And now for today’s feature match; in the red corner it’s ‘The kids have been at day care all day I don’t want to drop them at gym day care so I can exercise.’ In the blue corner it’s ‘I need to exercise.’
UGH! The classic dilemma…a seemingly unwinnable tug of war…both seem right, both seem wrong…do I, don’t I?…no black, no white, all grey… This is a decision that no doubt carries many underlying dynamics. Hopefully, the talking points are useful to your sorting, but it’s well understood there are umpteen million variables unique to you and your family that play into the final resolution.
Thoughts to consider about the dilemma:
—Let go of considering it a win/loss situation, in which your kids lose at the hands of you when you park them so you can exercise. Since it IS an option you haven’t ruled out due to an egregious facility or incapable attendants, your kids might just like getting dropped. Maybe it’s not so bad that you leave them.
—You are a better parent when you are at your best, and exercise uniquely gifts profound benefits that contribute significantly. With all due respect, maybe it’s not so bad to foster your healthfulness.
—The cost-to-benefit of dropping your kids off likely doesn’t skew as negatively as you may imagine. Your health-related self will be stronger and your kids will (likely) be no worse for the wear of gym day care.
—The importance of role modeling regular physical activity to your kids – even as infants – can’t be overstated! First, the need for/ response to/ benefit from physical activity is gender neutral. You message this to boys and girls by being regularly active. Second, kids who grow up in active families develop active habits; kids who grow up in inactive families develop inactive habits. This is especially poignant for girls since compared to boys their activity level drops off significantly around age 13, but considerably less (if any) if mom is regularly active.
—Use the time to hone skills of sports/activities you and your kids can do together (e.g., golf, tennis – your role modeling will inspire them to hone theirs) when they are ready. Set yourself up to be able to enjoy this type of quality family time.
—If you decide to use gym day care, do so positively and with confidence – ‘Yep I’m going to exercise and you get to go to day care’! Any hesitancy or reluctance on your part will send confusing messages. Like anything, if YOU make it seem ok, they will think it’s ok.
Guilt is NASTY but in the grand scheme of things this might be one of those times you can give yourself a ‘no guilt’ card, ‘cause maybe it’s just not so bad…
Note – If you are determined to exercise but dead set against dropping them at gym day care brainstorm an Instant Activity. For example, pull them in their wagon, go for a power stroller walk, play follow the leader at the playground. Albeit a different form of activity than gym exercise, it is exercise.