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My Heart Belongs To My Treadmill

Life was a little easier in some ways when my three children were preschoolers. For example, we would drive past those familiar fast food Golden Arches and they would beg to go in for a Happy Meal. When I didn’t feel like stopping in I would tell them things like, “McDonald’s isn’t open on Tuesdays”. Or “I received an email earlier today from the owner saying they are out of french fries and toys” (the two primary reasons to dine there in their eyes). Youthful gullibility used to my full advantage.

Over the years I kept this up with other things as well. Including the use of my precious treadmill, the love of my life.

I have a home gym in my basement. I am the founding owner and sole member. It’s an exclusive club. Not even an “invitation-only” membership (full disclosure…Pre-quarantine I begrudgingly allowed my husband to use my unused treadmill the three mornings a week I headed to a local gym to kickbox.) It’s my sacred space.  A place I work out religiously.

To avoid them from invading my space, for years I told my kiddos there were national safety rules about a minimum age to use a treadmill which they still had not reached. Funny, as time passed by, that age inched up. That youthful gullibility.

A couple of weeks ago when we found out school closed its doors for my three children my husband and I sat down to talk about what homeschooling was going to look like. My husband casually mentioned a daily gym class. Made good sense to me. My high schooler could practice her LaCrosse drills for the team. My other two kids could run their familiar basketball team skills drills. And then my husband mentioned the unmentionable. Since we lived in the Midwest with its signature Midwest cold weather, they could go in the basement and use the treadmill. MY treadmill.

I glared at him with my evilest of eyes, rivaling that of my teenage daughter’s signature stare. Gritted my teeth while muttering choice words under my breath.

I envisioned waiting in line two people deep to use MY equipment. Making a nose dive for MY television remote so I can choose what to watch. No silly cartoons. Only my regular celebrity cooking shows will bless my TV screen.

The new reality of our new quarantine normal includes an age old lesson in sharing. What’s a mommy stuck in a house with three kids to do? Slap a smile on her face and embrace her new workout buddies. Take one for the workout team. Make her personal space public domain.

So I’ve embraced my new situation out of necessity. We do together the Facebook three-minute workout challenges my kickboxing gym posts daily. Sometimes they watch me and hold the timer (while making fun of my funky moves).

Other times we work out parallel to one another, sharing a floor mat.

And my forced effort to be patient is becoming less forced day by day. Like the other day when I was working through my workout with the more than occasional interruption of, “Mommy, Mommy! Watch this”. Yes, my workout buddy, that’s a very nice summerault. Thanks for sharing. Again.

So until the Midwest cold no longer prevents outdoor gym class, membership to the home gym will increase by three. Or I will set my alarm to workout early morning, the period before they wake up for gym class.

This blog post is by Jennifer Saber. Jennifer, who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is Shutaf’s Educational Development Consultant.

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