We finally joined the YMCA near our home. We have deliberated for months now, visited a few times, participated in sports programs, and somehow resisted the strong pull from their blatant, hugely tempting advertisement of "free daily child care" in the fantastic kids' play area.
Somewhere during our deliberation, I decided that a membership would be similar - in a very small but very vital way - to my mom or sister living next door. I decided, due to the frequent absence and common exhaustion of my resident husband, that a gym membership is quite possibly a necessity for my (and my family's) mental survival during these years of residency. I requested a membership for Christmas, (I so let my husband off the hook this year!), they gave us a great "scholarship" due to our "low" income, and I am now working a bit from home, so hopefully our monthly budget will continue to support our decision to join.
And, ooooh, now I can honestly say that the two hours of available child care every day is... completely marvelous. My two youngest boys literally hop into the younger kids' play area with wide eyes and great big smiles. every. time. I. take. them. Pounding it out on the treadmill, using weight machines, swimming, spinning, stretching, just a short distance away while they play happily, well... I can't even begin to express my feelings, really.
I wish I had discovered years ago the personal, deep feelings of relaxation mixed with freedom available immediately upon obtaining and regularly using a gym membership (with free child care).
It's only been two weeks though. I read that all gyms experience a huge increase in usage during the month of January each year. We'll see if my current fascination, addiction, and apparent total dependence on my membership continues throughout the year. I hope so, it's so cold outside!