Tiresome, isn’t it — watching America’s liberal 24/7 cable news blaming President Donald Trump or a populist conservative ideology for so many of our country’s longstanding problems?
Yet decades later, nothing has changed since I was a single working mom living in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, with my then six-month-old son. There will always be those who need to blame others for their own plight.
For instance, I could have blamed specialists for not diagnosing pre-eclampsia as I ballooned from a normal weight of 100 pounds to 165 and swelled from a size 5 to a size 13 in shoes — along with now having high blood pressure and fainting spells.
But after successfully surviving an emergency C-section thanks to the same doctors, I thanked God. Then, once settled with my son in our new home, I had only one place to go: my floor-to-ceiling bedroom mirror.
It was time to take stock of who I was, for my own sake — and that of my son’s. Indeed, what new responsibilities were at the fore? Surely not to expend wasteful hours, something that those on the Left do today, as they moan, groan and need scapegoats rather than “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps,” as my World War II soldier dad used to say.
Still, that mirror told no lies. I was still 50 pounds overweight, pasty looking, and fatigued most of the time. How could I launch a successful at-home business and care for my infant son’s needs?
So I joined a nearby health and fitness club. I admit it was somewhat embarrassing to me, as a mom in her late 30s at that point, to waddle into the place amid the snickering chuckles of “the beautiful people” there. Yet growing up in a military family, we valued self-discipline and hard work to achieve our goals.
As applied to my situation, because I refused to delegate his care to an au pair or nanny — this meant taking my infant son with me to the health club for my workout three or four times a week.
It also meant organizing all needed baby paraphernalia, including chilled bottles of formula, changing-table stuff, and a portable carry-along cradle — with pleasant distractions of his favorite mobile, pacifier and squeeze toy.
Take your stand, never surrender — and don’t look back.
On my first day at the club, I began on the treadmill’s lowest setting, with my son carefully tucked inside his cradle and within reach on the lush carpeted surface. But I barely made it through the first 10 minutes. I had to continuously jump off and on again to give him a fresh bottle or attend to his other needs.
To my surprise, however, there was one older, well-built guy who gave me a thumbs-up of encouragement. Suffice it to say, this helped — a lot.
In time, I was treadmill-walking-and-running an hour at a clip, and the pounds started melting away. My son still needed the jump-off, jump-on routine, but it became much easier. At that point, my thumbs-up guy approached me, squatted down on the floor, and with a dad’s touch gently took my son’s tiny hand in his.
He introduced himself as a former Marine and a combat veteran of Vietnam.
“You must be one fine lady because I haven’t seen civilian discipline like yours in a long time, especially in a culture that wants it easy, or wants to be taken care of by someone else.”
I got off the treadmill and shook his hand. “But this isn’t combat like you went through,” I replied. “I’m just a mom trying to get my health back.”
He shook his head. “True, but maybe it’s a different kind of combat. You’re committed no matter what others think, and this little guy will be better off for having a tough, dedicated and healthy mom.”
Today, I still remember this wonderful man — and he was right. Eventually I left the health club, and while a neighbor watched my son, I ran five miles a day after work. And along with this bounty of health and stamina, my stay-at-home business thrived, as did my son.
Still, we two didn’t live a fairy-tale existence. Kick-in-the-gut challenges hit later on, but thanks to my ex-Marine buddy I never forgot his wisdom: Take your stand, never surrender, and don’t look back.
Yep — and we’re never giving in to any side that says otherwise.
The author, a retired attorney, is a published poet and columnist in Arizona; she is also a regular contributor to LifeZette.