How to Tell Which Group Fitness Personality You Are

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How to Tell Which Group Fitness Personality You Are

Ever wondered how you fit into your group fitness class?  No? Maybe you just go there to get a workout? Interesting. Well , I’ve been going to class with a bunch of “regs” for a while now and I’ve noticed that once you choose a spot, it’s yours forever. But why did you choose that spot?  Because you have a specific gym personality, that’s why. Based on my extensive research of 5 different classes at 2 gyms, I’ve assembled a handy map of the gym personalities, based on forever spots, in relation to the instructor. Though this seems very specific, I find it to be very consistent across all genres of classes. How many Jims go to classes? A lot apparently.  I really can’t overemphasize how much research I have done on this spacing out really hard during class.

GYM CLASS POSITION 2-page-0

We Will Always Have Ohio

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We Will Always Have Ohio

This one time I got on a plane all by myself and left my family behind for 3 whole days. It was just the one time because this has never happened in my entire parenting life. For the first time in about 6 years, my siblings and I got together in Columbus, Ohio for our sister’s wedding without any of our husband/wife/kid appendages, and it turns out I am actually still a person. I got to pack my own little suitcase, assess my own snack desires/need for the bathroom in the next hour, and act like a civilized human on a plane with other adults that felt like shit was really supposed to be going their way. In case you didn’t catch the pure heaven of this situation, consider this: when was the last time you only had to deal with YOUR OWN issues? I mean no excuses for husbands, no playing whose discipline “plan” is working best, whose kid hit who, who needs to say or do, or not say or not do something to whom, no explaining your family’s dynamics to aliens to your home, etc. Just you and the regular old comfortable bullshit your siblings and parents drag out of you every time, which you can predictable react to exactly like you always have: defensively, and with no desire to change. Beautiful.

The first glorious change I noticed was in the airport. I was actually able to shut down the cortisol-drenched survival part of my brain that takes over for family travel and focus on something awesome, like a latte with whipped cream. When you are in an airport with kids you only see the things you need: bathrooms, frozen yogurt shops, older couples that miss their grandchildren, trash cans, napkins, soft-hearted people traveling alone, empty seats against a wall, sympathy. You actually never really look at the other families. They can’t help you because you are both drowning people nobody feels like saving. The sad desperation is contagious and it’s best to keep your distance. Turns out families look exactly as haggard as they feel. Even the ones I know are crushing it- they have full snack bags, plus diversion activities, the division of labor seems fair, the kids are at least an hour away from a complete breakdown, the parents are dressed in out of the house clothes- even they have the zoo animal look: “Get me out of this hell.”

But when you’re alone! I had a 2-hour layover in Atlanta and I went to the bar and had a Manhattan because I saw it in a movie once. I’m sure I’m late to the game on this, but drinking in airports makes everything 300% more tolerable. I only had one and this helped me imagine my whole experience as a really fun game. Like, “Where is my gate? Let’s go find it!” Basically, after that point, it was me and the super together businessmen just high-fiving and being like, “ I always get the upgrade” and “I need to talk with this client” and “Let’s just get another drink that is just like a super dynamic alcohol with an ice ball and nothing a mom would drink in the Caribbean.” I was totally in disguise. I completely didn’t out myself when I said “Look at that sweetie weetie bear?!” to the fat baby while boarding the plane.

While we were in Columbus, we got to pretend we could still rally by going to a bar that advertised and delivered FREE BEER (??? it was a college town???) and no one had to put their kids to bed or answer texts from passive aggressive spouses about who wouldn’t go to sleep without who. And I’m pretty sure we got to sleep in until at least 8:45. It was profoundly awesome. Recently, we were all together again on the brink of going out and it looked like one of our kids was going to scam us out of fun. To stave off the disappointment, we had to just look at each other and say, “We gotta let this go, because we’ll always have Ohio. We’ll always have Ohio.”

This is What a Toddler Bender Looks Like

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This is What a Toddler Bender Looks Like

Mostly because I read all the right books, my son is coping beautifully with the new baby. To fairly give credit where credit is due, it probably also has to do with my flawless discipline routine, my unique ability to share my energy evenly despite the birth of a new child, and my generous and patient heart that allows me to calmly and diplomatically convey my concerns and wishes to my children. What I mean is, it’s really bad.

After my daughter and husband leave, my son and I basically dive into the high stakes live video game that is now my life that involves protecting baby from death/injury while nursing/recovering, as well as cleaning up elaborate I’m-bored-plus-everything-in-my-life-sucks messes. Some of these games include: Don’t look I am Burying Tacks in a Place We Go Barefoot, Let’s Use $25 Face Cream as Glue to Stick 50 Cotton Pads to the Changing Table, Break a Bunch of Crayons for No Reason and Throw At Baby, and Toss Pins From Pin Cushion Around House in Random Locations Because That is How Much I Hate My Life. The nursing is done mostly with him crawling on my back or dodging objects he throws at us. Also, his head injury count, which was already at a healthy boy-child level, has tripled, because, why not? It makes the video game more challenging.

At one point, he had two goose eggs on his head, plus a wasp sting that made his face swell on one side, and a bloody toe that he refused to let me touch so he ran around leaving blood dot art around the whole house. At the same time, he also chose to wear his favorite Disney princess velvet dress and refused to take it off day or night for 4 days. During this time I had to limit his outdoor sidewalk time on account of our neighbors out walking their designer show dogs being judgy. Obviously he was doing fine! He just looked like a 3-year-old on the worst bender of his life! Everyone is over-reacting! EVERYTHING IS FINE!

We did have a breakthrough though. After my sister came to visit and gave him some vocabulary to describe his behavior, he found a small dead lizard outside and decided to name him Happy Choice. He wanted to try this parenting thing out and completely threw himself into taking care of Happy Choice. He made him a taped pillow and a blankie out of Kleenex and he took him everywhere, to the complete horror of strangers he introduced him to, but it was a real game changer for me. He did try to show the baby Happy Choice a few times by shoving it in her face, but he was really busy taking care of him for a least 3 days. And that meant it was kinda relaxing for a second in our house. So this is around the time when I learned having 3 kids is about giving up. On pretty much all the things you thought you would hold firm on and basically all your good parent fantasies. The real reason nobody has a lot of pictures of their 2nd or 3rd kids is because they were doing a bunch of shit they said “I would never…” for their first. And who wants a bunch of pictures of their kid eating Cheetos as their first food, riding a bike without a helmet, and napping with a tiny dead lizard on a Kleenex blankie? Then we could never pretend we didn’t mess up when our kids become parents.

How to Embrace the Pregnant Hotness

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How to Embrace the Pregnant Hotness

One of the sexier things I’ve ever done is gone shopping for post-birth adult diapers. I really hope I got the good ones because it almost wasn’t worth trying to pretend I was totally cool with it while intensely browsing every type, and then trying to get even bulkier items to buy, like cat food and a broom, so the clerk would be so overwhelmed by my purchases she wouldn’t look at the diapers long enough for me to start rambling awkwardly while my chip card extended the wait at the counter. It was a big trip to the store. I had to arrange it a week ahead of time so I could do it alone and my children wouldn’t be like “WHY ARE WE GETTING DIAPERS FOR YOU!!!?? ARE YOU PEEING YOUR PANTS??!! in the super subtle voice they always use in the grocery store. I was a little horrified that someone who had clearly never been/met/thought about a woman who might have to wear diapers had designed a pair with a tiny pink bow on the front. Seriously. With that amount of situation around your situation, the pink color and the sad bow are really just adding insult to injury. But maybe I’m just not appreciating the effort to spice up the design. When I had my first child, our friends stopped by for a surprise visit the next day, and since my ability to judge what might be weird/inappropriate had been completely flattened by birthing a human, I had them come in to talk to me in the bed while I was only wearing a diaper. When they left I was like, “ Why was her husband so uptight?” and “Why wouldn’t he look me in the eyes?” and my husband had to say “Um babe you were only wearing a diaper…. and sometimes people feel weird about that.” And now I think, if I only had the diapers with the nice bow, that one detail could have really turned the whole situation around.

Luckily, getting diapers was easier to do this pregnancy because I transitioned more quickly into embracing the low standards people have for pregnant women. I think it really helped that I overheard my 3 year-old son telling someone at the playground that he was with me when I weighed myself and I was “40 a MILLION pounds.” On the plus side, he also admitted to the boy that he wished he had a “beard” like me. Because there is a serious shortage of extremely pregnant women out in the wild, to go to the gym 8 ½ months pregnant is to truly experience what it means when people have zero expectations for you. Even when I walk on the treadmill at 2.5 for 20 min. they say “you made it!” in a relieved/amazed way. Relieved, I believe genuinely, because they think I might deliver the baby on the gym floor if I overexert myself. More than once I’ve considered putting a Ziploc of water in my pants to pop and pretend my water broke, because everyone would be like, “I knew this was going to happen when I asked her if she was sure she wasn’t having twins.” Which people apparently never get tired of asking. It’s only slightly more awkward when they start asking you at 28 weeks and then you have to keep seeing them till the end of the pregnancy. There is a lady in the gym kid’s playroom who wants to say every time she’s surprised I haven’t had twin babies. I tried to give her fair warning and explain that I go late and I go big, but instead we have to talk about how enormously fat I am every time. It hasn’t been weird at all.

Despite knowing I would run into her every time, I made an honest effort to keep going to my gym classes until my groin gave out, and then I admitted it would never feel better and finally found my true people. I joined my 70 + peers that also attend the gym in the middle of the day for the 20/40/40 routine: 20 percent to “exercising,” 40 % steam room, and 40% socializing while getting dressed slowly sitting down. And it turns out we all have a lot in common: we all like to have a friend put lotion on our back, our swimsuits all have an ungodly amount of floral fabric, we share the same genuine interest in cats and gardening, and we’ve all had to choose between pale lavender and light pink diapers to wear under our huge white underwear. It’s good to be among friends.

Soccer Moms 4 Eva

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Soccer Moms 4 Eva

Every once in a while I feel like, yeah, I could actually nail this mom stereotype. I feel strongly about it for about 39 seconds because of my solid 100% zero success rate and because my optimism for fitting in with “anyone” runs deep. That’s why when my 3 year-old started playing soccer, I rolled up on those soccer moms already pretending we were all part of some awesome sexy book club that sometimes got “so crazy”. From the beginning, I sat to the side of what was clearly the “main” blanket, so I could eavesdrop on the dynamics of the mom crew. The one that gossips loudly the most without ever being contradicted is the leader. She identified herself right away. After dishing on all the drama going down at the Montessori, she “listened” to the mom she liked least and responded to everything with “That’s hilarious,” but didn’t laugh or smile. By this I mean she revealed the single most deal breaker trait for not becoming my friend.  I wanted to be sure to drive it right into the ground though, so I asked her about the soccer league I heard her bragging about. Mistaking my interest for interest, she assured me the team wasn’t just for anyone, assessing my apparently not so fit-ness and saying, “I’ve been playing for like 15 years.” Ok buddy. Based on my well-hidden competitiveness, I am positive I will crush you, but also based on my playing once on my brother’s adult club team, um, I basically know only like 1 player is good and the rest alternate breaking their ankles doing embarrassingly un-athletic things. And obviously, I was just trying to trick praise you into believing more you are the leader of the moms and you are better than us because you double tie your son’s shoes and never forget snack. It’s always a relief when you don’t have to try anymore.

The next practice my husband and I brought champagne in the water bottle and it was going substantially better until my son outed us by saying, “ Is that wine in there?! I like wine.” So, now we are the worst. But, the best is the full time comedy of the “soccer games.” The range is 3-5 year olds, which are all super similar developmental ages. It is in no way equivalent to pairing kindergarteners with college level athletes. Every game there is some 5 year-old who kills it, usually number 8, who is only limited from scoring 25 goals by the 3 year-olds that fall down in front of them or get stuck in the net. The games are 32 minutes, so there is always someone finding a really good leaf to stare at or lying down and completely giving up. My son, who is a prodigy, concentrates on touching the ball with his hands, taking the ball from his own teammates, dribbling as far out of bounds as possible, and asking for the snack they get at the end of the game. I think it’s fair to say the World Cup is in our future. When that time comes, leader mom is going to have to completely take back when she said, “He has no idea what’s going on.”

Mom Body Shopping

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Mom Body Shopping

Sorry to those of you who were thrown off by the title and thought there was a place to go purchase a specific mom body. Alas, no. However, if there was, I’m positive they’re always fresh out of “triathlete” and “got this shit on lockdown” mom body. Lucky for you, there’s always plenty of “lumpy in new places” and “I’m not sure this is mine” mom body.

There comes a time in every mom’s life when they have to attend a public “event” which doesn’t tolerate workout clothes or old black maternity pants with last resort shirt. And then you have to go shopping. It will suck every ounce as much as you think it will. Unfortunately, the only other option is hiring someone to kidnap you just before the event. This can be on the spendy side, and plus your family needs you because your husband is still going to act surprised your family is going somewhere despite months of warnings. So.

The way it usually happens for me is I’m given an unreasonably short amount of time to accomplish the task, given that the time limit is dictated by my husband, who has maintained a near perfect ignorance of what shopping for oneself entails, despite being a perfectly capable 34 year-old man who somehow has clothes to wear. I obviously always have a wild amount of success with this set up, and come home with a mediocre purchase totally worth the self-esteem meltdown. No Bad Days Girls! Smiley Emoji!

The good news: we can make this soooo much easier. Since the entire experience is meant to shove you down the never-ending slide of hopelessness, the chance for success is around 0-4%, and the time to accomplish failure is short, I think we would all be well served if we could just condense the experience into one shopping center.

It would start with a tunnel of doom, which includes a lot of really cute clothes that are all size 0-4, and a couple “Large”, just to give you a little hope, that are actually just size 4. Everyone who works there will call you Ma’am and help you solely because they feel sorry for you in a condescending way. Once you enter the store, you could choose racks to browse depending on your current mood. At a rack under the label “Hope Crushers,” there will be clothes exactly one size down from your current size so you get just enough hope that it will fit, which will be smashed completely as soon as you are in the dressing room. Another section would be “This Is Just Who You Are Now”: a selection of matronly dresses for mother-in-laws’ special events that fit you perfectly but take away all trace of beauty or sexiness from your appearance.

“Fuck It, Just Wearing My Tits as Accessory” would be full of extraordinarily low cut dresses meant to disorient and distract the viewer from everything else happening with the body sitch by presenting an astonishing amount of cleavage. “I Didn’t Want to Spend Any Money Anyway” would be full of super hot juniors clothes that are neither your size nor style, but are a good price, so you can chalk up lack of buying to not finding just the right thing. “I Was Just Starting To Feel Good” will be full of dresses that fit well but happen to highlight your least attractive feature, like your side back roll. “I Give Up Completely” would have a bunch of shapeless shirts that look like they have been aggressively watercolor-ed with the least compatible colors. “I Can’t Leave Here Without Something” will be exclusively black or “color-blocked” dresses that are stretchy material, lacking any trace of originality, but present certain parts of your body in less than awful ways.

But it wouldn’t all be bad. After you make your sure-to-not-satisfy purchase, they will soften the blow by ushering you into a room with flattering lighting, no mirrors, and a La-Z-Boy where you can eat your mall pretzel in peace. And then it will all be worth it.