(This made more sense when I still had a preschooler.)

On Workout Pants

In EmTime BC (Before Children), I was ridiculously judgmental of other moms. I look back shamefully at how mean and naïve my thoughts were. I could write an entire blog composed of my confessions.

One of my many causes for sneer was the miswearing of workout pants and workout ensembles in general. In EmTime BC, you wouldn’t catch me wearing sweatpants or workout pants unless I was in the middle of exercising. If I was sick, I’d be in pajamas, because in EmTime BC I had the liberty of taking the day off work to recover (hahaha! Taking the day off when sick? Oh those were some hedonistic times!) and wouldn’t need to leave the house. If I were done exercising, I’d be in the shower and on my way to a clean, dry, tailored outfit.

So when I encountered women wearing workout ensembles and they were clearly not exercising, I did my best to hide my Billy Idol face. In yoga pants and lycra top, not a glimmer of sweat, standing in line at Cinnabon with 3 crying fat kids? Really? In your velour sweatsuit while slowly perusing the Target soda aisles?

It was clear to me that these women got up in the morning and threw on what was comfortable. Workout clothes are meant to move with you. They aren’t normally meant to make you feel fat; instead they mold around you and let you forget your normal size limitations. They stretch and embrace you unconditionally. Want another bag of Fritos? Workout pants won’t judge you. But…they’re exercise clothes! Did these women not feel shameful when they wore the outfits with absolutely no plan of intentionally sweating in them? To me there was nothing worse for my self-esteem than to get up and put lycra pants and a tank top on, with best of intentions to exercise, and then find some excuse to not exercise. How crappy does it feel when your husband sees you in exercise clothes and asks, “Oh, did you get in a workout today?”

“No…”

“Oh. I thought maybe you did, because you had the yoga pants on.” Shame.

But that’s the thing. You wear the workout pants one day in EmTime AK (After Kids) intending to work out, and the little buggers get up before you can even get on your elliptical machine. You wear the clothes in shame all day and can’t manage to get a workout in (unless at 9pm after cleaning up the kitchen and the house and they’re in bed…and you’re exhausted). And then you feel tired the next day….and the yoga pants are so easy, just laying there on the floor next to your bed. And you think about how freely you were able to move the day before. You didn’t work out any harder with the pants on, but you felt a little more superhuman because the restraining seams of normal clothing weren’t there. And you think…oh, just this once.

And then you wear them again a third day….

Or maybe, like me, you return from an ER visit to fix your asthma gone wild, you shower, and put on the yoga pants and sweatshirt just because they’re comfy and easy and you know you can’t wear pajamas all day because you never know when you may have to leave the house in EmTime AK. (However, I was having enough trouble breathing that day that just moving around really did feel like a workout, and the constant coughing I endured for weeks because of allergies, asthma and bronchitis did actually pull a muscle in my chest…so I think I need an exception here…)

And then maybe your Manchild finally calls you out on it. Maybe he doesn’t. Mine did. The shame returned.

So I went back to Mom Pants. Cargo pants, capris with little decorative buttons, etc. And then you realize another awesome thing about lycra pants. Not only do they hug you, they make you stealth. They are quiet when you need to run past a sleeping baby’s room. They do not have useless pockets or belt loops that get hung up, without notice, on the edges of safety gates as you run past them (and don’t underestimate the power of a belt loop/safety gate mutiny in tripping you and even causing you to fall). Other bonuses: when your children get you sopping wet while splashing in the tub, they dry pretty quickly. AND You can wash them over and over again and they don’t fade in their color. Did I mention there are no buttons to pop off and need re-attaching?

And….sometimes when you wear them….you think about trying to fit a short workout into your busy day.

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