Two weeks ago, I learned about a local opportunity for a “Mommy and Me Bootcamp” at the lake, an exercise program designed with busy moms in mind that involves exercising with your children. I was ecstatic. Ezra LOVES exercising with me at home, often counting for me or getting on my back/tummy while I do crunches, squats, or pushups.
I figured this would be PERFECT! He would be around other kids, I could hang out with other moms, and I might actually be able to keep up, because if there are kids involved it can’t be too intense!
The first class I went to turned out “disastrous.” We arrived early and Ezra ran around playing soccer with some of the bigger boys. (We discovered that he can already dribble!)
When it came time for the actual exercise class, Ezra’s interest quickly waned. He didn’t want to participate…he wanted to go walk. And when I tried to encourage him to participate, or had to chase him down to bring him back to the group, he started crying and even screaming. I was frustrated… embarrassed. He was the only kid (and there were several other toddlers there) acting this way. I kept trying to work out while still consoling him and chasing him. Finally I gave up and left.
I figured that he was probably just worn out from playing soccer. It was hot outside. We would try again next week.
Well try we did, with about the same results. Even arriving late (on purpose), the exercising only held his attention for about 2 minutes. Then he wanted to “Walk? Walk? Duckies? Walk? Duckies?”
I tried everything I could think of to get his attention back onto the exercising and involve him in it, but he wasn’t having it. And the more I resisted him, the more frustrated he got, and his tears began flowing.
I caught myself saying something like, “But Ezra, look! All the other kids are doing it!” And I cringed. Is that the way I want to raise him? To do things that he doesn’t want to do simply because that’s what “all the other kids” (or moms) are doing? Is it really worth it to force him into that mold?
From his perspective, he sees a HUGE park–with trees, grass, and ducks. He wants to walk, to run, to explore. And I can’t blame him. All the other kids just wanted to jump up and down in place, but he saw the bigger picture…
And so as frustrated and embarrassed as I felt, I knew that we were done with boot camp. I chose to take his hand and walk away from all the other moms and kids.
we chased ducks…
We walked some more.
We looked at the water.
We sat down on a bench just to look out over the beautiful lake. We collected rocks.
We didn’t burn lots of calories or gain a lot of muscle, but we had a sweet time together. We left tired and hot, but happy.
I’m learning that, while it’s not wrong to try new things, sometimes they don’t always work out the way we think they should. And that’s okay. Not every kid is the same. Not every mom is the same. And what works for “them” won’t always work for “us.” That doesn’t make us better or worse than them. Just different. And it’s okay to be different…to break away from the pack and do your own thing. And, in my opinion, if it’s not fun for both “mommy” and “me,” then it’s just not worth doing.