And a One and a Two…

Several of my pregnancy advice books assured me that getting back into shape afterward would be fun and easy. Baby, they said, would either be napping or happy to watch your routine. Even better, baby might want to participate, allowing for many lovely mother-and-child bonding moments. Unfortunately, none of the guide books ever discussed how to work out with a baby around. So this week, I present Chandra's Guide to Fitness While Raising Children:

Wake up bright and early in the morning. Have a cup of coffee to wake up and get that metabolism going. Stand in shower for fifteen minutes wondering why you're not getting clean and realize it's because you've not turned on the water.

Have another cup of coffee. Have vague recollection of being awakened eight or nine times overnight for feedings.

Prepare workout area by laying out mat, hand weights, etc. Begin workout by accidentally stepping on Lego brick. Continue with four minutes of hopping up and down, yelping in pain.

Retrieve baby from crib, now that he's awake. Quickly feed him breakfast before he realizes it may have been as much as an hour since he last ate. Bring baby and playpen into bathroom and spend fifteen minutes in the shower removing the oatmeal from your hair.

Slip into something loose-fitting and comfortable, for example, none of the clothes you could fit into before you got pregnant.

Bring baby and playpen into living room and get into position for your workout. Start with a sit-up. Pause to burp baby. Change clothes so you don't get spit-up all over your workout mat. Return to workout area. Attempt a warm-up stretch. Stop to retrieve all the toys that have been fired out of the playpen. Spend fifteen minutes figuring out how to get Bear Bear out of the lampshade without damaging it. Go back to the workout area. Try a push-up. Wake up with a start when Bear Bear bounces off your head.

Crawl to the coffee pot for another hit. Feed junior his mid-morning snack. Burp him and pat him off to sleep.

Tiptoe back to your workout area. Catch sight of the kitchen. Curse as you realize you have company coming in the evening. Spend fifteen minutes tidying up.

Go back to the mat. Pause to answer the phone. Spend five minutes explaining to the caller that no, you don't have an account with Zippity Wireless, and yes, you're sure your name isn't Gary Kowarski.

Go and get baby, who woke up when the phone rang. Say something very rude about Zippity Wireless and then explain to baby that really, you shouldn't use words like that.

Remove baby's wet diaper. Realize you forgot to throw the washed diapers in the dryer last night. Get them started and lay baby out on a large towel on the linoleum and hand him a few toys.

Answer the door to accept a package. Try not to say rude words to deliveryman who provides impromptu lecture on proper childcare after spotting baby on the towel. Successfully complete five sit-ups. Lie there for several minutes, exhausted, wondering if childbirth wasn't easier. Decide it most definitely was not.

Slither over to coffee pot. Discover it's empty. Resort to chewing the grounds. Mop up around the baby. Retrieve dry diapers, put one on him, and feed him lunch. Answer the door. Have chat with annoying skinny neighbor who keeps asking when she'll see you out for a brisk morning power walk.

Close door and mutter about your neighbor. Explain to baby he shouldn't use any of those words you just said, either. Take baby over to workout mat. Lie down, raise baby above head for a few arm lifts. Enjoy the giggles and repeat a few times. Stop to clean up the spit up. Attempt to do a few sit-ups while holding baby for that extra challenge.

When your back muscle stops twanging, drag self to phone and put in call to husband to arrange car ride to chiropractor. Shove workout equipment into closet. Consider taking it out again when junior is in school.

To read more of Chandra's work, visit

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