No more Gym Guilt

Today I had a great time at a Zumba at the gym. I don’t make it often since Kelsey has some type therapy most mornings, but since PT wasn’t until 11 today, I decided we could fit it in. She’s been doing great at the church nursery so I thought she’d be okay for an hour at the Kid’s Club.

We haven’t had the best luck at the Kid’s Club in the past. Since Kelsey was about 6 months I’ve tried taking her to the gym like I did when Ben was little.  The last four or five times while in a group class, I’d hear my dreaded name called over the loud speaker to report to the Kids Club. Aka “your kid is causing problems…come fix it.” Now some of these calls were during some really difficult periods where Kelsey would pretty much whine from sun up to sun down. But I was still bothered to be interrupted–sometimes twice in an hour class–to come get her because she was whining/unhappy.

At the beginning of the summer, I took both kids to the club. And I was called out, again, during a class to come get Kelsey because she was unhappy. While it doesn’t surprise me that she’s unhappy and irritating the caregivers (Been there! Done that! Everyday!), it does surprise me that they have no problem calling me out to tell me. Because it seems like every time I drop her off, some other kiddo is balling their eyes out for their Mommy too! Right?! I mean isn’t it pretty universal that many kids don’t love being left at a drop-off nursery such as this? But as a teacher and a mom, you figure it out, right? Pick them up, try some different toys, and if it doesn’t make the kid happy, well…listen to them whine for 30 more minutes and then send them on their merry way when their mom comes to get them.  And, if you’re a good teacher and an even better mom, you don’t always have to tell the parents how awful the kid was.  Gosh, I would sure be in trouble if I told the truth about all the cherubs I taught!  No one’s hurt?  No one needs to know!

Well, not my gym, apparently.  So that last time I went to the gym, ah hem, at the beginning of the summer, I told the staff that this was Kelsey.  This is how she is.  They’ve been told about her medical problems.  And that her behavior suffers because of all these diagnoses.  The one staff member seemed to understand that I just needed an hour to work out, and if they could just deal with Kelsey for that time, I’d be grateful for the break.

Today, that same staff member and the manager of the Kid’s Club who has worked there since Ben was little, were there to happily greet me.  They didn’t address or approach Kelsey, but that was okay.  Like any other day, another child was tantruming because he was in time-out for throwing toys.  The staff boasted about how happy they were to find a way to solve this other child’s “problem.”  Their solution was to sit with their back to the child while he screamed quite loudly in time-out.  Great!  Sounded good to me.  Didn’t bother me one bit.  They were handling a child.  Good stuff.  I signed Kelsey in, put her down (whine free, I might add) at a familiar toy, said good-bye and told the staff I’d be back at 10:30 (an hour later) after my class.

Throughout the class, I was nervously looking at the door and listening for a gym announcement or staff member who was looking for me to rescue them from my child…but it didn’t come!  I was thrilled!  I was already plotting the next class I could come to…on Monday, maybe?  After the class, I grabbed my phone and texted Dave that it had been a success!  A full gym class without a complaint about Kelsey.  Annnd then, sure enough, at 10:32 maybe, as I was walking to the Kid’s Club, I heard it, “Kim Larrick please report to the Kid’s Club!”  Seriously!?!?! Grrrrrrrr….

So I went down to collect Kelsey and to hear the report.  Did she throw toys like that other boy?  Did she hurt someone?  Did she poop (another reason a parent will be called on the PA)?  Did she bite like she has been known to do every now and then?  With my armor up, my heart hurting and my head hanging, I asked what she had done this time. “Oh nothing.  She’s just done.”  I shared with them that I had been so excited to tell my husband that I actually hadn’t gotten the call, when sure enough, mid text to him after class, I was summoned.  I told them that we wouldn’t be coming anymore since it never seems to work out and that Kelsey was so difficult to manage.  They said, “Oh, well, we let you finish your class but now she’s done.”

Seriously?!?  You couldn’t wait 5 minutes for me to grab my keys, a drink of water and a class schedule before notifying me that my two year old was ready to leave?  I didn’t even go to the bathroom because I didn’t want to ruin a good thing!

I don’t get it.  There was no real explanation of why she was so bad that I needed to be called (again!).  Just that she was “really tired and was done.” Oh and that she was trying to get out of the gate when another child got to leave and she didn’t like it when the manager tried to stop her from getting out.  Ah, ha.  Ok.  Yeah, still don’t understand.

Boo.  Feeling sad for myself and for her.  Everywhere I go people boast about Ben and his happiness, sweetness and love-ability.  Even at the beginning of Zumba, the instructor couldn’t remember my name but knew my son’s name from 4 years ago.  Amazing.  But with Sweet Kelsey (that only a select few know), we were asked to leave (early) over and over again.  So we did.  I went upstairs, signed a termination of membership, and left the gym for good.  It’s just not worth the struggle and having to hear from someone else that we come in contact with that she’s difficult and hard to handle.  I already know that.  That’s why I go to the gym…for a little mental break.

On the bright side, I will no longer have the I-Haven’t-Been-to-the-Gym-Guilt!  I’ve got 99 problems and you ain’t one of them!

4 thoughts on “No more Gym Guilt

  1. Well, they shouldn’t be in the job of taking care of children regardless. All children are going to have their days and it generally just takes time to get use to just as Kelsey has at church, etc. They are missing out on knowing how dear and sweet she is. I hope you told the manager and am glad you quit. Maybe there’s another gym that has compassion. Luv, Mom


  2. Kim, I am so upset with these “so called” sitters at that gym that I just want to call them and tell them off!!! You are such an amazing mother and when I read your blog about what you’ve had to deal with when you just want to take a brief hour at the gym (while they watch over little Kelsey and keep her happy) ….I really am furious…I admire you so much and sometimes when I’m reading your words I keep thinking ” Kim should write a book!!!”. You have such an amazing way of expressing your situation that is so real and so easy to relate to…I really am sorry you had to go through this and wish I was closer so you could drop her off with me…


    • I’m not sure how close to White Marsh you are but, Merritt is a wonderful place for kids!!! The child care staff is amazing! I’m so sorry you had this experience.


    • Thank you Judy! That means so much. It’s often hard to push “publish” when I’m done writing but it’s also liberating and empowering to share our story and have such positive and supportive responses. I feel the love from so many after a crappy day. And apparently I’m not alone. I received many responses saying that similar things happened with their kids at the same gym. Craziness.


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