We all know that exercise is good for us. And we all know how easy it can be to put off. As single moms, we have the perfect built-in excuse: I have no one to watch my child while I go to the gym. This is a perfectly legitimate excuse, and one that I’ve used myself without any guilt at all. But then I realized that if I have a heart attack or some fatal disease due to lack of exercise and proper care of my body, my daughter will be without me. I certainly couldn’t have that, so I went in search of a solution. I found it in the YMCA.
To be honest, it was a last option for me. I’m not sure why or how, but I had a bias against the Y that was born not from personal experience but the Y’s representation in fictional stories. It was the place where the delinquents hung out and drug deals went down. Or so I thought. I couldn’t have been more wrong. What I found was a welcoming and supportive atmosphere in a building full of families and people of all ages and abilities. Their cause is comprised of three parts: youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. How can you argue with that?
The cost of a YMCA membership was more expensive and less expensive than local gyms but the benefits outweighed all others. First and foremost, child care. At our Y, members can drop their children off in the Play and Learn Center for free while they utilize the facility. Their assertion further comforted me:
“Our child care, afterschool and Child Watch programs are staffed with people who understand the cognitive, physical and social development of kids, the need children have to feel connected and supported in trying new things and the caring and reinforcement parents and families need to help each other.”
On Saturdays, Ali and I drop the kids off at Play and Learn, take a free Ripped class, walk around the track and catch up on each other’s lives, and then luxuriate in a worry-free, child-free hot shower. Saturdays are special.
The Y offers all kinds of youth programs, activities, and sports. Our girls are a bit young for a lot of this, but Story has taken swimming and gymnastics lessons and has played soccer, and all three have enjoyed playing in the pool. I’m sure as they grow older, we will take advantage of the opportunities. It isn’t all about sports though. The Y has several initiatives to encourage healthy living, including Healthy Kids Day on April 30.
For those of you who are social-minded, the Y has several programs that help to educate, advocate, and provide resources for not only the immediate community but also globally. There are so many ways you (and your children!) can become involved at the Y.
There’s a little bit of everything at the YMCA, it seems. Whether you are looking to take part in a healthy living program or simply want to be alone when taking a shower, check out your local Y. You may be surprised, as I was, to find a wealth of opportunity.