CoSEM: Staying in Shape While People Gather to Watch Us With Curiosity/Amusement!*
I had a little miscommunication this morning with my sister-in-law about what time exactly I was supposed to meet them at the park. Obviously, before leaving (early, as it turns out), I thought it prudent to leave my phone at home, causing me to miss subsequent calls from said sister-in-law trying to tell me “See you at 9:30!”. But I’ve found a silver lining in the cloud of our misunderstanding. Since I was at the park early, I was lucky enough to see the Corp of Stroller-Exercising-Mothers**. Have you heard of this? It’s a thing. A scheduled, organized thing. If you haven’t personally witnessed this curiosity, you are unfortunate indeed.
Before I make fun of them, let me say this: I actually think it’s fantastic. So many women have a baby and then get fat and bored, but not these gals. They all looked great, including one very preggo mama, and I think having your children involved is fun and sets a good example for them. In fact, were I in possession of a small child and an all-terrain stroller, I would have joined them. It really looked fun! But they have to know they make quite a spectacle.
There’s a weird, slightly unsettling sameness about 2 dozen 20 and 30 somethings, all dressed similarly in their brightly colored spandex exercise outfits, baseball caps, and smart ponytails, with strollers, doing the same motions simultaneously. Picture this: a whole mess of strollers stand on the grass. Near them stands the woman who is obviously presiding over the session, shouting at her charges. The women are leaping and bounding-almost frolicking- across the field, they are lunge-walking back, they are walking sideways like crabs, they are shuffling backwards and trying not to bump into each other. Meanwhile, a little boy is chasing another through the sprinklers nearby, wielding a long stick, and one mother is forced to leave the festivities to discipline her charge.
Later I turned down onto the main paved path, and there they were, all gathered along the edge of the grass, jumping up and down. Then they started walking, and I can’t even begin to describe what they were doing… the best approximation I can give is women’s boot camp meets the Ministry of Silly Walks
. The whole ensemble is very amusing. At this point I tried to pass them- they were squatting sideways while walking- but while I was in the middle of the group, they started high-kick jogging. I got caught up in the middle of the group and couldn’t get out, and the woman is shouting at them to “Kick higher! Higher!” I had to bite down on my lip to keep from laughing (because I don’t want to be discouraging… or get the crap beat out of me by a bunch of postpartum babes).
You know, there’s power in numbers. I have been known to lunge walk and do push-ups at the park, and I always feel self-conscious. I’m fully aware that I look strange, even if it is obvious that I’m working out. But with 20 or so comrades and our kids, I can put a serious look on my face and crab-walk to my heart’s content.
* This may or may not be the official motto of CoSEM.
** I totally made up this name.