vital. Childhood obesity is at epidemic proportions right now and a significant contributing factor is the sedentary nature of our society. So making time for you to exercise is clearly in the best interests of your family and your children, even if it slightly reduces the amount of "quality time" you spend with your kids. And if you include your kids in your workout by making it look more like play (jumping rope, hula hooping, racing each other, etc), then you get a workout and quality time together all in one!

Posted by: Stacy | January 18, 2007 9:22 AM

I highly recommend www.videofitness.com for home exercisers or anyone thinking about starting a home exercise routine.

Despite the name, it's not just about videos - it's a great resource for just about every aspect of working out, especially for those juggling work, family, etc., etc. and determined to stay healthy.

It's totally free, extremely supportive, and no diet talk allowed.

And if you ARE interested in exercise DVDs, tons of reviews by users, with detailed info about everything from the instructor's tone to the specific exercises and more.

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