I have a secret work-out weapon. It’s not a trainer, it’s not an extreme diet. It’s not a competitive running buddy.
No, the trick up my sleeve is three-foot tall and very loud.
It’s my daughter.
Our weird work-out alliance began completely accidentally. As a busy woman (is there any other kind?), there’s only one time of day that works for me to exercise, and it’s called Stupid O’ Clock. Uncomfortably, that’s also the time my daughter likes to get up.
One morning, as I tried to creep out of the house under the cover of darkness and silence, Matilda busted me.
‘Where are you going?’ she demanded. ‘And can I come?’
There’s nothing to say about the argument that followed that question, other than that it’s impossible to win a fight with a six-year-old when you are trying not to wake up your entire house.
And so, Matilda and I started running together.
Sydney weather conditions are no deterrent for us! Image: Supplied.
Now before you start wondering if I’ve birthed a prodigy, let’s get one thing straight - my idea of running and her idea of running are not the same.
A six-year-old’s idea of running is really, really fast, for a really, really short time. And my style? Plodding and long.
So as she dashes ahead of me, delighting in the speed of her feet, the feel of her body whooshing through the inky morning, she laughs and calls out to me and I swear under my breath and try to keep up.
Or she stops. Just stops dead to examine something suddenly fascinating on the street, or the sand. ‘What’s that mummy? Have you seen that lady, mummy, what’s she doing (yoga, Matilda, you should try it, it’s relaxing). Where are we going, mummy? How far? Run faster, mummy!!!’
Who needs Michelle Bridges, right?
It's important to get your kids playing outdoors as much as possible. Image: Supplied.
Yes, jogging with your six-year-old might seem a bit out-of-the-box, but when time with your kids is precious, and everyone's getting busier and bigger by the day, it pays to find things you can share that make you move AND make you laugh.
Apparently, mother-daughter bonding does not always have to happen at the shops. In fact, what happens at the shops is much more likely to be a mother-daughter bust-up.