Life with Kids, Diet, and Exercise

I like to challenge myself occasionally to see just how much we can jam into a few hours or a few days and still survive.  In order to prove to myself that I can and WILL continue living life with three kids and a husband away for the evening, I think, “Hmmm, what would my husband/mom/mom-in-law think I was crazy for trying to do on my own?” and then I take a deep breath and yell, “Kids! Get your shoes!”

I will not be held hostage to the house because it’s too much work to do anything else, especially to go to a friends’ bbq.

So tonight when I got home and it was raining (YES!  Rain!  Soccer practice cancelled!), I decided to first take advantage of the awesomeness that is the Ashland YMCA and its free child watch program from 5:15-8:15 Monday-Thursday and get a little workout in before we headed over to the bbq we had initially bailed on because of E’s soccer practice. 

Before leaving I steamed some broccoli and cut up some strawberries, and then for fun I thought, hey, we have some kale that needs to be used, I’ll make kale chips too!  (This is the part where a friend at the party might think, hey, I didn’t see any kale chips, and I’d say, hey, hang on a sec, I’ll tell you why.)  While Elvis and Lydia chowed down on some sliced apples and peanut butter and Hank gnawed on an apple… gagging occasionally because he jams the whole thing in his mouth… I preheated, boiled, sliced, and prepped my delicioso goodness. 

I always forget that sea salt is more granular and packs a bigger punch than table salt.  That’s kind of an important detail when you are making kale chips.  The kale crisped up real nice like, but oh. my. salt.  Inedible.  Even though I tried to eat them again when we walked in the door an hour or so ago and nearly died choking on a piece.  Henry watched me with silent concern.  Tears, hacking, sneezing, coughing.  Salt.

With steamed broccoli, sliced strawberries, and no kale chips in hand, the kids and I raced off to the Y. Oh how I love to sweat.  I worked my tail feathers off on the elliptical for 30 minutes and then wobbled around to a few weight machines before calling it a day. 

I am new to the world of afternoon exercise.  I am used to getting up around 5:15 a.m. to work out or waiting until after the kids go to bed.  I am not used to a) it being light out and b) having people see me as I bust a move on the elliptical, and by busting a move I mean red-faced, sweat and snot dripping, hair stuck to my forehead move busting.  Hot.  Really, really hot.  It can’t be a pretty sight.  In the future, I am going to remember that a 5:15 p.m. workout means more people in the wellness center and that I will also need a shower prior to leaving the building.

Because I am new to afternoon fitness, I did not bring deodorant. Or shampoo. Or soap. Or a towel.  I did bring a change of clothes, so there is that.  There’s hope for next time.

Onward, smelly, sweaty mommy!  Onward to the bbq!  Among this group of friends, we have the most kids and the oldest kids.  A couple others have some infants, but we’re the crazy people with the crazy kids who touch everything and run and knock things over and beg for more chips and lemonade and who are denied chips and lemonade and who pout and cry about chips and lemonade until it’s clear that the chips and lemonade were a bad idea and now it is past our bedtime anyway so let’s GO.

I really like trying to make it to things like this because I love these people and enjoy conversation, but I am not always sure whether our kids are a delight or an annoyance, and I am terrified about them being an annoyance.  I worry whether they are behaving well enough to not wear out our welcome, but I also want them to have a good time.  I don’t want them to be those kids or for us to be that family.  Here they come! Ah! Run away!

It’s partly due to the fact that we have some kidless friends and by default kidless friends don’t have to deal with kids all of the time, so I just expect them to be overwhelmed by my herd.  This expectation launches me into overdrive parenting.  Behave so these people will keep wanting to be our friends!  I want to whisper to the kids.  This is probably unnecessary; I don’t think our friends think we’re the crazy parents with the crazy kids.  I think they think our kids are kids, hyper, silly, goofy, lovely kids.  But that doesn’t stop me from the paranoia that our kidless friends are going to say adios to the Wellses because they don’t want to deal with our little people anymore.

The bbq was quite nice, and the food was AMAZING. The grillmaster did a phenomenal job on some pork loin and chicken in particular.  The kids managed to enter and exit the scene without breaking or spilling anything, and Henry only whined and squirmed most of the time.  I left too late, which compounded silliness with sleepiness, but Henry conked out quick when we got home and the older two were asleep shortly after that.  Deep sigh.  Silence.

School has started, indeed, and with it the nine-month sprint to accomplish the next goal.  On the agenda for the weekend: the first soccer games.  Stay tuned.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

2 thoughts on “Life with Kids, Diet, and Exercise

  1. I SO do this…constantly worrying not so much about Ward's behavior but how much it's bothering/offending everyone else:) Then I remember that, as my wise husband says, “nobody's grading you” and I take a deep breath! Glad your workouts are going well, too–you are balancing so many things!


  2. I felt like I was reading about myself in this post! I kept nodding my head and saying, “Yup! I do that too. Yup, that's happened to me before, too.” And what's funny is I'll probably try the same sort of thing again….maybe today!


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