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The Mommy vs. The Weightlifters

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I confess that I haven't seen the inside of a gym in 10 years.

woman holding babies at the gym

Blythe Newsome: Having given birth to six children in 10 years, I have a road map on my stomach, each line a sign of the craving with each child. My breasts are in a race to my ankles, the beauty of nursing babies every two hours for 10 years. My youngest son Finn, as in Finished having children, is now four years old. I am flirting with forty and it is time to get in shape.

I am hitting the gym hard -- walking on the treadmill, using the Nautilus equipment. I have even looked at the swimming pool -- "looked" being the key word. There is no way I am getting in a bathing suit with the extra few pounds that seem to have taken up permanent residency on my backside.

So here I am at my bi-monthly gym visit, working up a sweat on the treadmill while watching one of the 15 TVs on the wall. It took me only one visit to realize you can't watch TV and run at the same time, so I had to slow down! It makes me sick to try and read the captions while I am walking, so I decided to watch the men lifting weights. The men are all facing the mirror, so serious and focused. The weights are set in front of them, there's a little stretching and self-admiring -- and then it starts. The grunting and groaning with each lift and curl. Faces contorted in pain. And when they're done, they slam the weights down, exhausted.

I don't understand. I can have a 50-pound child on my back, a 35-pound child on my hip, a 20 pound child holding on to my leg, and be pushing the mega kid-cart shaped like a truck with my hips as I grab items from the shelves and you will never hear that sound come out of me.

Perhaps the sounds these men make aren't as much about weights as they are a mating call to the women around them.

It's said that one of the top places to meet people is at the grocery store. I imagine myself in my mommy jeans, my hair up in the "I'm a mommy who didn't have time to shower" clip. Fingerprints are on my shirt from the free cookies the children got at the bakery, and there are chocolate smudges on my face from where my 4-year-old insisted on giving me a bite of his.

If a man can meet a woman at the gym with his mating calls, would I be more likely to pick up a man in the grocery store if I made the same sounds while doing all of the mommy juggling and picking up a 30-pound bag of dog food?

I think next month when I go to the gym, I will take my six kids and lift them next to the weightlifters. Somehow I think this mommy would lift all 330 pounds of children with a lot less noise than the guys on the free weights.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
lisa December 15, 2009, 9:56 AM

LOL, so true!!!!!!!!

Christina December 15, 2009, 5:48 PM

Thank you! I can haul my sleeping 2 1/2 year old twins up the subway steps in their stroller with less fanfare than a guy lifting a quarter of the weight. Hmm, perhaps the next time they start grunting, instead of letting it irritate me, I should just feel smug.

sam February 11, 2010, 9:08 PM

they are working their muscles harder than you. its a grunt of exertion, not a mating call. anyway, who finds a grunt sexy?

your task of carrying your children, pushing your stroller is certainly strenuous, but not close to so much as lifting weights. it does not cause muscular failure like lifting weights does. If it did, you would literally collapse after a few steps.

your article shows you don’t exercise very intensely, so why so you criticize these men who do?

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