Here we are, halfway through fall already. It has been a whirlwind.
Beyond that, we’ve been trying to adjust to what has proven to be at times a seriously crazy, rigid schedule. We’re still getting used to ‘big kid’ school life and have been limiting ourselves to getting all work done between the hours of 8:30am and 2pm. Some days, I feel like I blink my eyes, check two things off my list and then turn around only to have to pick up the kids from school.
I have a bunch of reflections about this new life adjustment:
1. It’s a hustle. And that hustle is a struggle because it feels unnatural. I feel like I’m spending 80% of my time trying to figure out ways for our mornings to not feel rushed. Starting a morning rushing out the door can’t be good for anyone. Sadly for us, our community school has an early start of 8:10. Plus (of course!) a major construction project started back in September that is directly on our route to school – making our commute fifteen minutes instead of the usual seven.
2. Now, more than 6 weeks in, our girls have adapted to the new routine and have moved past their morning to-do lists. They seamlessly take care of everything that needs to be done to get out the door. Allowing our kids to be independent empowers them to take on more responsibility, and that has really worked for us.
3. Aidan just keeps getting up earlier to ensure he’s got enough time to exercise, eat and help the kids get ready for school. I still need to rest as much as possible with my lyme recovery, so that isn’t a solution for me. However, I find that I need to get up, shower and get ready before the girls even wake up for the morning to be successful. With all of my needs taken care of, it allows me to focus on coaching the girls to get ready without nagging or yelling.
I am also finding time for snuggles, patience and thoughtful negotiations like: “Mom – if I get ready really quick – can we build a tower, make art or read a book before we leave?”. The answer is always yes – but it requires all of my attention and support to pull that off.
4. The girls require at least 20 minutes of snuggles and connection time before they’ll even get out of bed. So, we set the alarm 20 minutes earlier for snuggling time. Mostly, I wonder how other families are handling the back to school transition. I feel like I pass so many parents and give them the knowing glazed eye, rushed look or thumbs up/you are doing great. But… we don’t get to talk about it. We just try to support each other through looks of sympathy and understanding.
I could go and on about PA days and early dismissal, too… but I’ll leave it by just saying this as a die hard scheduler. Surely, someone out there in the school board world has considered the option of making school hours Mon-Thurs, 8:30am-4:30pm. It would equal the same amount of time and would be easier for everyone to manage from a routine and schedule perspective. Right?
One of my goals throughout this major transition has been to put my needs on the list, too. To ensure my self-care schedule stays in place no matter what. I am happy to report that I have been successful. Although, I have to admit – it also been tough pulling it off and many weeks have not been pretty.
I mean, just yesterday… I spent most of my work time running errands for the business and got back later to the office than I wanted. I was supposed to work out but ran out of time. I jumped on the treadmill for 15 minutes and ran as hard as I could to make up for it. Sweating like crazy, I jumped back in the car to pick up my kids from school. Then, we did some deliveries for the Schoolhouse, went to gymnastics, made dinner, had a bath and I passed out with my kids (still in my sweaty workout clothes). Not ideal, but I’m working on it.
Many times, the hustle to get to fitness class or games felt difficult. More often than not, I would have preferred not to go but just pushed through. As many times as I could, I woke up after passing out putting my kids to bed and went through my before bed mindfulness practice, even when it felt counter intuitive. I followed my self-care routine when I was happy, rested, tired, stressed, recovering from an illness…. you name it. I did it all. In the end, 99% of the time, I was glad I pushed through.
The thing that I am most proud of, though, was not that I did it…. but that I asked for help. I was able to see that this time of transition was going to be difficult for me and I needed to make sure that my needs weren’t pushed to the sidelines like they usually were (correction: where I usually push them). I did this by hiring a nutrition and fitness coach. Her name is Kimberly Whynot-Dowse and she runs her own business called Inspired Life.
When we first met at the end of August, she reviewed my goals for health and wellness. She also asked me bunch of questions to review my overall health, such as:
1. Have you had your thyroid checked?
2. Do you have vitamin deficiencies?
3. Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?
4. Have you had your hormones checked / Do you have a regular menstrual cycle?
5. How much water do you drink daily?
6. What are your eating habits?
7. What are your sleeping habits?
8. Are you taking any medications and have you experienced any side effects from these medications?
9. How often and how do you move your body daily?
10. What supplements are you currently taking?
With almost 6 months under my belt in my lyme recovery, I had been working through and assessing many of these questions with various doctors/alternative practitioners. So, I had a lot to say. But you know what? It was super helpful to go over my health and wellness snapshot in this way. To mark where I was that day and where I wanted to be moving forward. As a result of this meeting, she sent me an overall plan with a ton of suggestions – including a meal plan for the first week.
Kim helped me tweak so many of my systems. She gave me a weekly eating plan and introduced me to the concept of intermittent fasting which helped me shorten my window of eating and increase my rest period. She reviewed and tweaked my supplements. I took away a couple that I no longer needed, combined a couple and added a few new ones that have really made a difference. She also suggested what times of day I should be taking different supplements… honest, invaluable support.
I joined her fitness class twice a week which held me accountable to a group which I thought I would hate, but really loved. We met every week which helped me to become accountable to report on my week; we tweaked my plan each week to ensure success; but most of all it was just really lovely to talk to someone regularly about my plan. I could ask questions, bounce off ideas but I also felt like she understood my struggles which was really important.
I recently had my last week with Kim and I’m sad to see it end. I will stay with her fitness group but our weekly meetings will stop. Honestly, I’m a little nervous to step away from the accountability. But if I step back and reflect on how far I’ve come since September in implementing and maintaining my self-care plan I realize I can do this on my own. She has prepared me for the next step – to continue on my same plan on my own. I am grateful to have gone on this journey with her. I am glad that I bit the bullet and recognized that I needed help.
I would recommend this journey to everyone, no matter where you are on your path to self care. Choose you. I guess that’s the whole point of self-care. Recognizing when you can do it on your own and when you need to ask for help.
If you are interested in learning more about Kim – check her out on Facebook @KimsInspiredLife.
You can reach out by email with any questions you may have about her services: firstname.lastname@example.org.