Family Time | Freakouts and Expectations
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Freakouts and Expectations

Freakouts and Expectations

I furiously pumped my arms up and down while my legs pointed up in the air at a forty-five degree angle. I wondered if a cardio class would have felt better than Pilates with all the rage I needed to sweat out.

Do they make workout classes that are just primal screams? Someone should get on that.

My three-year-old Danny had just melted down in the Glens Falls Family YMCA’s Kids’ Corner. Well, not in the place itself, even. In the little drop-off corral. 

We joined the Y as a family BECAUSE of Kids’ Corner. The only way we can make time for exercise is if it comes with free babysitting. But even that is a stretch, as it turns out.

My husband Cory and I re-joined the Y recently. Thirty-six years old hit me like a ton of bricks and I feel my body crumpling up into a ball just like old tin foil about to get tossed in the bin. I spend my entire day with my face pressed against a computer screen and at this point, exercise feels like a necessity and not a luxury.

So we go Saturdays, though that’s just shuffling wet kids around for swim class, and have tried to commit to going as a family just one weekday every week, after work. Just one.

Except Danny wouldn’t let us drop him off. Which made my blood boil. Because we were SO close. We all walked in the door happy as clams, just in time for me to hit a group class. But in the corral, he lost it. He thought he was going to swim. But it wasn’t Saturday.

My bad.

I’ve realized that most of the kids’ freakouts are about expectations. If there’s enough of a time buffer for them to leisurely transition from one thing to the next, and they know exactly what’s about to happen, they’re good. But reality doesn’t always account for that, and sometimes Mom forgets the fine details.

And so it left us coaxing him to watch the TV in Kids’ Corner, and when he seemed calm and into it, we’d go to put him down, and then he’d cry again. The staff looked on kindly. I know we’re not the only ones who do this dance. But then this happened four or five times, as I became later and later for the class. 

It’s okay to go in late, I think? People do it. But there’s an awkward fumbling in the dark for a mat out of the equipment room, and everyone looking at you when you walk in trying to shake off the day and quell the steam coming out of your ears.

Cory decided he’d hang with the kids and not work out. Which made me mad, too. Because someday when I’m a rotten old ball of crumpled up foil, I can’t be taking care of old Cory who’s even worse off than me because he didn’t exercise in his late thirties.

Turns out that my freakouts are also about expectations. I expected that we’d get the win-win of  friends, TV, and playtime for the kids and us adults would have a minute to take care of ourselves. I didn’t get what I wanted, so I was losing it, too.

My parents used to sing the Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to me as a child. I hated it. I still hate it. (YES I CAN!) 

But realizing that Danny and I were together on the receiving end of that line does bring some clarity. 

So if the Y does decide to add in primal screams, maybe they should make it a family class. I think we could all benefit from a good loud yell at the sky instead of at each other.

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