Mom: Uninterrupted

By Beth M. Wood

A thin fog blankets the stiff, short grass, lit by the yellow glow of street lamps on the park’s perimeter. The sun is not yet over the rise, and I’m thankful for the waterproof gloves I pulled on before leaving the house, protecting my hands from the cold earth. My breath comes out in white puffs. As I crawl backwards, I work to keep my butt down, my feet and hands moving. Between my legs, I can see a clear path ahead of me. “Push Ups!” Keath yells from somewhere in the fog. I stop immediately where I am and begin. Not counting, not pausing, not thinking; just pushing until I hear “crawl!” and resume my movement in the grass. A few minutes later we are lined up like soldiers, sitting on a short, brick wall somewhere in the park. Curling our knees to our chest, then stretching them out again – Ten…Twenty. By twenty-five the sweat is rolling down the sides of my face, and I’m glad for the chill in the air. By thirty reps my abs are on fire. “Hit the deck,” our instructor yells, “two minutes of sit ups!” And we do. No talking, no complaining, just sit-ups with perfect form, perfect concentration.

I am not in the military. And I’m not a glutton for punishment, although some would argue this. I am also not twenty-five. I am a forty year-old mom of three. And a member of a fitness boot camp that believes there are no short cuts, no easy ways out: Just hard work. Discipline – rain or shine, whether it’s 28 degrees or 98.

It’s a workout program that has not only changed the way I look and feel, but my entire philosophy of life.

Before that first class, five years ago, I didn’t know what it meant to give 100%. Not really. I worked hard, and when I was tired or started to feel sore, I’d stop. What I’ve learned is that this body of mine is capable of much more than I ever gave it credit for. I’ve learned to ignore the “I’m tired” cries in my own head and push through the discomfort for one more push up; one more rep.

I credit this philosophy with helping me survive the lower points in my life. Divorce, surgery, toddler tantrums and pre-teen angst, financial woes and general difficult times we moms experience. I also credit it for my strong work ethic, and my desire to succeed.

I desperately need time to myself. As a mom, I rarely get it. Even when I’m by myself, I’m never really alone with my thoughts, my actions. I’m doing laundry and thinking about how to get my middle schooler’s grades back on track. I’m cutting the lawn and wondering how to talk to my high school son about the latest peer pressure. I’m cooking dinner and simultaneously helping with math homework, making lunches for the next day and planning tomorrow night’s schedule in my head. Even long-distance phone conversations with an old friend are punctuated with calls of “MOM!”

But this hour of boot camp? This one hour three times a week, surrounded by fellow “sharks” as we call each other, is the only time I am truly alone. There are no interruptions. In fact, it’s the only time I am ever out of arms reach of my iPhone. And that’s okay, because I’m working too hard to even think about text messages or the latest Facebook post, much less tonight’s dinner, kids’ grades or looming bills.

When I’m out there in the early morning fog, doing push ups in the dirt, climbing backwards up grass hills on my hands and toes, and fighting through sprint drills, I’m competing against myself. The other 23 hours of the day are so focused on others…work, clients, my kids, chores, responsibilities. But this hour is truly all about me.

Every time I leave a boot camp class, I feel strong, happy and proud. Because I know I’ve pushed myself to the extent of my abilities. It has built my character, changed the way I think and act. I don’t make up excuses or look for the easy way out. I’ve also cleared my head, exhausted my energies and feel a little more capable of dealing with things like sibling arguments and unfinished homework.

Boot camp is a full-body experience. Every part of my body from my mind to my calves is engaged and gets a work out. I’m better for the experience – a better person and a better mom. I am better equipped to handle the interruptions each day because I know I’ll get my time. Sweat, blood and tears might accompany it, but they’re all mine.

About this writer

  • Beth M. Wood Beth M. Wood is an award-winning marketer, freelance writer and mom of three. Her social media addiction pays the bills and steady copywriting gigs feed her shopping habit. She blogs about marketing and social media at bethmwoodblog.com, digresses about life and parenting at bethmwood.blogspot.com and tweets @a1972bmw.

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14 Responses to “Mom: Uninterrupted”

  1. Beth’s article is motivating. Every mom needs something to call her own, but to cherish a work out, plus give 100 percent, now that is inspiring. I enjoyed reading Beth’s story.

  2. Phyllis Fredericksen says:

    Beth has the essence of a strong woman. Love to read her work because it inspires me to be the best.

  3. Always love reading Beth’s articles. She almost makes me want to work out!

  4. Beth Brightfield says:

    Love this and can relate (although I am no longer 40 or in boot camp) as a mom who has been through my share of trying times, nothing like a well-done workout to relieve the stresses of day to day life and provide mental health “therapy”.

  5. Sharon Morgenthaler says:

    This is an inspiring article. If you believe you can…..you will! You are busy! I was tired just reading it:l)

  6. Jill Goldstein says:

    You are an extraordinary writer. I love reading your articles.

  7. Deb Curtis says:

    I always knew that Beth was strong, talented, determined and smart, an exceptional mom, along with being an extraordinary writer!!!!! What I never knew was that she possessed that level of stamina and commitment to total motivation in the realm of physical fitness! Wow!!! What an amazing and impressive inspiration to us all—young and old!

    • Deb, you are way too kind! Thanks so much for your lovely comments on all of my articles. I’ve had some catching up to do on some of these and have realized I missed a few!

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