When I worked in an office, I wondered, why are stay-home and work-from-home moms always wearing work out clothes? I remember talking about it with my other working mom friends over happy hour.
What was with the spandex?
Were they flaunting the fact that they have time to work out? Salt in my wound. I was already not home with my kids, and I didn’t have the time or energy to get to the gym to improve my fitness. Were they mocking me with their comfy yoga pants? Rude.
(Clearly there was a lot angst and envy behind my confusion back in the day.)
And then I became a work-from-home mom myself, and the fitness fashion phenomenon of stay-home and work-from-home moms was demystified.
At least, here’s why I now wear yoga pants or fitness gear almost every day of the week.
1. Karma. Because, of course, anything I pass judgement on circles back around to reveal its glorious nature to me via experience. Which is why I try not to pass judgement on anyone anymore, especially moms. My friends will say, “Is she crazy? Letting her five year-old babysit the three year-old?” And I’ll respond, “Maybe it’s a very mature five year-old.”
I’m kidding. But you get the idea.
2. Because I can. I won’t lie, I’m a sucker for comfort.
3. I’ve got to work out.
When you’re home all day working, or taking care of kiddos, or both, your fitness level plummets. I gained 20lbs. the first year I worked from home. I’ve been plus-size for a long time, and I love my body, but I also like to be healthy. This did not feel healthy. My knees hurt. My stamina dropped. I’m a go-getter… this heaviness didn’t jive with me. Especially since I was actually eating better than I did when I worked in an office.
I bought a pedometer to try and figure out what the problem was.
It’s recommended for health reasons that you walk at least 10,000 steps a day. On an average work-from-home day, if I don’t get a workout in, I have to push to get 800 steps. And that’s with my standing desk and going to the bathroom 30 times a day. My husband works in an office. He bought a pedometer too. On an average day, he gets in 8000 steps.
The workout is non-negotiable, health wise, just to maintain the fitness level I had working in an office. That’s not even taking into account any fitness training needed for the fun little 5ks I do.
(The working moms are saying, “cry me a river,” as they read this. I know, I would have said the same thing, but this shit is real I tell you!)
4. So I’ve got to workout every day. A work-from-home friend told me a year ago to schedule my workouts each day. “Ya, ya,” I thought. “I’ll get them in.” Because I have all this free time now! Nope. Surprise, surprise, when you’re a mom who works from home, you still have 50 million things to do. A mom with ample free time is fiction. Hell, a parent with ample free time is fiction. You have to carve it out. I have to schedule them. Every day. High intensity workouts. That friend may have saved my life. My heart is sending her thank yous every time it beats.
5. Wearing the gear gives you one less excuse for not getting physical.
Let’s get physical, physical, I wanna’ get physicaaaal… I digress.
Working out is still not my favorite thing to do. I have to eliminate the obstacles in my path in order to make it happen. And that means, I’m putting on yoga pants or other forms of spandex, the moment I wake up. I even keep socks in my shoes so I can’t use “I can’t find matching socks” as an excuse to get out of a workout. The workout is scheduled. All of my workout shit is in one place. I’m wearing the clothes. No excuses. LET’S GO!
6. But a workout’s not enough. I have to squeeze in extra little walks here and there. Again, JUST TO STAY HEALTHY. Not to lose weight. So, the workout clothes stay on, alllllll day. If I have to go to my son’s school, I try to schedule enough time to walk there. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk.
7. I hate laundry. I am not washing two outfits a day, people. Hell no. Okay, maybe I’ll wash, but I won’t fold it afterward. My floordrobe is hard enough to manage, and I’m already dealing with the extra dishes you have to do when you eat healthy at home.
So, there you have it, folks. It’s because we don’t want to die of a heart attack or stroke. Basically.
I’m being jokingly serious. But all kidding aside, obesity and fitness are a major problem in this country. Whether you work out of the home or not. Whether you’re a parent or not. Many of us have sedentary jobs. Many of us don’t have time to squeeze in a workout. Many of us are constantly on the run, and distance and safety necessitate car travel.
My new situation has really made me think about what needs to change to help us lead healthier lives. I think we should start with dress codes. When I worked in an office, I rarely saw clients. I could have easily worn workout gear most days, which would have made it easier to squeeze in fitness throughout my day and before or after work. And don’t give me that mess about how you don’t want to see your coworkers in spandex. You’d evolve and be fine with it, like any mature adult.
I used to joke with my coworker that I wish they made suits out of jersey sweats. I’m not joking anymore. We either need to change dress codes to promote fitness, or we need to make suits out of jersey sweats.
Think of how much money employers could save on costs related to health care, if they had happy, healthy employees.
Change the script, and think outside the box. Think: spandex…and cotton Lycra.