Or why I will no longer share my yoga.
The YouTube clips that randomly but frequently crop up on my Facebook newsfeed are algorithmically correct — I’m a fairly fit mum and also love a successful multi-task. Tick!
However, I look at these svelte, smiling, lycra-clad mums of several children, honing their six-packs by passing tins of beans around their kitchen aided by their litter of shiny-faced mini-motivators, and I doubt I can follow suit.
Here are some examples if you’re interested — https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mum+and+kids+home+workout
Despite these misgivings, this morning I came back from my precious weekly run and needed a good stretch. M needed to get out on his bike ride so I thought: fuck it I’ll try getting the girls involved.
“Who wants to do some yoga with me?” I chirp while laying out my two mats.
Eldest, proudly regurgitating a compliment received from her ballet teacher: “OK, I’m really bendy”
Middle, sensing an element of competition that she’s not certain of winning: “I want to play Top Trumps”
Baby: “Diddy!” (This is almost all she can say)
Hmmm, on balance I’d call this a lukewarm reaction but am undeterred. Let’s get started!
The first ten minutes are spent negotiating a UN charter over yoga mat territory and the fact that the baby wants to build a tower with the props. So once we agree to leave the baby to it and set the mats up so that I’m squeezed at the edge to make space for the children, we can REALLY get started. This is it! My smiling lycra-clad multi-tasking mum moment!
Eldest: “This is easy.”
Middle: “The blue mat looks like the swimming pool deep end and the black mat is the side.”
Baby: “Diddy!” and she abandons her tower of yoga props to run under me like I’m a tunnel.
Eldest: “Still easy.” She doesn’t hold the pose though. Lightweight.
Middle, grabbing the abandoned yoga blocks: “And these can be the floats”
The baby tries to sit on my back. Aha! This is surely a good way of using kids to further your strength work, right? Actually it’s a pain in the arse. She is wearing a satin Snow White dress, slips to the floor and has a massive emotional breakdown.
Eldest: “Easy!” God, she really is bendy.
The middle is now diving from the black to blue mats and starts instructing an imaginary swim class to do mushroom floats.
No idea where the baby is. Probably off to find her blanket.
Swimming is paused and we all do this one in relative harmony.
The baby re-emerges with a plate-spinning stick from a circus skills set.
We add in a bit of Lion’s Breath which everyone finds hilarious. I can’t ever take this one seriously either actually.
The eldest shows a vague interest in continued, very wobbly, participation. Not so easy now kiddo is it, HA HA!
Middle, curling up on the floor: “Look, this is baked bean, we do this at school!”
The baby bludgeons the eldest with her stick.
The eldest is now tying the middle’s feet together with a belt so that she can swim a length of the yoga mat pool using just her arms. The baby is working very hard to get in the way.
I have now been edged entirely off the mats and go back into downward dog for the baby to resume her delighted tunnel running.
I’m slipping all over the place without a mat so move into a standing pose. Last ditch attempt: “Come on girls, try this one! It’s called Warrior, that’s cool isn’t it!”
They stare at me, incredulous. They are doing a variation of a caterpillar dance move across the mats, gripping my yoga blocks as floats.
Eldest: “We’re racing, Mummy.”
Middle: “We can’t stop or we’ll drown.”
I’m still lycra-clad from the run. Smiling though? Not so much.
So now my kids are playing swimming pools with my yoga mats and props and I am having a cup of tea and writing this. I doubt that would make an inspirational YouTube video though.