Protect Your Gym Time: Consider a Contract!

Fit happy couple running together on treadmills at the gymAll partners say it. During pregnancy, they thank you for sacrificing your body for the baby and promise to watch the baby when he or she arrives so that you can go to the gym. But then the baby comes and there is a little more crying than anticipated and he’s hungry all the time. When you say you are going to the gym, your partner looks at you like you are crazy and all too often you don’t end up going. Or they don’t give you a look—just a straight up panicked refusal.

You try to remind him he promised to watch the baby while you went to the gym, but he has come down with his own case of amnesia. Or maybe that was just my experience. But this time, I have a plan for postpartum gym time. And I made my husband sign a contract to ensure he sticks with the plan.

The contract states that my husband will watch the kids three days a week from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. so that I can go to the gym by myself to take Spin class. He goes to work from 9 to 9 and I’ll be home with the kids, so it’s the perfect and only time. The contract will commence when my baby hits the three-month mark. Why three months? I’m not some celebrity with an InStyle cover to shoot showing how I miraculously shed all that baby weight in such a short time (though I feel that those covers should really feature the personal trainers, cooks, nutritionists and, most of all, nannies that made that celeb’s slim-down possible). At six weeks, I’ll probably start walking and doing some home workout videos, but to be pounding it hard at the gym right away? Nope. I’m going to take that three months to enjoy my baby. Plus, babies’ schedules don’t really seem to regulate until about three months, so then I’ll have a better idea of how much milk to leave for my husband and an idea of the feeding schedule. I need this contract to be a win-win.

The contract is just as much for my husband to honor his word as it is for me to make sure I wait the allotted time to connect with my baby—but not a minute longer. It’ll also help me keep my end of the bargain, heading out for some serious cardio a few days a week. The contract will be signed by both of us, and the stipulations are set and must be upheld—the days, the times, the restrictions against certain looks or complaints he can give me as I head out to take care of myself and the 80 pounds that come with carrying his big babies and being on bed rest.

There are also my own clauses, like to not use this time to sneak off to Starbucks or sleep in the gym locker room (it gets tempting ladies—trust me) and the things he wants me to have prepared before hand—like pumped breast milk! The contract will, of course, be a “living document,” so we can make changes to it at any time because babies tend to require a certain amount of flexibility. But the fact remains that I will some way or some how get some protected gym time, sans children and non-supportive attitudes.

So if you’re trying to come up with ways to hold both you and your partner accountable to protect your time at the gym, write it down. Date it. Hold them to it!

What are you doing to protect your gym time? — Dara

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