I love working out. I love going to the gym. There are plenty of days when I just don't feel like going, but overall, I am happy I'm a person that works out and stays fit, and I know I'm only a person who works out and stays fit if I actually workout on a consistent basis. Therefore, even on days I don't feel like going to the gym, I still go. I workout 5-6 days a week, which for me generally includes some sort of cardio outside at some point during the day (usually early morning) 5-6 days a week and lifting weights at the gym 4-6 days a week. Ronnie joins me for most of my workouts at the gym...cardio we do separately because, well, he doesn't really like running with me (different story for a different day - ha!)
The one tough thing about hospital stays is being with Mckenna, all day, every day...morning, noon and night. And while I work from home and spend A TON of time with her while Ronnie's not in the hospital, it's just different. When Ronnie is home, he takes her all morning while I work. I have an uninterrupted 4 hours, child free. I have someone I can say, "will you take her to the potty?" to. Or someone else to put her down at night. When Ronnie's in the hospital, sure I could ask my parents to do stuff, but I already feel bad enough having them watch her a couple hours a day while I work. After all, it's my child, my responsibility. And I know they don't mind, but I do. So it's a bit of an adjustment from what I'm used to. And often times, I feel overwhelmed (to be totally honest).
SO here's where the gym and free babysitting intersect :) I love working out. And I LOVE a break during the day. Therefore, gym childcare is an AMAZING thing. I get to workout AND have some "me" time. Here's the way I see it. Working out is good for my body and mind. Getting a break from Mckenna is really good for both of us. I have noticed on days when I don't go, my patience is thinner and the way I handle her is different because my stress level is just that much higher. Getting a workout in and a break from being "mom" allows me to be the best mom I can be. I notice just that little hour to hour and a half break gives me the boost I need mentally and resets my emotions, stress level and overall being just enough that the second half of the day I'm simply a better mom than if I hadn't gone at all.
Plus, an added bonus is that Mckenna LOVES other kids, and it's a great opportunity for her to learn how to play with other kids and learn life lessons. Sure we have play dates with other moms and kids, but I find when parents are around, they feel like they have to constantly referee. "No, give that to her! Share. Share, Tommy." "Oops, no, honey, not like that." In childcare, it's a free-for-all. I watch Mckenna on cameras from my cardio machine much of my workout. I watch as kids rip things from her hands and run away. I watch her get bumped into without someone rushing in to pick her up. I watch her wander from group of kids to group of kids trying to muddle her way through awkward social interactions. I watch her sit quietly and read a book. I watch her beg a childcare worker to pick her up, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. I watch her befriend older girls in the room to help her around and play with her. I watch her entertain the babies by bringing them toys and bouncing them in their bouncy seat. All of these things are beneficial in my eyes. All of these things she doesn't get at home. All of these things can be translated into lessons of the real world. Sure I want to punch the little kid in the face that I saw shove her over for no reason (yes, I did actually want to go punch him a little bit...I know, I know, inappropriate), but truth is, it's healthy for Mckenna, and I know that. Had that happened on a play date, the kid's mom would have rushed in (I hope) and scolded him, she would have picked up Mckenna and said sorry, the kid would have been forced to say sorry. It would have been a whole big ordeal. There, he pushed her, no one noticed, she picked herself back up, he pushed her again (yes, that is when I wanted to punch him in the face!), he ran away, and she picked her back up again. In life, she will have to do just that. She will be treated poorly for no reason sometimes. She will get no apology sometimes. And will have to pick herself back up, alone, sometimes. And my job is to allow that to happen from time to time....and man it's hard if I'm close by. At the gym, it forces me to let her learn in a new way...while I watch like Big Brother :)
So for those of you moms (or dads) out there that are with your kids all day and don't need a break, I say holy cow, you're my hero. For the other 99.9% of parents out there, I say, join a gym! You don't even have to work out intensely every day. There are some days that I don't feel like working that hard, so I just mindlessly stroll on the treadmill and browse Pinterest...sad but true! The renewed energy I have when Mckenna and I walk out the doors makes me attack the rest of the day and be the best mom I can be for Mckenna!