Mocha Manual Mom Returns to Routine for Back to School

The week of August 10 is Healthy Back to School Week at

kimberly seals allersKimberly Seals Allers is the author of The Mocha Manual series of books, editor in chief of Mocha Manual, the fastest growing online destination for Black moms and a noted expert on issues related to mothers of color. Her first book, The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and sparked her popular maternity tee shirt line. The series also includes The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion—How to Find and Grow Your “Side Hustle” in any Economy and The Mocha Manual to Military Life—A Savvy Guide for Girlfriends, Wives and Female Service members. An award winning journalist, Kimberly is a former writer at Fortune and senior editor at Essence. A divorcing mom of two, Kimberly lives in Long Island with her children.

Summer is all about running free and breaking rules. Anytime is playtime. Bye bye bedtimes. Lazy lounging days rule. And ice cream runs replace treadmill runs. It’s easy to lose your routine. That’s not always a bad thing.

For example, summertime turned my morning run on the treadmill into a group activity and a spectator sport. For weeks, my two beautiful children stood there watching me, asking every 30 seconds, “is it thirty minutes yet?”. This, of course, is in between the arguments over who gets on the treadmill next and their figuring out how to sit on the itty bitty space on the side of the treadmill. This is no way to workout, so I surrendered to summer and gave all of my morning back to my kids. We had a morning dance around instead.

And though I usually run a very tight ship about bedtimes, television and snacks, I surrendered to summer and allowed a few late nights, an extra hour of television (if there was an extra hour of reading, too!) and a few more trips to Baskin Robbins (which I now pinch!).

alarm clockBut all of that is about to come to an end. Back to school means the reinstatement of my routine and theirs. My morning 30-minute run, which happens right after the school bus picks up the little people, will be back in effect. It means I’m nudged backed into healthy snack-dom for the kids since the school now has very stringent snack requirements. Nobody wants to be the mom sending in the “bad” snacks. It means we’ll be back on routine sleep habits and routine dinner habits.

But there’s a sadness to back to school. As moms, we have to always keep things going on a schedule. Breakfast is on a schedule. Dinner is on a schedule. Homework is on a schedule. Sometimes our kids are overscheduled. And while that is often a good and a very necessary aspect of our lives, it is also equally empowering and exhilarating to kiss routine goodbye. Even if just for six weeks or less. It is the breaks that make the routines bearable and dare I say, even enjoyable. As a matter of fact, I’m freakishly looking forward to the treadmill!

And so as I get back to my family’s daily grind and my personal routine, it is with keen awareness that it’s the sweet breaks and surrenders that make us welcome back the routine of our daily lives. See you soon Summer and thanks!

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