Since giving birth to Baby Henry last November, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting back in shape. By “toying,” I mean signing up for a gym membership (year-long commitment) and buying new yoga pants (yes, size large). I’ve been three times since. No, wait…four. The journey is a slow one.

I had a wonderful plan all worked out. Two or three times a week, I’d get up at 4 a.m., nurse Baby Henry, kiss the husband goodbye, put on the coffee, and dart off in the dark of pre-dawn to the gym. I did this twice, and it was actually very pleasant. And then I got home with only 45 minutes to spare before I had to have myself and Baby Henry fed, dressed, ready for the day. Not okay. Simon is a great partner in this, but we never really got the timing down.

So, okay. I’ll go after work.

Yeah, right.

By the time I get home, it’s usually about 5 o’clock. Not so bad for a working mother, but once I or Simon pick up Baby Henry from daycare, we have all of three hours to spend with him before Baby Henry turns into Baby Hyde. Oh, yes…And dinner. Laundry. Dishes. And wasn’t I supposed to be a writer, too?

So, what to do?

Step 1: Suppress the guilt

Being a results-oriented semi-high-achiever, I create and carry with me a Judgment Zone that I not only inflict on myself, but on other people, too. But since Baby Henry’s birth, I’ve found that the things that drag me down emotionally (not going to the gym, not working on my fiction, not having enough breast milk, not being able to be a stay-at-home mom), really don’t hold as much weight as they once did…

…Until they do. Then, they are the worst things ever.


Step 2: Try again

Trying again is a lot easier when one doesn’t feel guilty for not trying hard enough to succeed the first time around. I’m not sure if this means that I don’t care. Or perhaps it means that I’ve reached a healthier mind-set. Or maybe it means that I’m doomed before I even begin because I won’t be so hard on myself when I choose to hit the snooze button for the 8th time. But, I’m not living with the guilt anymore, which does indeed make me happier. So what if I’m 20 pounds heavier than I’d like to be? Is it anyone’s business but my own?

Snooze button successfully hit.


Step 3: Try again (for real this time)

Yeah, it’s freaking hard to get myself up to go to the gym. Especially when it’s still dark out, and Baby Henry has just finished nursing and he’s cooing and cuddling next to me in bed. And Simon’s on the other side of me, snoring softly and smelling of woodsmoke and cinnamon. But I will try again. Because ultimately, I want to be lighter, healthier, and unencumbered–both by guilt and these extra 20 pounds. Soon enough, Baby Henry will weigh 20 pounds. And not far after that, a brother or sister may be coming along.

And I want to be ready for both.