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Date archive for: October 2014

Welcome to Parenting

I have a friend I adore. She’s smart, compassionate, funny, open-minded, and operates power tools. Correctly. So when she told me last week that she’s going to have a baby, I was ecstatic. More delightful people like her in the world? Huzzah!

We squealed and hugged and spoke of Storkish matters, the way girlfriends do: Nausea. Maternity leave. Glass of wine or no glass of wine. Modified yoga poses. And the alarming way her belly is widening in multiple directions — all at once.

But I left feeling that there should have been more to our chat. I wished we’d bounded — for just a few minutes — right over gestation and delivery to talk about actual harsh-light-of-day parenthood. Because making a baby is about more than making a baby; it’s about raising a child — which is Way. Exponentially. Huger.

So here’s what I wish I’d told my friend. Let’s call it What to Expect After You’re Expecting:

Having kids is, in every way imaginable, an extreme sport. Rife with dramatic contradictions, it’s the most draining and fulfilling thing you’ll ever feel utterly unqualified for.

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'80s Dancing Is the Only Tolerable Workout

Apparently there’s a thing. When you turn 40, you’re supposed to get serious about an exercise regimen. No more making do with occasional hikes and swims, or riding your bike to the bakery and calling it cardio. It’s the do-or-die decade: Do commit to intense frequent fitness or die flabby. And maybe fairly soon.

When my peers began turning 40, I noticed with queasy alarm that they all dispersed to disparate and equally unappealing corners of the workout world. Some bought fishnets, made up a saucy/violent alias, and joined the roller derby, where they regularly earn bruises the size of personal pizzas. Others leapt from the barstools and pedicure chairs where they spent most of their time and became instant triathletes — as though they’d always been superheroes under their clothes and had just been pretending all this time to be wusses like me. Still others enlisted in the CrossFit corps, satisfying a long-latent urge to be shouted at and brought regularly to the brink of vomiting, while occasionally touching their sweaty faces to parking-lot asphalt.

No, thank you. I’ve tried lots of fitness fads for lots of years: Yoga. Pilates. Kickboxing. Power walking. Strength training. Something with stretchy bands. Something with Hula-Hoops. Meh. They’re all just … misery with props. The instructors say, “Pain is just weakness leaving the body,” but what I hear in my head is “Pain is me leaving this maliciously mirrored sweatbox and making love to a buttermilk donut in my jammies.”

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