Saturday, March 8, 2014

One Strong Mom

I'm a mom of three.  I do carpool twice a day, I volunteer on field trips, I put band-aids on boo-boos, I dance alongside my toddler in music class.  I am in the kitchen a lot, cleaning and cooking and wiping up and putting away, and then doing it all over again.  And again.  And again.  I don't think I'm boring, but it's not like my existence stands out among the other good moms out there.

I am one strong mama!
But I have an alter ego.  I go to this place called Crossfit Reston--I've been going there for over two years--three times a week and become a totally different person.  I'm still up for helping others.  I've examined gory injuries.  I still dance to the music if the music so moves me.  But once the buzzer starts, I push myself harder than nearly anyone in the class.  Many are parents, a few are mothers.  Time away from our little ones is so stinking precious that I refuse to waste a single second, so if I'm going to be away from my kids, I'm going to get the most out of it.

I let it all out at the gym (called "the box" by most Crossfitters but that just seems strange to me).  One Wednesday last fall I was talking to my dad on the way to Crossfit, listening to him tell me about what happened with his second cousin who died a few days prior.  Danny had been a strong man, and a man who was proud to be physically strong.  Yet a few months before he passed away, Dad said that Danny could barely lift a 3 pound weight.  Though his mental state had deteriorated, Danny knew how wimpy a 3 pound weight was.  I hung up and walked in to Crossfit feeling grateful.  Grateful for how strong I was, today.  I had this day.

And so I let it all out.  The workout that day was simple: swinging a 35 pound kettlebell 50 times, run 800 meters, then swing that kettlebell 50 more times.  In real life I'm not supposed to say if I won or lost.  But I'm telling you: I killed that workout.  I finished first, ahead of all the other women and ahead of all the men.  One guy was close to me, and at the end, as we both lay heaving on the gross rubber mats, he said, "Next time, Kate."

I looked at him and laughed.  "That's what you said last time, Bret."  We both laughed.

Plus I wear cool socks.  Because...well...why not?!

Working out hard makes me feel grateful for this body I have.  Grateful for the three kids it carried and birthed without a single complication.  Grateful for the three children it provided milk for one year each.  Grateful for the marathons it has allowed me to finish.  Grateful for the long hikes it has guided me through.  (Grateful, too, for the years of living abroad and putting up with sketchy Indian and Thai food and avoiding all parasites, but...that's another story.)

Why do I workout?  To take a break from being everything to everyone and just centering myself and finding the mental and physical strength to do more pull ups than I ever thought I could do, or get over 100 pounds over my head, or whatever crazy stuff my trainers put in front of us.  It makes me feel capable, strong, and grateful.

And then I go back to carpool, to my mom life, but I still feel the power within me.


  1. I love your description of the activity and how it makes you feel, powerful. It's almost like you are a mild mannered mother with a secret identity of a super hero!

    The repetition of grateful is very effective.

    1. My original title was: My Alter Ego. Ha! Yes, I become a different person...but after the first 6 months of being "just Kate" at Crossfit instead of "Kate the mom" I slowly started to meld the two together. And it works, for me, right now.

  2. Having just started working out again (though nothing as cool as Crossfit by the sounds of it), I'm beginning to remember what that power feels like. I love the depth of your post. Your relationship to your kids, with your dad, the way you bantered with Bret. You have so much going on here, and it all works. Perhaps most of all, I appreciate that you can love these two things - motherhood and crossfit - without feeling less about the other. So often, I find that things need to be either/or - when AND is so much better! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thanks...I am not sure if it flows so much--maybe I was all over the place in a hurry to get this slice finished?!--but I think I might come back to it. I do love it, and so glad it touched you a little bit!

  3. I love reading your stuff. It's so honest. I laughed and saw the emotion and determination in your writing as well. You know your existence does stand out and will continue to for decades to come. Your children may not have the words to tell you now, but they will. Enjoyed reading this on my lazy Sunday afternoon. Best go and get some exercise. :)