My Zumba Journey

This morning I dragged my lazy derriere out of bed and to my 10am Saturday morning Zumba class. Every week, it’s the same. I really don’t want to go. It takes having a serious conversation with myself to talk (aka guilt) myself into it. Off I go, begrudgingly.

Fast forward 60-minutes or so and I emerge – sweaty, my muscles aching beautifully, invigorated and high on the having shaken my booty to great tunes! After all, I’m my happiest when dancing and that’s what Zumba essentially is.

It’s a mixed blessing that, as part of this, I spend an hour in front of a mirror forced to examine my pudgy, jiggly fleshy bits squeezed into my exercise gear. This mostly unpleasant vision reminds me why this weekly “torture” is required. However, what mitigates my negativity, is that fact that I am surrounded at Zumba my similarly bouncy, middle-aged woman. Ninety-nine percent of the class attendees are, like me, in their 40s, working Moms, trying to squeeze in an hour to themselves, trying to squeeze in some exercise, trying to squeeze into their Lycra. Some of them come to class fully made up, wearing dangly earrings. This confuses me. However,  together, we jiggle, strut, samba, cha-cha, groove and sweat, in a merry, flabby fashion. Sure there’s always at least one super skinny gal there, sporting a dancer’s body and a six-pack. I try not to look.

What I love most about the studio I go to – VavaVoom Fitness –  is it is focused on celebrating women, curves and all. Large posters on the wall display a fleshy Marilyn lifting weights, a seductive Beyonce, gorgeous J Lo performing and Shakira’s incredible body. Not a skinny waif in sight. No ripped muscles. Just images of sexy, confident, resplendent curvy woman. The goal is to motivate us to reclaim our bodaciousness, to celebrate our confidence and womanliness through dance. And given dance is something that inspires and motivates me, this is why I come here. However, putting aside inevitable self-consciousness and allowing yourself to circle your hips, grind a little, wiggle your butt, shimmy your shoulders and dance sexy is not always an easy journey. In fact, one of the male Zumba teachers often complains that his hips move better than ours!  The fact is that, in our day-to-day lives, especially as working Moms, there’s no time or, quite frankly reason, to act and feel sexy. Even long before becoming I mother, drawing attention to body through clothes or shoes was an anathema.

But every Saturday morning, for one hour, I revel in shedding this insecurity and I gloriously strut my stuff, buoyed by the music, the dance and the fact that I’m not alone in this journey.

The Problem with Having it All: Mommy Hair

So many interesting articles and blog posts whirling around about women and our desire/challenge to “have it all.” Here’s the deal, there’s one slant to the issue that no-one has yet had the guts to touch. Ready? Here it is. If you want to have it all, the chances are that you’ll end up with Mommy Hair.

You know the look: chin or shoulder-length, relatively easy to “wash and go,” when we have no time to properly style it, a quick fluff with your fingers does the job.

Practical.

Blah.

As summer hits, and my mornings become abbreviated by the need to rush the kids early to their camp bus stop, I faced the reality of my need for Mommy hair. I need it to not require hours of attention and grooming. I need to not have to blow dry on humid mornings. I need for it not to look like something the dog dug up. I need for my daughter to not ask me if it’s “crazy hair” day!

A recent discussion with my Mom friends reinforced the reality of Mommy hair. Exacerbated by the story one Mom relayed about her daughter equating prettiness with women having long flowing locks. The next day I performed an unscientific poll of the women in my office. The conclusion? Ninety-nine percent of the Moms at work have practical (and stylish) Mommy hairdos; those without kids, lovely flowy locks.

Then I thought about celebrity Moms who still have their gorgeous hairstyles (and stylists galore, of course) – Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé to name two. Do you think they have days when they find dried spit-up in their hair, or resort to a headband or scrunchy to keep the frizzies at bay?

Do I have a point, you ask? It’s this.

Screw practical hair. I want my pre-Mommy hair back. In fact, I’d like my 1980′s long spiralled perm back. Or I’d settle for my year 2000-2001 Julia Roberts as Erin Brokovich tresses.

Of course I write all this just hours after returning from the hair salon, having requested a more practical cut for the summer …. Oh well.

P.s. The following are some excellent articles and blogs on the whole “having it all” issue which, hair bitching aside, is a serious topic.

Why Women Still Can’t Have it All

Men Can’t Have It All Either

Children or Career?

Having It All Is Not A Women’s Issue

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