30 Jun
I’m a New Dad! When Can I Get Back to the Gym?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My wife is a stay at home mom, and she is eight months pregnant with our second child. I work full time, and fight at the gym twice a week.

My wife is getting a little nervous now that she is getting close to the due date, and I completely understand. She asked me to take some time off from the gym starting this last month, so I agreed and told her that I would take one month off.

She got very angry at me, stating that she wants me to take three months off because of how stressful the first two months of having a newborn will be. To this, I object.

I am aware that she will need some extra help when I am not working, and I intend to help in any way I can. However, I believe that it is asking a little much for me to quit the gym for three months. I only go twice a week and with 30 minute travel time both there and back, I am gone for about 2 hours each day.

Am I right to be a little annoyed that she would want me to quit what I enjoy for three months? Whenever she asks to go out on the weekends, I never say a peep. In fact, I encourage her to go out, because I know she must be stir crazy from spending all day with our 3 year old.

And I am completely fine taking off during her 9th month because she may need me when she goes into labor, but I don’t feel that it is wrong for me to want to get back to the gym a week or two after the baby is born. It’s only four hours a week that I spend away because of the gym.

So I ask you, is she being unreasonable for being so stubborn about this? Right now she is giving me the cold shoulder and is ignoring me.

Signed, A Lover and Also a Fighter

_____________________________________________________

Dear Lover and Fighter,

So, your wife wants you to stop going to the gym for three months and you’re willing to forgo two weeks. We could just split the difference, but since that involves math, let’s explore some other alternatives.

It’s not the gym.   It’s that you have your own life outside of a screaming newborn and all the terrors that it entails and she doesn’t.   You say that you are happy when she goes out on the weekends, but let’s face it, the weekend is a long way away when you are up all night with the baby, exhausted and staring at the wrong end of the witching hour, that, ironically enough, lasts an hour and a half and kicks in at approximately the same time as you pull into your gym parking lot.

She needs help and she needs it now.   It may well be unfair to you, but she is the mother of your children, soon to be filled with postpartum hormones.   No one in the history of civilization has won an argument with one of those.

If possible, schedule at least one of your gym sessions for the weekend, when your absence will be less acute.   And see if there is someone in your neighborhood who can watch the kids for a couple of hours every once in a while.   You and your wife both deserve some time away from the kids. With each other.

Congratulations,

Marinka, TMH

12 Responses to “I’m a New Dad! When Can I Get Back to the Gym?”

06.30.09#1

Comment by the mama bird diaries.

i would take care of six kids alone if i could get my husband to regularly hit the gym.

06.30.09#2

Comment by Andrea's Sweet Life.

Let this be a lesson to all men married to women who are 8 months pregnant: no matter what you intent to do 6 weeks from now, the answer is ALWAYS: “Whatever you want, honey.”

06.30.09#3

Comment by stoneskin.

There’s nothing worse than gym membership. Maybe that’s just me. Is there not a closer gym?!

[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

06.30.09#4

Comment by christy.

As soon as that second baby comes along my bet is they’ll both be so damn tired neither of them will even remember that he was supposed to be working out twice a week. I think he forgets what sleep deprivation is like!

06.30.09#5

Comment by Wendi.

Excellent answer. When my kids were newborns, I wanted to put one of those electronic ankle bracelets on my husband to keep him home.

06.30.09#6

Comment by MommyTime.

With our newborn, I deeply resented the fact that my husband got to go to work every day where NO ONE would scream and scream at him all day for reasons that could be neither fathomed nor cured, or would insist on being held while he went to the bathroom, or would throw up on his only clean shirt. If he’d added FOUR MORE HOURS PER WEEK that I was alone with the newborn, I might have tried to strangle him in his sleep. You may think you’re working hard, but you have no idea what sleep deprivation combined with having no one to talk to combined with the constant pull at your body does to a woman. Add a toddler into the mix too? And she will be fried every night by the time you get home. You getting home two hours later might feel like actual torture.

I think, if you want to go to the gym four hours a week once the baby is born, that you should schedule two days per week, where your wife has two-hour sessions out of the house and you take care of both children alone. She gets a M/W yoga class with a session in the steam room and an iced decaf afterwards; you get a T/Th fight session. If you schedule hers and then ask her if it’s okay to schedule yours, I’m guessing she’ll be happier to comply, if for no other reason than that she will know that you are getting some tiny glimpse into what her days are like from 8am-6pm. (You may think you know because you’re home on weekends, but you don’t know, because when you are home, so is she, so you aren’t taking care of both kids alone with no adult to talk to. Try it sometime, routinely. It’s hard.)

06.30.09#7

Comment by Heather, TMH.

Three months out of the span of a lifetime is not long at all to sacrifice something for the person we love.

Oh, I have an idea. Does your gym have a daycare? Take the oldest child with you when you go, that way mom has just the baby to handle.

06.30.09#8

Comment by Johbird.

Well said Marinka. But I think it’s a cop-out to hire someone to take care of them in the few moments she’s away from them. Totally do that as well so you can get some good blocks of time off together. But you’re their dad, you take them 4 hours a week.

And if you don’t think that what she’s doing is a job, A) try it, and B) think about how much you’d have to pay someone to give your kids the even close to the quality of care and attention that your wife is, and C) that’s probably why she’s annoyed.

06.30.09#9

Comment by Keith Wilcox.

Let’s face it, she is 8 months pregnant. No matter what good reasons you give her now, it will not convince her. This will be your second child; it will not be as hard as your first one because you and your wife already know the drill. It will not be as stressful as you both are thinking. The idea of giving her a couple of hours to herself two days a week is quite good, and she will appreciate it. You can start on it about a couple of weeks after the baby is born. Talk to her about it then, she will be more reasonable.

07.01.09#10

Comment by mskari77.

But why should HE have to give up what he enjoys as a stress relief for 3 whole months???? I find that a bit ridiculous myself. Its a couple nights a week, not everyday including weekends. And it’s going to the gym. It’s not like he is out bar hopping every night of the week trolling for hookers. Seriously. Of course he has a life outside of the kids, he WORKS a full time job. With the stress of making money for his family and making sure they are all happy. He has just as much on his shoulders as she does with ONE kid to deal with and one on the way.
So if you all are telling him he has to give up what little free time he has away from work and kids for 3 months, then she better be ready to give up going out on weekends with friends for those 3 months as well. Or anything that would give her free time when he gets home from his job. That’s only fair right?
I agree with Keith, you guys do know what you are in for, so its not AS stressful as the first….coming from a mom with 5 kids, the youngest being 2 yr old twins…..but yes having a newborn with a toddler is a bit trying. But that is your job as a SAHM. You chose to be a mom, to be a housewife, to raise the kids. Does the job suck somedays? Yes. Do you want to run away screaming some days? Yes. But who doesn’t?
I applaud Lover and Fighter for stepping away from the gym in her last month of pregnancy, just in case. As far as asking him to include another 2 months is, in my eyes, completely selfish. He did in fact offer to take off a month, I think that is plenty. Unless she has some medical issues, or suffers from PPD, a couple weeks at most, is more than enough time. Like another commenter said, maybe she can find something a couple nights a week at the gym as well. Either on the same night as you go, and take the kids to the sitter there, or on opposite nights as you and you can watch them while she goes. Thats how the hubby and I do it. Two nights a week I take taekwon do at the fitness center, and if he is going to go mountain biking or to another childs sport, the boys go to the sitter at the fitness center, other wise they stay home with him. He is more than welcome to go riding after work for a couple hours on any night if we dont have kids sports to go to. Marriage is about compromise. People really need to wake up and learn that. We have FIVE kids and can make it work, so dint give me any pity parties how stressed out you are with one or two kids.

07.01.09#11

Comment by Marinka,TMH.

Johbird–I didn’t get the impression that the dad was trying to get out of childcare responsibilities, but rather wanted to carve some time for himself to go to the gym.

I am assuming that he will be spending the entire weekend taking care of the kids and turning the pages of US Magazine for his wife, so that she doesn’t have to lift a finger.

07.20.09#12

Comment by L.

It’s strange that I stumbled upon this right now. My sister’s soon-to-be ex-husband (as per his request) was a gym fanatic. He spent five nights a week, for three hours anight at the gym and then went out with his gym buddies afterward, leaving my sister with her three children at home. Each night he came home, he’d go straight to his computer to play video games and very rarely even helped her put the kids to bed, even if he made it home before bedtime. When she asked him to give up one night a week at the gym, he freaked out and called her selfish and told her that he deserved free time since he worked all day (as if she didn’t). When she had their third child, he took two weeks off from work, but spent the entire time on his computer and at the gym. Luckily for her, in my opinion, he’s asked for a divorce, because he feels he’s missed out on single life. She’s pretty much been asingle mother mother for years now anyway.

So, to me, the gym just raises unreasonable red flags, I guess, though I recognize that two nights a week isn’t to the level of my brother-in-law.

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