She starts BAWLING. "Mamaaaaaaaaa! Maaaaaaaaammmmmmaaaaaa!" I smile sheepishly to the girl working in the nursery and mutter something to the effect of "usually she calms down in a minute or two." As I sneak away to get my bench set up, her cries follow me into the HIIT room. I put my things down, set up my spot, and then go back to check on her. I can't hear her screaming anymore. I breathe a sigh of relief and head back into my workout.
Thirty minutes of plyo sumo squats, pivot jumps, single-leg jumps, mountain climbers, bench shuffle push ups, squat presses, and lateral jumps later, I'm picking up my equipment and feeling like a boss because A) I kept up with the group, even though I hadn't been to this particular class since last summer and B) there were no burpees today. Then the door opens and the girl from the front desk pokes her head in.
"Are you finished?" she asks.
My heart sinks.
Rascal is red-faced and splotchy and swollen, and tears are rolling down her little cheeks. I scoop her up and snuggle her and she beams at me, all tragedy forgotten. "Mama! Sip a water! Keys! Beep beep!" I'm relieved that she's okay, I'm mortified that the poor girl working the nursery had to listen to her caterwauling, and I'm horrified that she was so upset while I got my sweat on 100 yards away, oblivious to her despondency. My stomach is in knots, all feelings of accomplishment from the workout gone. Instead I just feel like shit.
Buckling her into the carseat, she exclaims gleefully, "Mama! I cwy at da gy-um!"
Yes, my sweet girl, yes you do.
Herein lies the problem. What's a mom to do? Do I take her to the nursery again, hoping for a better experience next time? Do I ask my mom to babysit (AGAIN) so I know she's in Hog Heaven at Nana's house? Do I only go to the gym when Daddo is home, and miss out on family time? No matter which way I look at it, someone is being inconvenienced... all for my selfish desires.
But... wanting to be the best version of me... is that really selfish?
Being a mom is hard. Your whole identity changes when this tiny, pink, wailing bundle is placed in your arms for the first time. You no longer exist as your own person. You're now Mom. 24/7. There's no escaping it. There's no more doing whatever you want, whenever you feel like it. It is bone-crunchingly draining being the whole world to one little person.
But you know what?
Being overweight is hard, too. Your whole identity changes when someone points at you and calls you fat for the first time.You only exist as "that chubby girl." You're fat. 24/7. You feel like there's no escaping it. There's no more throwing on some shorts and heading out the door without a second thought. It is mind-numbingly depressing being the overweight one "hiding" in long pants in the middle of summer, hoping no one will notice you.
But in loving myself, does my child have to suffer? My spunky, spirited, strong-willed little Rascal Mae?
Well, if I still weighed over 200 pounds, we'd both be suffering.
Because I wouldn't feel the way I do now.
I wouldn't feel like having dance parties in the kitchen. I couldn't race to the end of the driveway to stop her from running into the street. I'd be glued to a bench at the playground, watching her play instead of following her up the stairs and helping her slide down the slide on my lap. I'd be too tired to run and play and take walks and do whatever her crazy-smart little mind can come up with. Rascal would be stuck with a mom who hated herself.
So call me selfish. But my daughter is going to have a mom who's comfortable in her own skin, and that is a beautiful thing.