I recently bought myself a treadmill, and I've been feeling pretty grumbly about it. Oh my, poor little me who has a big pile of money to spend on it and a brand new house big enough to hold it and hasn't had anything approaching a real job in over two years. I have a hard life. But I bought the treadmill so that I could stop trying to make it to the gym, and I love the gym. I mean sure, the gym sucks donkey balls, but going to the gym keeps my ass from expanding to the size of Cleveland and regular exercise is the difference between Angry, Bitchy, Mean Beth and Content, Sometimes Nice, Not Quite as Bitchy Beth. (Hey, can't fight nature.)
Going to the gym is the single time in my life when I'm not Mommy, when I'm not in someway responsible for my child. Sure, she sleeps and even sometimes plays on her own for minutes at a time, but even if I am not directly involved, if Mia and I are in the same place, I am responsible. I can tell from the noises coming from the playroom whether she is happily playing with her trains or getting ready to parachute from the top of the bookshelves. I can sleep straight through Chris's alarm clock, but a change in her breathing pattern wakes me from a dead sleep. I am always the Mommy, most weeks I go nowhere at all without her, and I was pretty bitter that I couldn't manage to leave the house on my own for three or four hours a week. But I couldn't do it. It just wasn't happening, and when we moved her bedtime from 7:00 to 8:00 I knew it would likely never happen again. So I bought the treadmill and pretended like I thought it was really cool but secretly, I was pretty much just bitter and angry about it.
But then, you know what I did at naptime yesterday? 45 minutes on the treadmill with the baby monitor in the cup holder. And no, it wasn't exactly what I wanted, it wasn't my first choice, but it also wasn't continuing to sacrifice myself for my Mommy-ness. I'm learning, very slowly, how to compromise. How to be the mommy I want to be and still be the person I want to be. And if that means spending every naptime on the treadmill, at least it beats cleaning the bathrooms.