Cool (Not) Mom versus the Treadmill

Well very proud of myself over here I now actually go to the gym (in addition to hours and hours of housework). Before all of you decide I should receive a medal for this activity think again. This may sound normal but it is anything but. I was homeschooled for my high school years and therefore I have never had to endure a REAL gym in my life (with exception of attendance at a variety of kid’s plays and school productions and in weekly Grades school attendance grades 1-5). Earlier in the year (pressured by the fit-obsessed 12-year-old) I signed up for a family membership at the local gym.

The gym or the hallowed halls of physical fitness

Hallowed halls in the inner sanctum of physical fitness

I was given tour as the initiation into the inner sanctum of the hallowed halls of the physical fitness temple. In order to complete this rite of passage from the dark side, the gym presented me with gifts including my own gym bag and t-shirt (not to mention a variety of other doodads like key chains and gym-swipe card holders). After the first tour of this revered establishment and sufficient time to reflect on the multitudes of mediaeval torture machines all arrayed to work out “different” muscle groups in your body, I made a decision. This old gal would never quite “get there” but might be able to fulfill the requirements of appearing to “try” by pursuing the bike and the treadmill. Yep, these relatively “normal” machines won in my books by a long shot. I could possibly achieve some level of physical fitness while appearing “cool” (not embarrassing my children) and not having to break too big a sweat beyond what I was used to cleaning up after my lot!

For a while this seemed ok. The bike was a no-brainer. The only frustration was to not actually be going anywhere and then that dumb button that the trainer kept using to increase the resistance. The other alternative torture equipment seemed more attractive. Not only could I listen to tunes, and briskly walk on this moving side-walk, I did not have to do the stuff I do at home when walking around the house (such as stooping and bending to pick up whatever the small fry have dropped, ignored, forgotten to put away…not to mention the path of destruction left in the wake of the teenagers passing through)! My preference overall was the treadmill.

At the office for years my coworkers have boasted about their time at the gym where their dedication has paid off and they are able to prove real weight loss and (now post-gym) firmer muscles. The majority of my co-workers doing the boasting are 50 plus. In short a bunch of cougars (including myself). Well after having 9 kids and remaining a size 8 (mostly throughout) the gym was just never something I was attracted to or really even remotely interested in. The amount of harried housework I do here (after my 40 hour regular work week at an outside job) seemed sufficient. That was until the 12-year-old announced that although I was “thinner” than all the moms she knew…I had “flabby” arms and legs. (!!)

All this to say is that I decided at the ripe old age of 47 to go to the gym if for no other reason than to inspire (or embarrass) my family members to do likewise. The real challenge is finding enough time for me (you know when all the laundry is done, cleaning , chauffeuring, shopping more laundry, baths and bedtime and other rituals completed) to actually go to the gym. The husband thought the gym was a joke. In the interests of persuading the husband to eventually use the family membership I felt it necessary to lead forth by example and do my part no matter how small or insignificant.

Well this particular evening the 18-year-old was in need of a ride home from work (I did list “chauffeuring” as one of my sidelines) and “work” was across the street from the gym. This night the husband was home so I quickly volunteered for the driving assignment ahead of time. I devilishly plotted to leave early from home to afford me twenty minutes to worship at the physical fitness temple. Furthering my scheme I informed the 18-year-old that his chauffeur would be “working out” and he should walk across the street to meet me at the gym and I would be finished by then and drive him back home. Everything went well. I escaped my responsibilities and was very proud of my sneaky tactic to get a few moments to myself. Having limited time I chose the treadmill as the “torture de jour”.

Running on treadmill

Having limited time I chose the treadmill as the “torture de jour”

I looked around, the gym was packed with a cross-section of humanity comprised of older men (at least 60) and female whipper-snappers years my junior (most late 20s early 30s). Knowing my older kids regularly attend this gym as it always is with teenagers one must come and go without “embarrassing” one’s offspring. (Sadly the definition of embarrassment amongst the teenage crowd can be simply breathing within 500 yards of the kids or their friends). I surveyed the joint. Several women were hard at work jogging on the treadmills and all of them with earphones and iPods/cell phones “tuned out” to music. I took my place and placed the earphones in my ears quite proud of how I was now “totally cool” (too bad the kids weren’t there to witness this one) and started on the treadmill. My normal workout is about 20-25 minutes of speed walking. I looked at the clock, five minutes had already passed. I am now very assured of my “coolness” as I too am now listening to tunes and power walking my way to less “flab.”

Suddenly I am face down on this satanic contraption as it whips me across the room spitting my phone and headphones into my face at a velocity of a tornado and smack right into my mouth. As I lay there now the poster child for all things “NOT COOL MOM” (wondering if I my insurance would cover a full set of dentures) I noticed the gym had fallen silent with almost every patron within 100 feet rushing to my side.

Treadmill accident

"Satanic contraption as
it whips me across the room"

I realized that the pursuit of youth and fitness is way overrated and far too dangerous for this “older goat.” When the multitudes receded (and after I was helped up into a chair) I was hoping to hear that someone in that group (you know the young 20 or 30 something hip gals with the latest iPods) had at least videotaped me. I was brutally aware of how embarrassing this would be for the kids (even though they were not present) and the only way to survive this and maintain my “coolness credibility” would be if someone had videotaped the evil treadmill throwing me across the room then I would be on YouTube and be “cool” anyway.

Sadly no one videotaped me and therefore the tales of my misfortune at the hands of this demonic machine has left all but the 2-year-old (only because she is NEVER embarrassed of me) hanging their head in shame. But there is a silver lining. Many of those mortified children are now walking to the gym to avoid being seen with the “flabby, uncool mom” …works for me…chauffeuring to the gym I can now remove from my “to-do” list!

The gym is not for me…I will be staying home and cleaning, washing, scrubbing and vacuuming my way to a more built, less flabby middle-aged maternal specimen. At least this way I may fall doing all of the above but I can easily avoid a diabolical machine firing my phone and equipment right into my face and therefore might be able to retain my teeth until retirement. Housework as a means of achieving physical fitness is most underrated!

A very “cool” Garden Goat nonetheless!


14 thoughts on “Cool (Not) Mom versus the Treadmill

  1. love this! my sisters (who don’t have kids) refuse to believe that cleaning and taking care of kids counts as a workout. I also have a serious fear of falling off the treadmill, it really is an evil machine! your blog is great 🙂

  2. Pingback: Gym Procrastination | Shell Belle

  3. I’m banned from the gym part of our health club, as my son uses it regularly. On the up side, it means he doesn’t embarrass me by dive-bombing the outdoor pool, or oogling the toned yoga bottoms (because where I am, he will not set foot)! Thank you for brightening up my day even more 🙂

    • I could not agree more…I now am going back to the gym (that night I was quite injured in spite of the laughs in my blog) in the meantime I have about 5 hours a day of a workout while I clean up after the tribe! I have relatives with diabetes and know first hand what a toll this takes on one’s health. My children regularly attend the gym. My son goes daily. Thanks for your comment and the reminder to all how important regular significant physical exercise is in maintaining good health through lifestyle choices. The Garden Goat 😎

  4. Pingback: New Year 2013 … | gardengoatquote

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