Running on Empty (But Loving It)
I always get irritated when I read gossip magazines (yes, I do it often) and see stars such as Nick Cannon and Kelly Ripa claim the way they stay fit is by “chasing their kids.”
No kids move that much, I think to myself. (Beside, wouldn’t a celebrity just hire a nanny?)
After nearly a month in London, however, I can safely say: I get it. I have the bulk of childcare duties in our family over here, and I am almost always operating within one standard deviation of total exhaustion.
For me this is a new kind of exhaustion. The kind that has prompted me to fall asleep at my computer writing this post for three consecutive nights (including tonight).
Part of it is physical; I feel it in my over-used biceps and knees at the end of a long day, and submit to it (in a fit of narcolepsy) the minute the Big Girl sits down for a “Doc McStuffins” (Or, as the baby so adorably calls her, “Doctor Fuffins”).
But it also is a mental exhaustion—it’s like I’ve got a permanent case of the stupids. The biggest manifestation of this comes every day around the girls’ lunchtime, when I remember I haven’t eaten all day. (On a related note, despite my previous declarations of hatred for fried potatoes, I can’t keep weight on here to save my life.)
I’m sure part of this stems from the fact that we native urbanites had become country folk; that Powerwoman and I simply weren’t accustomed to the (very typical) physical demands of the city. For us, in London, some of these exigencies include schlepping strollers up and down scores of stairs, carrying babies for 20 blocks at a clip, and balancing two granola bars and two cups while standing on the crosstown bus.
(Saturday alone, on a day that included Tubing it from our flat to Trafalgar Square and back, I logged more than 800 steps while carrying R in her buggy. Now I cannot straighten my left arm.)
I’m not the only parent to acknowledge I sometimes feel like I’m in over my head; a great piece on TODAY this week spotlighted working moms (though, regrettably, no dads) who have copped to being overwhelmed.
I’m also not complaining in any way, shape, or form. To be clear: I wouldn’t change any aspect of our lives here.
Still, minding two kids in a foreign city is hard. Period.
And so, to the Kelly Ripas and Nick Cannons among us, I say this: I feel you. I am truly sorry for my skepticism and loathing. I see now that it is entirely possible to lose weight from “chasing after kids” while traveling in a big city, and I (proudly?) consider myself part of a select crew. Who needs Zumba? Who needs running? Let’s just hope the girls don’t wise up and start seeking compensation for their work as my personal trainers. Stranger things have happened for sure.
How do you stave off exhaustion when traveling with kids?