Our local YMCA is about 20 minutes from our house. We first visited when James took swim lessons there over the summer. He loved being in the pool (and we loved doing it with him) so when the summer session ended, we knew we should sign him up for the next level. We checked session schedules online and noticed another option he’d love—a gymnastics class called “Me and My 1-Year-Old.” We decided to sign up for a family membership and so far, it’s been more worthwhile than I expected. Here’s the big reason why: child watch.
Daniel and I both work from home, so one of us is with James pretty much all the time—and we love it! As two former latch-key kids from a very early age, we are so happy and feel so unbelievably fortunate to be home with him. Still, it’s not always easy to create boundaries around work time, family/James time, and personal time (I know I’m not alone when I say that as a parent, my perception of “me time” tends to swing between feeling selfish and indulgent). This is why the child watch at the Y has been a blessing. Every day, they offer free child watch to members—a great option that allows parents time to work out or heck, take a hot shower, for up to 2 hours a day. I haven’t worked up to that amount of time just yet—and maybe I never will who knows, but I love that James can play with other kiddos safely while I’m in the gym.
At first, I was a little hesitant (can you tell I’m a first time parent? Ha) and left James for just a short time to see how he did, but he always seemed perfectly happy when I picked him up or checked on him. Anytime I felt guilty or nervous that he might be upset, I reminded myself that before we signed up we took a tour and met with some of the folks who work in the child watch area. The area was clean and safe. I knew that if he did get upset, I’m always nearby and an employee would come get me.
So if you’re looking for a short break from time to time, see if you have a YMCA or another similar family gym nearby. You can use the time to exercise, answer a pressing email or two, make a phone call…or sit in the lobby and read a book if that’s what would recharge you. Take care of yourself.