Last night I finished off my 30 Workouts in 30 Days challenge with a yoga session at 9:30 pm. It’s been like that some days. But I’m proud to say I completed 28 workouts of the intended 30. I’m more toned and now
dedicated to moving 6-7 days a week from now on instead of just the 3-4 I’d been doing.

You may be wondering if you too should attempt such a fitness challenge.

I think the following evidence speaks for itself, as depicted in Pitter’s recent portrait of me.

Please note:

1. The astounding follicular growth.
4-inch eyelashes. Hair down to there. Eat your heart out, Brooke Shields, with your wacko-eyelash chemical product that turns your blue eyes brown.

2. The long, lean limbs.
I’m now like some kind of hybrid mother/wheeler hybrid out of Return to Oz. Hot damn that movie scared the crap out of me as a kid.

3. The solid triangle shape.
He’s got me on this one. I have control over the size of the triangle, but the miraculous transformation into a tiny hourglass continues to elude me.

4. The big grin.
Yes. I feel a bit happier. So give it a shot yourself. On the days you can’t cram in a “real” sweat session, go for a walk at lunch or get off the couch during nigh-time TV time and do some yoga.

5. The fabulous color.

I wasn’t anywhere near this shade of blue when I began. Really.

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From the New York Times on new research on the happiness vs. age quotient:

On the global measure, people start out at age 18 feeling pretty good about themselves, and then, apparently, life begins to throw curve balls. They feel worse and worse until they hit 50. At that point, there is a sharp reversal, and people keep getting happier as they age. By the time they are 85, they are even more satisfied with themselves than they were at 18.

Researchers are now interested in exactly why people are so much happier when they are in the depths of decay vs. when they are young and sprightly. Is it a chemical or hormonal change in the brain? Is it environmental?

I have a few guesses.

At 18 we’re invincible. Our futures spread before us, brightly lit paths of all possibility. Then we get knocked down a few times. We lose our way. We realize there are truly evil people out there, that our parents and grandparents’ generations were imperfect and have fucked things up for us, just as humanity has always done. We have children. We are exhausted. There is never any silence. We feel our goals slipping away from us. We are chained to our jobs for health insurance and to feed and clothe our families. We feel futile. As we finally pay off our own college debt we must save for our children’s education, knowing full well we’ll be in debt anyway down the road. We realize our culture is shallow and over-sexualized and that even when we were our most physically beautiful at 18 we were never good enough and it’s only getting worse. Our friends get divorced, get cancer. Babies die. Corporations ruin our environment.

And then we turn 50. And it is ridiculous to even pretend that we should compete with the beautiful 18 year olds. Our children are in college or have moved along. We have time to enjoy our spouses again, to have spontaneous sex, to travel. If we are still unhappy with our work, we at least no longer worry that it defines our very souls. We understand that we are not our bodies. We are more interested in the spiritual, in relationships with the people who are wonderful in our lives. We appreciate every moment we have when we love being alive. And we know that life is a gift and that at any time it can be lost.

This is all to say that I have been single-parenting since Sunday morning while Sweet Cheeks is away on business. And it has been hard to be happy when I am up in the middle of the night because Patter’s ear hurts or PitterĀ is afraid of thunder. It has been hard to be happy when I can only take a shower or make a meal when I stick the boys in front of the TV. It has been hard to be happy when I spend my hours trying to keep boys from denting the walls with wooden trains or spitting at each other.

This is to say that yesterday, I ate too many Reeses Pieces and I ordered Dominos Pizza for dinner and I did not do 30 minutes of exercise.

Because that’s what I do when I am between 18 and 50 and feeling unhappy and as if I have no choices (which is not true). I don’t abuse alcohol. I abuse junk food. (This is why I am not a size 4 despite all my exercising.)

And I fully expect that by the time I am over 50 I will have figured this shit out.

I’m a stay-at-home-mom this week.

This picture sums it up pretty well, because what Pitter does, Patter must follow. And vice versa.

Is someone pulling their pants down? Let’s make it a party. Is someone screaming high C? Let’s all do it! Did someone spill yogurt on the rug? Let’s toss our own cup down in solidarity!

The kids are on some sort of school break that we could have avoided with “wrap around care” for a $220 payment on top of what we pay monthly for Montessori. That’s pretty steep for two and a half days of childcare (since Monday was a holiday). And god help me, I think there’s another week “off” at the end of the month, too. We may cough it up for that one.

So this week, every day, I scrape poop off of Hulk underwear, lecture about the evils of spitting, and allow way too many viewings of a Winnie the Pooh DVD on loan from the library than is probably wise. Man, I enjoy paying other people to do the heavy lifting for a few days a week.

We have great adventures too: The Children’s Museum, Trader Joe’s, the Library, the local playgrounds, the Splash Parks. But sometimes we have to leave early because there is too much hitting or teasing or shrieking or too many bad words uttered. And I drag them away, feeling humiliated and dejected. How many hours until bed time? What will we do if we don’t stay here?

Whenever I take vacation days from work and spend long stretches of time with the boys by myself I fall back into awe at the parents who do not have office escapes like mine. But then I see mothers at the playground with friends and they seem like they have a groove going on that I cannot find. They apparently have weekly plans and schedules and get-togethers that we part-timers don’t “need” in the same way. I don’t think I could handle such a life without the aid of the subject in a certain Rolling Stones song, but I am slightly jealous of the close friendships these women seem to have. It’s hard to foster close bonds with people you like whose children are around the same age when you can’t hang out all Thursday morning at the park.

Anyway.

Pitter sprinkles the days with “I love you Mommy. I love you” and Patter wants to snuggle and play with my hair a lot of the time. They know how to turn on the charm betwixt the Mommy Monster moments. It’s how we survive, I guess. And when I say survive, I mean as a species. Because these children of mine cannot be the only ones who have their mother walking a fine line of sanity/insanity on such fine early summer days.