Big wet snowflakes filled the sky and suctioned to my sunglasses as the wind whipped through me. I pushed Adelaide in her new stroller, and I attempted to sashay up the hill.
“Mini skirt!” our class leader shouted, describing the type of short steps we were to make as we swung our hips. “Right-hand hold only. Punch the sky with your left hand.”
Seven moms with accompanying strollers lined the path behind the art museum in single file. We were passed by bicyclists and joggers, and we must have been quite the sight. Our instructor is Strollercize certified, and we were all taking part in a free Stroller Me Skinny class. The high-speed winds and unexpected snow added to the ridiculousness of the scene.
“Oh. My. God.” I heard a male voice approaching from behind. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
I knew he was talking about us.
Purposefully overloud he said, “Did I ever tell you I hate children?” As he and his lady friend jogged by us, he said it again, even louder, “Did I ever tell you I hate children?”
I’m sure we did look laughable – privileged white women pushing our babies in fancy jogging strollers as we did lunges and stopped at workout “stations” to do kicks and resistance training. For the serious runner who runs that path every Saturday morning, I’m sure we were annoyingly slow and in the way. If it had been a few years earlier and I had run across our group, I might have snapped a photo. I might have made fun.
But, for new moms who have a hard time carving out time for themselves, this was a good way to get out of the house and get some exercise while spending time with our babies. And, no matter how silly we may have looked, it was actually a good workout. I was still sore three days later.
It wasn’t until recently that I’ve started to feel a bit down about my body. I gained around 30 pounds in my pregnancy, and I lost the first 15 pounds right away. I was sure to be easy on myself the first few months. I had just grown a baby, I knew I deserved a break. But now, it’s 7 months later and I still can’t fit into many pairs of my pants. Tops hug my tummy in unflattering ways they never did before. I have a hard time getting dressed in the morning because my work wardrobe is especially limited.
I was told that breastfeeding would help melt away the pounds, and maybe it has, but not fast enough for my liking. I know breastfeeding does have that effect for some people. I’ve met at least two women who at just a handful of months postpartum already weighed less than they did pre-baby. One woman I saw recently was as sensitive about her skinniness as most women are about the weight they’ve gained. “I swear I’m eating!” the woman blurted out in defense when someone commented on how great she looked.
I’ve read in several places that some women’s bodies hang on to the last 10 pounds until after the baby weans completely. “Yeah, don’t count on that one either,” a friend recently warned me.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get much exercise. I walk to the subway for work. I walk the dog every night. I could do more. I have a workout DVD that’s just gathering dust. I’ve heard about streaming free yoga and exercise videos on Netflix Instant, but I haven’t tried it yet. This being a mom thing isn’t easy. It would be nice if people would put their judgments aside, or at least, keep them to themselves.
And for all the other moms out there who aren’t quite happy with their post-baby body, I’m in it with you. Not everyone can have a personal trainer and personal chef on-hand like the celebrity moms we see in the magazines. It’s a struggle for most of us, and it’s okay to talk about it. And it’s okay to make an idiot of yourself in a Stroller Me Skinny class once in a while.