I’m doing this workout program called P90X. It’s extreme. Ack. I do love it though. I love a good strength workout, I love a good flexibility workout, I’ll suffer through a cardio workout once a week. (Yes, I’m a personal trainer who loathes doing cardio…I’ll tell you more sometime…I promise.)

The basic premise for P90X is not a “new” one, it’s actually a solid, tried and true foundation called “muscle confusion.” I’ve used this in some form the last few years myself. Muscle confusion is just working your muscles so that they start to get used to a certain way of moving and then just when they get all comfy you switch it up. Keeps ’em on their toes (erm…muscle fibers, as it were…)

This got me to thinking about this concept in other areas of my life (because I’m Mrs Metaphor and this is what I do.)

Muscle confusion works for muscles. The same concept applied to say, parenting, not so good. I say this because so often I feel that this is my (unintentional) method. I’m not TRYING to be inconsistent, I promise. It’s not a well laid out parental workout I’ve conceived. It just seems to be the groove I get into. My motto these days, “everything works for 5 minutes.” Changing the way I parent every time something “stops working” though only leads to child confusion and that’s not working either.

What is inconsistent as I consider though is NOT my attitude or my character…it’s my “action.” It’s the strength and flexibility workout that never seems to fit my parenting. It’s not the heart of the matter. Strangely enough, it’s the cardio aspect I got down. Endurance training is my parenting strong suit. I do show up. I do embrace that “strong and steady wins the race.” It’s as close to jogging as I ever get, on any level.

It’s ironic that the weight lifting part of parenting is the part I dislike so much. I don’t show good form. I keep wondering how much longer the workout will last and when I can rest…I lift too much, I don’t bend at the knees when it gets too heavy.

Now, here is my final thought (for today) on this whole thing. Do you know why P90X is REALLY effective and so transformative? 90 days (the length of the extreme workout phase) is the amount of time it takes to build and keep and new habit. In P90X you workout everyday (well, you take a day off to rest or stretch.) What it does is that it forces you to do something every day that will make you stronger, healthier, fitter. In the end, by doing it everyday you don’t just confuse your muscles, you give them hope that you’ve begun to be better…for the long haul. You give your muscles something to look forward to…some reason to believe this is all worthwhile.

Maybe that’s the parenting metaphor I need to walk away with…not child confusion…child security…my role as parent is to assure my children (and in so doing, assure myself) that I am working toward being better…for the long haul. I give them something to look forward to…some reason to believe this is all worthwhile.

and this is a very good thing.


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