Ever wondered what it takes to be that mom – you know, the one who owns the carpool? She’s the mom every kid wants to ride with because she’s always perfectly prepared for every situation.
I’ve wondered too.
I am not that mom. I am the hot mess mom.
While carpool mom wears perfectly coiffed hair and left the house with enough time to grab Starbucks on her way, I’ve got my hair thrown into a messy bun and reheated coffee from this morning in a mismatch travel mug I hand washed because – hey – someone forgot to run the dishwasher last night.
I can’t give advice on owning the gymnastics run. But I can give advice on what not to do; maybe my misfortune will save you from yours.
Don’t forget to dress your kids.
Sounds simple, right? And yet somehow, we pull up to gymnastics and someone is always missing something: leotards, socks, bar shorts, hair ties – you get the picture. Once, we rolled up and realized the baby was missing pants. (How does this even happen?!) To prevent mishaps, we invested in gymnastics slippers and started stashing a leotard and gym shoes in the car. I can’t begin to tell you how many catastrophes we’ve averted since!
Don’t underestimate the will power of a hungry child.
We’ve all said and done things when we’re hangry, right? (Please, it can’t just be me!) And I can say from experience my kids have too. The day my preschooler lay on the floor of the lobby crying for fruit snacks instead of going into gymnastics class, I vowed: never again! Pre-planning snacks and even packing something healthy over the weekend so its ready to grab-and-go during the week has saved us from future meltdowns. (String cheese and grapes, anyone?)
Don’t undervalue your time.
Can I be totally honest? I hate waiting. For anything. Think of the wasted time! This mindset frequently gets me in trouble – I value my time so much I’m often using more than I have and end up late to the next activity. Not cool. So its agonizing to imagine myself sitting in the bleachers counting the hairs on my daughter’s head while her sister learns to cartwheel. Ever had a toddler scream at each person who walks past her? I have!
Now, we use “wait time” for family time. When possible, we align schedules so the kids can attend gymnastics at the same time, but when not, we bring coloring books, snacks, homework, flash cards – you name it! And work on it together. Sometimes, we just chat. Or practice animal sounds. Or find our body parts with “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes.” Whatever is age appropriate for the sibling waiting with me, we do together and cherish the time. And those rare nights I’m flying solo? You can find me with a book in hand … or napping in the car. Don’t judge!
Don’t wing dinner.
Remember the hangry children from above? This applies to dinner too. Never has the thought – “Oh, I’ll just throw something together when I get home after gymnastics” payed off. NEVER. A little prep goes a long way. Two phrases: Crock-Pot and Instant Pot. Ok, we’ll throw in the good old “make ahead and freeze” option as well for the over achievers. Since I Pinterest like it’s a sport, I have no problem finding a good recipe to use for make-ahead dinners. The key is in the pre-planning; knowing what I’ll be making before I grocery shop, and getting it prepped (or in the crock pot) either over the weekend or at the start of the day. It doesn’t always jive with my hot mess vibe, but for those nights, I guess there’s always fast food or PB&J.
At the end of the day, I may not make it out of the house with everything I need or even looking like I slept 8 hours (which I haven’t – for several years – but that’s a different topic), HOWEVER: through trial and error I’ve had some success turning epic fails into moderate wins. Hopefully by avoiding my key errors you can take moderate wins and make them even better!
Have a pro-tip for owning the gymnastics run? I’d love to hear it in the comments below!
About the Author: Breanna has 3 daughters ranging in age from 1-8 years old. When she’s not on Pinterest you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee and generally trying not to suck at motherhood while working full time.