How to visit a gym in 27 easy steps

It may become clear to you that I’m trialling different forms of exercise. The truth is, I’m working on losing weight and I’m currently road-testing a few different exercise options to find my best fit (and a fit me). Today I visited a gym for the first time in…well, probably three years. Here’s how it went.

1. Procure babysitting for kidlets (thanks Aunty Lizzie!).

2. Gather essential gym equipment (towel, water bottle, earphones, lip balm) and leave house. Resist urge to notify Facebook of your plans.

3. Realise you have four gyms within an easy ten minute walk of your house (including two of the women-only variety); select closest and walk there.

4. Enter premises and ask for a casual pass.

5. Politely decline to see their various membership options to work out which would best suit your lifestyle; request a casual pass.

6. Explain that a membership is not really appropriate at this point of time as you cannot commit to coming regularly and cannot justify the expense of making a regular charitable donation joining.

7. Fill in form requesting complicated medical history.

8. Glance at booklet with membership options you’ve been given “to read later, just in case”. Try not to faint at prices.

9. Pay exorbitant admission fee for casual pass. Realise you could be chased up and down the pool by a Prestigious Private School of Sharks almost five times for the price of this visit.

10. Walk through gym. Feel your senses assaulted by the stench of sweat, glisten of Lycra and glare of fluorescent lighting. Place belongings in locker and begin exercise.

11. Turn on music and place headphones in. Tug t-shirt down self-consciously.

12. Take headphones out as the migraine-inducing music is too loud.

13. Begin on treadmill. Try and avoid looking at insanely fit beautiful people barely breaking a sweat as they run.

14. Get off treadmill as you prefer going places when you walk and get a better workout pushing 30kg of pram and toddler while wearing an 8kg baby.

15. Begin on cross trainer. Get excellent workout (you know this because your fingernails have started sweating). Desperately hope you can stand as you dismount.

16. Walk past free weights section on your way to refilling your water bottle. Avert eyes from the Muscles.

17. Take phone call from husband. In an exercise-induced stupor accidentally tell him the full cost of your gym session. Feel his shock immediately. Promise him it’s worth it. Secretly hope you’re right.

18. Get foam mat and complete your daily push ups and plank challenge. Mentally curse the sadist who created the plank.

19. Begin workout on stair climber. Begin to miss your sharks and how they make you feel wanted.

20. Remember you live up three flights of stairs that you can climb for free any time you want. Get off stair climber.

21. Begin workout on stationary bike.

22. Realise cycling is more fun when you have a destination. Get off boring bike.

23. Return to cross trainer for another (slightly slower) workout.

24. Begin workout on rowing machine. Row 1km.

25. See husband at entrance to gym with coffee.

26. Collect your belonging and abandon expensive Hall of Torture, satisfied with the energy expended.

27. Look forward to seeing your sharks on Monday. Hope they forgive you for cheating on them.


How to swim for exercise in 29 easy steps

1. Hear from a friend that a local Prestigious Private Boys School opens their pool to the public in the evening for a very competitive rate.

2. Decide to swim for a change in your exercise routine (usually consisting of pushing the double pram around the shops). Ignore fact you haven’t swum for exercise in…well, a decent length of time.

3. Buy new swimming cap and goggles. Get particularly excited that you were able to purchase a cap specifically for people with longer hair.

4. Execute evening routine (dinner, baths and bed) as usual. Ensure there is some expressed milk for the baby if necessary.

5. Realise five minutes after you put baby down that your swimming costume is still in the same room.

6. Quietly enter room and open Incredibly Creaky Drawer to locate swimmers.

7. Grab decidedly unflattering maternity swimmers and pull them on in the dark room. Breathe sigh of relief that they fit. Ignore mirror.

8. Gather supplies (leave kitchen sink because it’s filled with dishes) and head off.

9. Pull over ten metres away from your driveway when you realise you have no idea where you’re going. Check directions and arrive at destination with no further incidents.

10. Feel intimidated by stately grandness of Prestigious Private Boys School. Regret leaving pearls at home.

11. Collect information about multi-visit pass and put belongings down. Put new swimming cap and goggles on and approach pool.

12. Realise belatedly that Prestigious Private Boys Schools are generally filled with Prestigious Private Boys. Desperately hope unflattering old maternity swimmers hold together.

13. Remember that sailors would often confuse dugongs for mermaids – perhaps the water will be equally flattering for you.

14. Consider your entry to the pool – a running dive bomb is likely to be frowned upon, and a traditional dive likely to be less than graceful and potentially embarrassing. Decide to use ladder.

15. Discover as you enter that the “shallow” end of the pool is 1.8m. You are 1.8m.

16. Recall that you happen to be just a tad terrified of deep water (generally) and sharks (specifically).

17. Begin breast stroke, keeping very close to lane rope. Feel heart rate rise as you approach the wall. Try very hard not to think of sharks.

18. Discover your new goggles are totally useless as they fill with water almost immediately.

19. Try to tell yourself the closest shark to this pool is probably the squeaky toy your toddler had in the bath tonight that you are now seriously regretting purchasing.

20. See straight through your own lie – everyone knows that sharks squeeze through drains and hide at the bottom of swimming pools. Swim a little faster.

21. Start singing happy songs (shark) in your head to stop yourself (shark) thinking about sharks.

22. Imagine yourself gliding smoothly through the water like a sh…uhhh…orca. Acknowledge you’re probably moving more like a wounded walrus and hope no one tries to rescue or eat you.

23. Realise the advantage of being chased by a shark is that you swim faster.

24. Decide you’ve swum enough for today. You don’t want to overdo it as you still need to use your arms tomorrow. Resolve to email the school about their shark infestation.

25. Realise you may have already overdone it as you try and clamber ever so gracefully out of the pool. Feel extraordinarily grateful that the Prestigious Private Boys are more interested in swimming and that your only audience is the shark.

26. Blindly feel your way over to your bag and glasses. Realise you have only been in the pool for twenty minutes. Wrap towel around yourself and head for the car.

27. Drive away from the Prestigious Private Boys and their pet sharks towards a cup of tea and a hot shower.

28. Realise happily that despite being stalked by apex predators, you enjoyed your swim and will return the following week.

29. Desperately hope you can lift your children tomorrow.

How to leave the house with two children on a rainy day in 27 easy steps

1.  Pack nappy bag/backpack the night before.

2.  Begin preparation to leave ninety minutes before you need to walk out the door.

3.  Look outside and see ominous grey clouds.  Check weather site and see that there is rain on the way but decide it shouldn’t hit for a while.

4.  Dress yourself.

5.  Change baby’s nappy and put fresh clothes on.  Make mental note to self to find where you’ve hidden the next size of clothes – you can’t stretch these ones much more.

6.  Observe out the window that the ominous clouds look even more threatening.  Add extra layer of clothes to baby.

7.  Lay out toddler’s clothes and fresh nappy.  Inform toddler it is time to get dressed.

8.  Realise today’s negotiations are going to be hostile.  Tell toddler he can bring Toy Of The Day in to keep him company while he gets changed.

9.  Lift toddler and dump truck onto change table (note to self: do more push-ups).  Feel immense gratitude that the adjoining unit is empty as toddler yells his mispronounced appreciation for his dump truck (I’ll give you a hint – there’s an F involved).

10.  Start undressing toddler.

11. Consider various travel configuration options for the day – toddler in pram, baby in Ergo; baby in pram, toddler walking; or both in pram. Feel uncertain of which option to choose – all three have their pluses and minuses.

12. Focus attention on job at hand and retrieve rejected fresh clothes from the ground.

13. In a rare flash of parenting genius, tell toddler the Toy Of The Hour needs to ‘fix’ his clothes. Drive oversized dump truck over today’s outfit in desperate hope it will be deemed acceptable.

14. Lower dressed toddler to the ground and herd into bathroom.

15. Prise open toddler’s mouth and attempt to brush teeth.

16. Inform toddler he isn’t allowed to go on a train with unbrushed teeth. Grudgingly accept this is too much to believe when toddler eyes you skeptically.

17. Return to living room to get shoes on toddler. Source socks and shoes and apply liberally to toddler. Look at clock and realise you need to leave in two minutes and the baby is now asleep.

18. Begin to notice an offensive odour emanating from toddler’s nappy. Return toddler to change table with latest Toy Of The Half-Hour (airplane). Change soiled nappy of stinky octopus toddler.

19. Return to living room, and realise it is now pouring outside. Remind yourself that meteorology is not a part of a Bachelor of Nursing.

20. Change toddler’s shoes for gumboots and tell toddler it is time to go and jump in muddy puddles. Put raincoats on yourself and toddler and pick up small umbrella.

21. Pick up sleeping baby and backpack and leave house with toddler and new Toy Of The Quarter-Hour (T-Rex). Place no-longer-sleeping baby in pram.

22. Wrestle rain cover onto pram. Exit into rain holding toddler’s hand and pram hand. Put umbrella away due to biological failing (no third hand).

23. Realise you’ve been using the rain cover the wrong way for seven months. Fix cover so entire pram now stays dry.

24. Point out muddy puddles to toddler and encourage him to jump in them. Ignore raindrops slowly making their way down your back.

25. Tell toddler his boots are supposed to get muddy when he jumps in puddles and he needs to continue wearing his boots.

26. Feed bare-foot toddler into bottom of pram under rain cover in pouring rain. Post gumboots into front basket. Tell yourself umbrellas are for the weak and many-handed.

27. Move quicker than before now both kids are contained and arrive at destination 15 minutes late rocking the drowned rodent look.

How to grocery shop with two children in 21 easy steps

1. Enjoy pleasant lunch with a friend.

2. Decide you need to pick up a few things from the supermarket before returning home.

3. Place baby in Ergo to free up bottom of pram for shopping.

4. Sit down outside supermarket to feed baby (now protesting loudly as he can now smell milk and is insisting he’s starving).

5. Ignore haughty stares from other shoppers and continue to feed baby confidently. Take swig of drink and chat to tired toddler in top of pram.

6. Drop lid of drink.

7. Drop mobile phone.

8. Bend down to collect both off ground while still feeding baby, making mental note to avoid knocking drink over.

9. Decide you didn’t really want a drink as you drop the now-empty bottle in the bin beside you.

10. Dry off baby and carrier with your cardigan. Continue constant chatter with increasingly fractious toddler.

11. Place baby back in carrier and enter shops. Reassure whinging toddler you will be quick.

12. Realise you have no idea what to cook. Make snap decision and begin collecting ingredients.

13. Bribe overtired shrieking toddler into silence with episodes on Peppa Pig on iPad. Ignore judgemental stares as your toddler confidently navigates to the episode he wishes to watch.

14. Think of supremely witty comeback to snarky comments about “children and technology” just after you needed them.

15. Finish shop and join shortest queue. Desperately hope that the offensive smell from the carrier and warm sensation on your abdomen do not mean what you think it does.

16. Quickly realise the shortest queue has the slowest operator and a chatty pensioner currently being served. Maintain resolve and stay with queue.

17. Begin to load shopping onto counter. Observe that “a few things” has turned into a fairly comprehensive shop. Discover you have forgotten crucial ingredient. Try and convince yourself you can do without garlic.

18. Decide you’re kidding yourself and make mad dash to vegetable section. Return just in time. Pay and leave store.

19. Realise it is now raining and you have no umbrella. Pull pram cover over zoned-out toddler and drape wet cardigan over sleeping stinky baby.

20. Idly wonder how you will get two children, nappy bag and a dozen shopping bags up three flights of stairs.

21. Plan to resume online grocery shopping ASAP.