Sunday, May 12, 2013

5:48 PM
Shasta Ascent in the Pre-Kid Weekend Warrior Days
When I was young-ish and single-ish, I would spend most weekends doing something that often bordered on extreme, whether it was going out dancing, ascending a mountain, rock climbing, mountain biking, or racing triathlons. These weekend warrior trips usually involved long drives, late Sunday night arrivals back home, and a sore, tired body come Monday morning. Then, for the rest of the week, I would routinely teach yoga in the early AM, work at my real job until 7 PM, run or bike for an hour, and then climb until 11 PM. The thrill of planning the next weekend's adventure and the satisfaction of execution fueled about a decade of burning the candle at both ends: working hard and playing harder.

Now, as a working mom, I also feel like a weekend warrior, but in a entirely different way.  My weekend adventures have now turned into a new kind of endurance fest - the Working Mom Decathlon. Let me explain...

For most of us who work outside the home, there is precious little quality time that we get to spend with our kids during the week. Sure, there are the sweet moments of cuddling in bed in the early morning, the giggles during a brief evening outing to the park or a wrestle-fest, and the bedtime story snuggle time. Unfortunately though, it often feels like most of the time that I have with my kids during the week (1-2 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the evening) is filled with eating, getting dressed, brushing teeth, commuting, commuting, eating, getting undressed, bathing, getting dressed, brushing teeth, coaxing, bribing, yelling....sigh.

All of the above means that by the time the weekend comes around, I really want to spend some quality time with my kids. For me, this means scheduling some kid- and fun-centric activities that bond us as an out-and-about family, and also just providing for some mellow, unstructured time at home where the kids have the run of the house and the yard to play whatever and however they choose. In between and around the kid time, I try to do some work, get in at least a couple of workouts, and spend some time with the husband.

In my case, the Working Mom Decathlon begins at 12:30 PM on Fridays. Events require a combination of stamina, creativity, flexibility and patience. Here is what this totally typical weekend's event looked like (excluding the mundane):
  1. Friday 1 PM: Daughter has soccer practice - son and I play in adjacent park
  2. Friday 2 PM: Daughter has swim lesson - son and I swim in pool
  3. Friday 3 PM: Pool playdate and burgers (and beer) afterwards
  4. Saturday 7 AM: Homemade pancakes made with two kitchen helpers
  5. Saturday 11 AM: Birthday party in the park
  6. Saturday 3 PM: Visit to Aunt and Uncle, including playtime in a park
  7. Sunday 9 AM: Son has gymnastics class
  8. Sunday 10 AM: Daughter has dance class
  9. Sunday 11 AM: Family trip to Angel Island (Ferry and Bike ride)
  10. Sunday 5 PM: At home play in the Kid Gym

Dancin' Queen
Hang Ten

Tiburon Ferry
Biking Angel Island

As a long-time athlete, of course my fueling, hydration and recovery are important things that I monitor to ensure peak performance during Working Mom Decathlon. Of late, I have been sticking to a high-carbohydrate diet of veggie burgers and fries that I find at the Friday night aid station, washed down with at least one adult beverage. The Birthday Party aid stations are typically great for some refined sugars and other high-energy snacks to power you through the day, and if no adult beverages are available to have with said high-energy snacks, a couple of diet cokes can also do the trick in a pinch. By Sunday, when your energy really starts to flag, I recommend finding the nearest mommy treat aid station and enjoying whatever it is that is going to keep you going strong over the finish line (today it was a large bowl of latte and a chocolate-hazelnut croissant).

This weekend's Working Mom Decathlon went pretty well. I got some sleep, my husband was able to join us for events number 3, 9 and 10, and he and I were also able to spend some quality time together on Saturday night after the kids went to sleep. The Angel Island outing was a total hit with everyone, and it was wonderful to spend time with the support crew of friends and family during events number 3, 5, and 6, despite having to battle traffic. I will be honest though and say that after multiple weekends in a row like this one, I always look forward to the relative quiet of a weekend trip away. I will also say that after completing a Working Mom Decathlon, thank goodness I can collapse at my office desk on Monday AM and finally get a chance to relax :) 

No finisher's medal this weekend, but I did get a nice Sunday brunch, some lovely flowers and beautiful handmade cards for Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day to each one of you and the mother's in your life.

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