I fed the kids lunch, but their dirty plates are still on the table.
I folded the laundry, but I didn’t put it away.
There are toys all over the floor, there are books all over the couch, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, the garbage taken out… So many tasks left half finished, so many others I don’t dare start. There is one thing, ONE thing, to which I give my all, every time. One thing I refuse to let fall to the wayside: exercise. My workouts are not always long, they are not always sweaty, but they happen. I MAKE them happen. I CHOOSE to exercise, in the midst of all the other things that “have to” get done. The sink full of dishes can wait. The laundry can wait. The messy playroom can wait. The grown man I live with and love with and laugh with - he can wait too. The kids can’t really wait but that’s okay, because they’re the best, even when they’re the worst.
I didn’t always choose exercise over cleaning, or cooking, or playing, or running errands, or any other necessary but thankless task that needed doing. I felt the same pressure we all do to minimize the messy parts of life. I loved exercise, I missed exercise, but I just couldn’t figure out how to work it into the schedule. Should I wake up before the kids? Ha! That would mean getting up before 5 AM, and even then there is no guarantee I’ll have more than 20 minutes to myself. Also, that would be ridiculous. Should I wait until the kids are asleep? Again, no. That is prime adult hang-out time, which is just not something I’m willing to give up.
So all day long I was doing this, that and the other thing for someone else.
I was tired, I was resentful, I was thinking “when do I get a damn minute!?” The answer is, YOU DON’T. You don’t get a minute. You have to take it.
Let’s be real: you can’t get everything done. So you prioritize - and I prioritize exercise. I choose to workout instead of doing the 16 other things I could be doing because I know completing a workout will make me feel accomplished, capable and strong. I ask myself, in an hour from now, will I feel better having exercised or vacuumed? Having exercised, of course! Should I yell at my kids for the next 30 minutes or just let them watch Sesame Street while I workout? Sesame Street, hello!! On the days I exercise I am kinder, I have more patience, and I feel like a badass.
Of course there are days it feels like the universe spits in your eye, and nothing gets done. That’s life. I aim to dedicate a solid hour to movement two or three times a week, but if I only have 30 minutes, you can bet I will make the most of that time; it’s always quality over quantity. If I have the time and energy, I will do two videos and/or a Core Compression™ sequence. If I’m a bit rushed, I pick a shorter video and call it a day. I trust the EMbody workouts for safety reasons of course, but also because I know that Leah isn’t going to be reminding me about swimsuit season, only proper form!
When I take time for exercise, I tell my kids what I am doing and that it is important to me. Let them see me get sweaty and happy! Exercise is a privilege, not a punishment. I hope that as they grow, they will enjoy strengthening their bodies and creating space for their minds as I do.
By Sarah Astourian, mother of two and a Certified EMbody Instructor. Sarah coaches clients in New York and New Jersey to prevent and resolve diastasis recti.