Smart Scheduling – Strategy #1

We’re starting off with the first of four strategies to putting into action!

A run is the most accessible workout I know. You can’t possibly be late. It’s free. Required gear includes only clothes and shoes. And if you’re willing to be hot or cold or wet, you can do it anytime and most anywhere outside.

However, kids make scheduling these accessible workouts particularly difficult. They need me from when I wake up to when they go to sleep at night. And they don’t tolerate my departure very well, at least not while they’re both so little.

Not only do they need me, but my husband needs me, too. Two kids at their ages are quite a handful to entertain, feed, keep safe and happy all alone. I am more and more in awe of single parents for their ability to survive, not to mention accomplish the basics like shower and use the bathroom while being solely responsible for children!

This is why smart scheduling is the first and probably most important strategy to running while being a working mom.

calendar with pencil

What does that mean in practice? Think about when you are most needed at home, and when you are most needed at work. Then when are you at least 90% off duty?

Here’s what my schedule looks like… I’m on duty as mom, as soon as I hear A yell, “Green light is on!” at 6:10am. (Thank you Mirari OK to Wake Clock) While my husband gets ready for the day, I get the kids dressed and into their high chairs. A hot juice (long story, don’t ask) and cereal for A and a bottle and dry cheerios for B. Potty attempt for A. Often a second diaper for B. Shoes, booties, and I help get everyone out the door and into the car for daycare dropoff around 7am.

Then I’m on duty as a professional. I’m fortunate to have a flexible full-time work schedule and location, as long as it all gets done. So that sometimes means I jump in the shower and head straight to meetings, and other times it means I can work from home for a few hours before going to an office. Either way, I’m usually in full-speed work mode until between 5 and 5:30, when the garage door beeps, indicating it’s time to switch to mom and help my boys out of the car.

Evenings entail some play time, making then scarfing down a quick dinner, and then bedtime begins. Our dual bedtime routine is a delicate and intricate dance of precise timing, resulting in both children settling into their bed/crib within seconds of each other – awake but ready to sleep. And it all ends around 7:30pm, when we close their door, turn on the monitor, and breathe a sign of relief.

There typically are not enough consecutive minutes during those hours when I can fit in a run and shower.

My smart scheduling solution is to take advantage of evenings.

Those few hours when my kids are asleep and before I head to bed is my golden time for myself. Occasionally I use it for some one-on-one time with my husband. Other times, it’s for cleaning or reading or writing. But my new routine is to use this time 2-3 times per week for runs. It helps that I live pretty far north and spring through fall, it stays light quite late into the evening. And it also helps that when I go, my husband stays home (see Partnership strategy!) It requires a much lighter dinner in the early evening with the family and going to bed with my hair wet after an evening shower, but this smart scheduling allows me to run even with a full-time job and two kids at home!

I realize some moms work different shifts, have kids with later bedtimes, don’t have a partner at home, etc. I’m curious what your smart scheduling solutions are! Share in the comments.