Friday, August 6, 2010

Back-to-school: Mommy's motivation

Ah, it’s back-to-school time. I know some moms probably dread this day, but I relish it. I love seeing my son in his school uniform and dropping him off at school where he gets to discover books, math and recess. And, selfishly, it allows me to get back to a routine.

I’m not a morning person. The snooze button and I negotiate my waking on a daily basis. During the summer, it’s an easier negotiation on my part: No one is going to get a mark on their record for being five minutes late; a teacher is not going to reprimand me for getting my son to camp late; and my daughter’s day care is not on a fixed time.

“So”, I tell my snooze button, “I really don’t have to get up at 5:30 a.m. to work out because I can work out later. It’s not like the kids have to be in bed at 8 exactly.”

And at 6:30 I say to my snooze button that five more minutes will not kill me. That goes on until about 7.

However, when school starts, we must leave the house by 7:30 in order to make it to school on time. The snooze button and I don’t converse near as much since I need to be up early if I have any chance of getting a workout in. If Tim doesn’t make it to carline on time, it’s quite a process to get him to his classroom. It’s in all our best interests to get out of the house at 7:30.

Routine is important, but so is occasionally slacking off. The kids and I follow such a rigid schedule during the school week that we try to be a little more lax during the weekend and summer.

Because my husband and I both work, the kids’ summer schedule only veers off by about an hour. They still get to bed earlier than many of their friends. So it’s not too hard for the kids to get back into the school routine. I’m the one who takes advantage of the break and has to revamp my routine.

It’s not easy, and it’s not fun. I like my sleep. A lot. But reality kicks in and I have to talk myself into doing the right thing for myself. I manage these changes with my “handy-dandy….Notebook!” (Blue’s Clue’s reference for you new moms.) I make a list on Sunday of the things that have to get done and designate days to finish those tasks. I lay out my workout clothes the night before (or even wear them to bed) so I don’t have to think about it in the morning. My husband and I trade off making lunches the night before so they are ready to be plucked out of the fridge. The ever-vital coffee pot is set the night before so the smell of freshly-brewed coffee is waiting to reward me for my workout efforts.

We also work with the kids to establish a morning routine: no t.v. until your teeth are brushed, clothes (including shoes and socks) are on, and breakfast is eaten. It’s amazing how motivating t.v. can be.

All in all our routines work for us. It’s not to say that we’re all happy and cheerful in the morning, but we are less cranky and more likely able to find our stuff before we head out.

Back-to-school—Mommy’s motivation. Now I need a nap. ;-)

--Reace Alvarenga-Smith

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