Thursday, November 7, 2013

Who's the Crazy Mom Running Laps in the School Parking Lot?

That would be me!

Finding time to fit everything in that I need to do is one of my most frustrating challenges.  As I've shared before, exercise is often the first thing cut from my schedule when there is no time.  A big time waster that I identified for myself is driving my kids to and from their practices and lessons.  There usually isn't enough time to get much accomplished between dropping them off and picking them up.  But there IS usually enough time to accomplish some form of exercise.

Basketball is my son's sport of choice and the season is just getting underway.  Fitting exercise in during his practice's at the Junior High is easy as there is a track there.  For his after school practices, I change into my running gear at work, zip out the door at 4PM on the dot and am able to get a solid 30 minute run in by the time he is walking out of the gym at 5PM.  I don't stop at home - I always get wrapped up in something else that eats away at my time when I do that.  His Saturday morning practices are perfect because they force me to get up and get dressed so why not get on the track while I'm there?

Nights like tonight when his practices are in the evening and at an elementary school are a little more challenging - no track and dark streets.  But - the parking lots are well lit!  Instead of rushing home to accomplish one small task before needing to return or sitting in my car dozing for an hour (though I have made that choice on many occasions!), I throw on my tennis shoes and reflector vest and run laps around the parking lot for 30 minutes.  This leaves me plenty of time to chat with the other parents AND still catch a 15 minute power nap!

Using my time wisely during my kids' activities is one of my favorite time saving tips.  You don't have to run.  You can walk, stretch, jump rope . . . be creative!  The nice thing is that your kids will be focusing on practice and not being embarrassed by you doing jumping jacks off to the side.  Though I do believe that providing ample doses of embarrassment for our children is one of our main jobs. 

I have to be honest and share with you that at first I was nervous about what the other parents would think - Is she seriously running around the parking lot?  Who's mother is that?!?  But the reaction is often the opposite.  I've had parents join me.  I've had parents come up and talk to me about what I'm doing which has opened the door to great conversations and friendships.  I've had parents say that seeing me has encouraged them to think about their health and exercise patterns.  It's been very positive.

So I challenge you to join me - next time you take your kid to his sports practice or her music lesson don't just sit there.  Get Up, Get Out and Get Moving!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

I spent more time than usual in front of the TV this weekend - Hallmark kicked off their delightfully cheesy yet hopelessly addictive holiday movie season.  These movies are one of my most favorite parts of these last two months of the year!  As my time in front of the TV dragged on, the items that would not get crossed off my To Do List this weekend grew.  Not good for a busy working mom!  Not good for a busy working mom who lists every aspect of her life on her To Do List - including TV time!   

I was reminded of one of my dad's classic sayings:
Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan. 

I definitely did not work my plan this weekend!  On one hand - that's ok.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending some extra time vegging out in front of the TV.  On the other hand though, I know myself - this CAN'T become routine for me and it very easily could.  While this may sound crazy to some - the temptation to sit and watch those movies is so strong.  TV is one of my biggest weaknesses.  I LOVE to watch TV!  Knowing that, this evening I took some preventative measures to protect myself against two months of obsessive addictive TV viewing - I reviewed my plan. 

It's easy to talk about wanting to do something.  It's another thing to actually get it done.  I have found that if I don't plan something and write it on my calendar it probably won't get done.  That's why - for me - it works to make myself a very detailed schedule on a daily basis.  My daily schedule captures my bigger overall plan.  What goals am I striving to accomplish? 

One of the driving forces behind "my plan" is running a 5K month.  This forces me to continue running and exercising on a regular basis.  If I don't exercise on a regular basis, my ability to handle stress goes down, my weight goes up and my attitude is all over the place which in turns impacts my entire family (There is definite truth to the statement 'If Mama ain't happy,ain't nobody happy!'). 

Bringing that to the forefront of my thinking - after searching the Internet, my 5K calendar is planned out for the next four months - Pittsburgh Predator 5K in Boyce Park on 11/9, Jingle Bell Run on the North Shore on 12/7, the Frigid 5 Miler at North Park on 1/12 and the Cupid's Chase 5K on the North Shore on 2/8. 

My plan is in place. Now it's time to work it!  What's your plan for the next few months?