Friday, July 31, 2015

A Morning Routine to Meet Mine and My Son's Needs

It has been a month since I've posted to my blog! I have either been too busy or too tired to devote any time to my writing. Not only have I neglected my writing, I have neglected my physical and emotional well-being, as well.

To top it off, my son often complains that I don't spend anytime with him, which is true on some level. Of course, I would love to be able to spend more time with him, doing things he wants to do, but as a single parent, most of the responsibilities fall on me. Once we sat down and discussed all the things Mommy has to do in a day, he had a better understanding of just how busy I am!

Our mornings seem to be the busiest, but that is also the time of the day when I feel at my best, able to accomplish more, so I wanted to capitalize on this time. After much deliberation and thought, I have come up with, what I hope will be, a morning routine that will alleviate all of these concerns and meet both of our needs:
  • Yoga: I try to get up before my son, brew a hot cup of tea, and do some light yoga while the house is still quiet. If I don't get up before my son, I will give him three choices: read quietly, quiet playtime in his room, or join me for a short yoga session. Believe it or not, he chooses between the three pretty equally! There is a simple, but effective, yoga routine I like to do on the mornings that I don't have much time, Yoga Poses for Stress, by Happify. This routine can be done in 20 minutes but still has the power to start my day off right! As you will see in tomorrow's blog post, I also get some yoga stretches in during our morning calendar. You gotta' get it where you can!
  • Exercise: If I do not exercise first thing in the morning, I have a better chance of winning the lottery than squeezing in fifteen minutes of exercise. To make sure I get my exercise in, I have created a "playtime exercise routine". After a light breakfast of either toast or a yogurt parfait, my son and I will strap on our tennis shoes and head outside. We warm-up on our trampoline, with a few jumping jacks thrown in for good measure. Then, we engage in a game of tag, hide-and-go-seek, or ball, during which the dogs run around with us, so that eliminates the need for a lengthy and separate walk! After 10 to 15 minutes of hardcore play time, we do some cool-down stretching. This system gives my son one-on-one time with me, and gets my exercise in :-)
  • Writing: As with my yoga, I try to get in some writing time before my son wakes up, but that doesn't often happen. So, I have designed "free choice activities" in which to engage my son while I get in some writing time. I can usually get 20 to 30 minutes of writing in during this time, as he works on his free choice activities independently, but I have to make sure I don't waste it checking emails or trolling Facebook :-) You can read more about my "free choice activities" in tomorrow's blog post.
  • Quality Time with My Son: To alleviate my guilt over not spending more time with my son, I have started incorporating 20 minutes a day of quality uninterrupted time engaging in an activity of his choice, an idea I got from Positive Parenting Solutions' free webinar: How to Get Kids to Listen WITHOUT Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling. Twenty minutes a day may not sound like much but, when you are a single parent, responsible for supporting your family, financially, physically, and emotionally, there isn't much time to spare, so I have opted for quality over quantity. And, knowing that he will be getting 20 minutes of uninterrupted time doing an activity of his choice, my son has stopped feeling like I don't spend any time with him because the time I was spending with him, while longer in duration, was spread out over the course of the day and I was usually multi-tasking. 
We have been on this schedule for one week now, and so far, it meets both of our needs: I get more time to work on me and he gets more time from me!