The Parent Paunch

As a stay at home parent, it is very easy to let yourself go.  I can’t say I shower, shave, put on deodorant and a collared shirt, and greet the day with an air of professionalism commensurate with the parenting-is-a-job-too crowd.  Think more – pajama bottoms until 10:00 and hair that looks like it left your head last night and went to a rave.  But I do put on pants and a hat, and frankly my audience doesn’t much care what I look like.  Seriously, you should see the stellar color coordination I outfit her with, and she adds her own colors at meals anyway.

Harder to avoid is the parent paunch.  First of all, you are home all day.  When you are at work there are designated break and lunch times.  When you’re home, the fridge is always there, a couple steps away, whispering in your ear.  And when your kid is melting down, I’ll admit its siren call becomes all that sweeter – meaning that the chocolate section of the choir rises to the fore.  I’m not an over eater, but it’s easy to snack.

First I tried running.  I knew better than to drop $400 on a jogging stroller.  First I tried to develop the habit – one that, in all my life, has never stuck.  So when Josie would go down for a nap, I’d put on some ‘running shoes,’ plug into the IPod, turn the monitor on and leave the receiver by the road.  I’d run around the block with Clover, taking my earbuds out every time I ran by her window.  I don’t think I ever made it past 10 times around the block before my lungs threatened my legs to stop by taking my stomach hostage and threatening everyone with vomit.  So much for running.

A gym membership would be expensive, and I don’t think any of the little gyms even have daycare for babies around here, so that was out of the question.  However, working out was not.  I’ve always actually kind of liked lifting weights, but not really liked the narcissistic mirrors-everywhere atmosphere of gyms.  So my dad gave my high school free weights back and I bought an adjustable bench.  I’ve been working pretty regularly for a couple months now, and though I can’t say I’ve lost weight, its composition is at least changing in the right way.


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