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Hi, I’m Kez and I get weird whenever I’m about to try something I’ve never done before. Like freaking out about where I will park when I drive somewhere I’ve never been or turning up somewhere like 6 hours too early because being early feels like the only thing I can control about a new situation.
Well, this week I finally joined a gym.
And let me tell you, it was an ordeal for me.
At first I was all fired up about it and ready to jump into it with gusto. I had tried one too many times to do a home work out, with my son nagging me while I huffed and puffed, and my daughter crying and fussing (even though she was with her dad – a human being perfectly capable of catering to her needs). I WAS SO DONE.
I literally ran off crying and I was so pissed, you guys.
I had been watching my health decline. I was stacking on weight (as well as body fat). My resting heart rate had been increasing with stress, fatigue and lack of fitness. I felt time poor and I was struggling mentally because I wasn’t getting those endorphins (among other things). I felt mad at myself for letting myself be run ragged and putting everyone first to the point of making myself suffer. I felt like nobody else was championing the cause of wife/mama being healthy because she’s the backbone of this family, y’know?
So anyway, I thought – fuck ’em. I will LEAVE MY HOME to exercise. I will spend the money on myself. I will not give anybody any other option but to accept/support me doing this for ME. Just like it’s a given that my husband will get up at a dumb time for a weekend to go cycling, why couldn’t I have the same assurance that my physical and mental health would be taken care of too? I had spent too long trying to fit my shit in between everybody else and failing.
And then reality kicked in. After a really quick messenger chat conversation with my old school friends (who were already gym buddies and had let it be known that any time I wanted to join them I was very welcome), I was all in. Just like that. I closed that chat window and thought WTF JUST HAPPENED. WHAT HAVE I DONE. I SAID IT OUT LOUD AND NOW I’M GOING TO HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE. HOLY SHIT.
I had researched the group fitness classes on offer and looked into getting a free 7 day pass to begin with. I was going to do Body Combat twice a week. I was going to drop the Little Miss at the creche. I was going to become a fit, punching, kicking machine of a human being.
Easy, right? Nope.
I asked my very patient and supportive friends like 50 questions about what to do. How did I get my pass? How did I get my daughter set up for creche? What if this happened, what if that happened? I googled Body Combat to make sure I knew what to expect. I visited the gym website like 50 times a day. I researched the membership options. I turned up the day before my first class so I could sort everything out in person. I was a mess. I’m not kidding. I lost sleep. First world problems, much?
I tried to reassure myself that this was the exact reason I needed to do something. Because my anxiety is so ridiculous and exercise would help. I told myself that after the first session, I would feel so much better.
But then I didn’t feel better.
The Little Miss had a shit first time at creche. Everything was chaotic. They corrected my own spelling of her name (!) and seemed to be confused about who she was. I was told different things about her time in there by two different staff members. She wasn’t fed any of her snacks, even though I was told she’d eaten her banana (um I didn’t pack her a banana and she didn’t seem to show any signs of having had any). Another child bopped her on the head with a toy and it left a red mark. They kept her original immunisation records after taking a copy, instead of giving them back. I had felt underprepared (ha – hilarious considering my blog name). I had underestimated what a big deal it would be for me leaving her in the care of people she didn’t know for the first time in her life (it might have just been for an hour but it took it out of me emotionally more than I expected). I left there feeling confused and dejected. I was glad I’d done a pretty good first work out, but that was it.
Then the next time I was supposed to attend, the Little Miss had had the night from hell and I knew that neither of us would have a positive experience. I let my friends know I wasn’t coming and felt like an idiot.
The time after, my free trial had lapsed and I had to purchase a proper membership to continue, but it was just before pay day and I had to miss out again. I felt like my friends would think I was never coming back. They honestly didn’t care at all, but I felt like a flake.
I had timed everything completely wrong. In hindsight I should have waited a week or two to join and got my shit together and sorted some stuff in my personal life first. Doh.
Finally, I was in the position to try again and I became TERRIFIED. I started talking myself out of it. Membership is a commitment. I was scared that more shit would keep happening and I’d waste my money and time. I worried about the Little Miss – what if it wasn’t just a one off bad session in creche?
Some firm words from my husband helped a lot.
He was all, “Don’t be silly. You can’t do this overthinking thing. You are going to join the gym and everything is going to be OK and it’s time to get on with it.”
I’d like to say I was fine from that moment on, but I wasn’t.
I weirdly freaked about the Little Miss’ vaccination details. Like I was overly fixated on it all. Why had nobody given the card back? What if I never saw it again? Where were the Little Mister’s records (I’d need to provide his so he could attend on school holidays)? Where had I stashed his stuff?? I called Medicare and asked for new copies of their records to be sent out.
I literally lost sleep for two nights (I’d wake with the Little Miss needing something but then my brain wouldn’t shut off). Luckily I eventually remembered that I’m married to a person who is my partner in life and asked my husband if he could locate my son’s original records. He did. I was so grateful. I was going to the gym again. I was going to TURN UP.
And guess what. Everything turned out OK. I didn’t forget anything. They gave me back both kids’ records (the Little Miss’ had been kept safe and sound for over a week). The vibe at the creche was so much more organised and calm than that first ‘off’ day. The Little Miss had all her snacks (which I had packed in her new personalised back pack with everything labelled with lovely name stickers – even her shoes). All was well. She only cried when I came to get her. The Little Mister had a great time and was excited when I said we could do it all again in a couple of days. My fitbit told me I’d done a better work out than the first time. I was getting the hang of all the moves (still unco but improved haha).
Plus, those extra copies of my kids’ immunisation details will turn up in the mail and I’ll always feel glad I have back ups (if I don’t put them in too safe a place LOL) 😂
I hadn’t been to the gym since before kids. Trust me when I say, it’s great for you to get that time to exercise without them under foot, but OMG it’s still a lot of work to get there. Like you have to pack stuff for them and get them out of the door and be conscious of them being cared for in another room the whole time and get back to them in time etc. I am not that child free 20 something anymore, that’s for sure haha.
But it’s worth it and it is absolutely 100% better than nothing.
Anyway, the moral of my story is that if you’re struggling and you’re freaking out about something you feel like everyone else does easily all the time, you’re not alone. HI! OVER HERE! FELLOW ANXIOUS WEIRDO! Also, if you’re being an anxious weirdo all the time and it makes you feel terrified, then do the thing. Maybe you need it more than most. Push through that fear and conquer it. You’ll either thank yourself and be glad you did it or it might not be for you, but there’s nothing that can’t be undone (with a hopefully small exit fee) or learned from. You got this.