Hippo Diet Redux

I’m officially one of those women.

Hi. My name is Erin. I take my kids to daycare so I can go to the gym.

I swore I would never do it. I swore that as a stay-at-home mom I wouldn’t stick my kids in daycare for my “selfish” purposes.

I lied. Chalk it up to one of those things I swore I would never do before I had two kids.
I’m getting my hippo ass in shape and part of that means exercise. The Kaiser leaves this house at 730am and gets home at 830pm. Walking with the kids is an exercise of my patience, not my ass.

But here in suburban LA they have thought of everything, and I can take my kids to the uber-cool gym/cafe/pool/kids club/meeting spot/coffee house in the towncenter and exercise my thighs off.

At first I thought I would feel guilty as the nice teenager/college age/20-somethings pulled my red-faced daughter from my hip so I could pretend to climb stairs while listening to my iPod.

Turns out, despite the tears and snot…I feel nothing but bliss. At least an hour of ass-burning, kid free, tv’s on every machine NOT tuned to cartoons, bliss.

I don’t care if I look like those snotty Alpha-Moms prancing in with their coffee cup and cell phone. They always seem to be on that phone while their neat and obnoxious kids (too involved in their gameboys to even notice where their mother has dragged them too this time) follow behind. But who am I kidding? I look nothing like them.
Dear God, their hair and nails and work-out “outfits” are always perfect and clean and ironed and tiny. They seem to blow in the doors, sign the daycare sheet, and blow out…all while I struggle to lick my daughter’s hair down in place and wipe yesterday’s ketchup off my son’s cheek. Nevermind I’m in the pants I slept in and am using a children’s hair clip with smiley faces on it to keep locks out of my face.

I wonder if they once looked like me? Struggling to keep it together and hoping an hour at the gym will help. Pulling a pouting 3-year-old through the door, begging him to carry his own bag while the toddler manages to get her arms out of her overalls and drop trou.

Were they in Target clearance sweats and a t-shirt from 1994 once? Or did they just always look this good?

Either way, I’m there. I’m there and I’m doing it. And I’m happier for it.

So despite the tiny twinge of guilt for letting my kids run around a romper room and play two or three times a week without me, I’m happier and will be healthier. And who are we kidding…hotter.


  1. I love dropping my kids off at school so I can hump it at the gym. I even go to a trainer once a week because my desire to get into my age 34 jeans has become unbearable. i so DO NOT look hot at the gym. If you are TRULY working it, you cannot look hot. Good for you for getting out there. Your heart if anything, will thank you!

  2. Hurray! I am glad that you are doing this. It’s good for the kiddies as well, what with setting a good example and all. An even better example because you are showing that people can be healthy and not necessarily be super tiny. Now that I go to the gym in the day, I discovered a woman who is super tiny, but in a scary 80s time-warp. She always has a two piece leotard thing with separate neon green pull ons over them. The only way I can describe it is like Borat’s swimsuit, but not pulled over her shoulder. It freaks me and my t-shirts from 1994 out. (This has nothing to do with anything. Sorry.)

  3. Cool! I’ve been thinking about your hippo diet from a while back and wondering what happened to the challenge; did anything come of that? At that time I was pregnant and eating Ben & Jerry’s while reading your post. Now I’m going, “aw shit, I need to work off this post-pregnant belly and get some freakin’ TONE on these legs!”

  4. Three days a week I go to the gym.

    Three days a week my kids color, play games, watch a movie, and goof around while in child care.

    Three days a week, for an hour and fifteen minutes, I am by myself.

    There is no shame in taking a little time for yourself. It’s good for you, and can be good for the kids as well. The tears and snot will subside, pretty soon, they’ll be asking to go. That’s what mine do. And if there’s a day they don’t want to, I let them pick a coloring book or movie to share.

    No, I don’t look great either – try a 1989 High School Cross Country tee shirt and track pants from about the same time. Next time, I’ll take a picture for you. Sure there are some that look great – but that’s not what I’m there for.

    Good luck!

  5. Such a great idea! A) If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? B) If you’re not in good health – both physically and mentally – how will you be able to take care of your children? C) Think of the role model you are for them. That taking care of one’s own physical, mental and spiritual health is important – a priority even. Ths only makes you a healthier person and a better mother.

    Good for you!

  6. Hey you should not feel bad. With The Kaiser working such long shifts, you deserve to do something for yourself! I actually have been doing the same thing. I take Squeaks to the daycare at the gym so that I can get an hour in to work off the pounds. She loves playing with the other kids and I love not having her hang off of me for an hour! However, I am also one of those moms who barely pulls it together to go to the gym. When did it become a damn fashion show? I stroll in in my sweats and oversize t-shirt while these tiny things run around in their exercise ensemble. *gag*

  7. I just tell myself that they probably paid thousands of dollars for those boobs and thighs, and if I was willing to drop the cash, I could look like that too. Not ENTIRELY true, but it helps me keep my sanity when every other mom at the PTA meetings seems to be one of those svelte blonde alphas, whereas I am a short brunette who would be “curvy” no matter how many pounds I dropped.

    Good for you, both for taking a little time for yourself AND for using it to do something healthy like going to the gym! Good luck with the happiness, health and hotness!

  8. My favorite thing about the gym is the shower/ get ready time with no interruptions!

  9. mine absolutely refuses to stay in the play room at the gym. so my membership has lapsed.

    my newyear’s resolution is to send him to an in-home daycare 4 mornings a week for $100 so i can work out and go to work. seems expensive after paying for the workout facility.

    those hot moms at the gym always looked like that. and they don’t love their kids like we do. so there.

  10. Love your site…

  11. You’re a better mom when you feel good about yourself, you’ll be healthier, have more energy, and be less stressed if you have an outlet like this. I honestly think I’d go crazy if I didn’t have one.

    Hey, and there’s the added bonus that you’ll live longer too… you’ll be able to be there for your kids longer. It’s a win-win!

    Oh, and no one who is really seriously working out looks good. Ever. Screw em!

  12. I am insanely jealous.

  13. canoe chick says:

    My daughter has been going to daycare at the gym since she was 2 months old. Two years later, she still loves it! There are all kinds of toys and activities there that we don’t have at home, different kids to meet, and I feel so good about myself after a workout, I know I am a better mum when I pick her up…so I feel the opposite of guilty for that time 2 days a week! Plus, the chance to have a nice relaxing shower, without straining my ears the whole time…pure bliss. I wish I could say the part about looking hotter… but at 6 months pregnant, I think that would indicate a serious self-delusion… oh well, maybe AFTER this baby, I will get that benefit too!

  14. Hippo ass? Is this guest blogging day, because the Q of S that I met definitely does not have a hippo ass.

  15. At my gym there are certain hours for daycare, and I thought it odd that about 10 minutes before the daycare kicks in, it gets eerily quiet. Then I realized that all the single people clear out, and it’s only me and the oblivious muscle guys in the back left in the place.

  16. None of the gyms here offer child care- but I’d be all over it in a heartbeat if they did.

  17. You make me want to sign back up for the gym. Fortunately, I have pre-school in the morning so I wouldn’t have to drag Thomas like I did before – that was hell.

  18. good for you. get that MILF status you’ve always desired! 😉

  19. you go girl! Unfortunately I live in po-dunk USA and our local gym has no daycare. Therefore I drag my ass out of bed at the butt crack of dawn to go work out BEFORE hubby leaves for work. Crazy? you may ask….yes, but I feel and look a hell of a lot better.

  20. Don’t you dare feel guilty. I used to go to the YMCA and dump Dawson off in the daycare room. I loved it.

    But then they told me he cried the whole time and I felt horrible. So I stopped going. I regret it. Now he’s clingier than I could have ever imagined.

  21. Going to the gym is great You Time. I say this because I would be right there with you, droppin’ of the kiddies to go work out. But not right there with you, because that You Time would also be Me Time, and I need to be alone for it.

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