For most parents, back to school can be a hectic time between balancing a busy schedule for students and maintaining your own health and fitness regimen. Woodside Yoga teacher, Erran Gilchrist, shares her story on how she manages being a parent to a busy student-athlete, teaching yoga and finding time for a personal workout, even when you feel your schedule doesn’t allow you to focus on yourself.
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~Lucille Ball
It’s hard to believe school is back in session, and summer break is a fading memory! Getting back into the fall semester groove is no small task, but with a little planning and carving out time for myself, mom-life rolls along – one day (and task) at a time.
Being a parent is one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Raising an athletic teenager brings great pride, observing the dedication to training and time management. Thanks to the delicate balancing act of managing school, homework and sports practice, my teenager is flourishing.
PLAN AHEAD: SCHEDULE IN TIME FOR EVERYTHING IMPORTANT
Family chats on Sundays help us get ready for the week ahead. While relaxing in the living room on Sunday evenings, curled up on the sofa, we peek at the upcoming week’s swim practice schedule, which truly defines our week. My husband and I decide which one of us will drive our daughter to school and pick her up afterwards; take her to practice and bring her home. Since his work calendar is filled to the brim with meetings and such, Google calendar invites are a lifesaver, noting when and where to pick up our swimmer after practice.
Simply put, our marriage is a loving partnership, sharing responsibilities and allotting time for our own careers and activities (like exercise). Blocking out personal time for our fitness is a necessity! Since I’m a morning person, that’s my ideal workout time. Being a night owl, my husband thrives with evening workouts. Plugging our respective fitness routines into the family calendar, as well as establishing these times as a weekly routine, ensures everyone’s fitness needs are met at a convenient time.
Prioritizing your fitness is just as important as prioritizing your kids. Through the years we’ve learned that being proactive and scheduling your weeks in advance, collaboratively, allows you to prioritize your week. This way, you make time for the important things in your life, rather than letting whatever crosses your path take over.
Knowing exactly what time I’ll CrossFit and practice yoga during the week brings a sense of peace and contentment. Exercise manifests a healthy mind and body, ideal for meeting the challenges of a jam-packed schedule!
MAKE TIME TO CHECK-IN REGULARLY
The countless drives to school and sports practices can be overwhelming; however, these times allow my daughter and I to connect and chat about our day. Consider this – It’s healthy for your student-athlete to see their mom/parents as athletes too. You can share in each other’s pain around sore muscles, tiredness, etc. Tightening our bond, mother/teen moments put a hectic life into perspective.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE… AND SHARE THAT WITH YOUR KIDS
As a yoga teacher, juggling family responsibilities gets a bit tricky. Teaching six to eight group classes each week, as well as leading private yoga instruction, keeps me on the move! On top of that, exercising on my own (about 1.5 hours a day), means I’m consistently watching the clock, especially during the school day! Creating yoga sequences for my students requires time spent planning, at home, much like a school teacher does. Arriving early to set up the the two yoga studios where I teach, and staying after class to chat with students and tidy up, means a one hour class is actually two!
Since yoga students usually attend class before work, on a lunch break, or after work in the evenings, that’s when I teach. So driving my teen athlete fits into a narrow window of time between teaching yoga classes and private lessons! Thankfully, my noon classes take place during the school day, and I can shuttle my daughter from school to sports before my evening classes begin. Our family meets back at home after my yoga classes, with my husband bringing our swimmer home, and one of us throwing a simple dinner together. And to be honest, we three eat whenever the time is right. Sit-down family dinners are a rarity, considering we’re hungry and able to eat at different times. And we’re okay with that!
Doing what you love is refreshing, especially as a busy mom! After teaching yoga, I have the same yoga glow as if I’d practiced myself. That joy carries over to my family, who needs the love and support of a happy, healthy mom. I think it’s important and healthy for my daughter to see her mother work so hard on her own fitness. It sets a strong, lifelong example of health and wellness.
So to all you mothers and fathers out there raising athletic kids – take good care of yourself. You can’t give your best to your kids if you’re not the strongest, healthiest version of yourself! The older your children get, the more time and energy are required to keep up with their eventful lives! When parents maintain their own health and fitness, they’re better able to keep up with their energetic kids!
If squeezing fitness into your busy parenting schedule seems daunting, connect with me about practicing yoga. Choosing from group classes and private instruction puts you in charge! Visit my teaching schedule or email me to book a private session at Woodside KC. As an active mom, I’ll lend support, encouragement and accountability to keep you on track! So what are you waiting for, let’s get started!