Detail image for Dr. Ashley Anderson Ex in the City story.

Photo by: Terrence Humphrey

Kids’ summer athletic programs can be all-consuming unless, like track mom Dr. Ashley Anderson, you call a timeout to reorganize and score some me time. 

Written by Ashley Anderson

Summer has arrived and while the children are celebrating a break from their normal school routine, most moms I know are flustered, exhausted and counting down the days to August! In addition to “no school,” summer time also means an uptick in activities and sports. Typically, an uptick in kid activity means a downtick in self-care for mom. If your schedule has been hijacked by your little ones, if you’re wearing the hat of “Uber-mom,” and you find yourself collapsing at night with nothing left in your tank for you, keep reading! Whether you’re a single mom or a mom with a busy or traveling partner, this piece is for you.

One day in March, I posted a video on social media of my eldest son, Atlas, running in the cul-de-sac. He got down in a 4-point stance, taught to him by none other than Sonic the Hedgehog, and took off. He sprinted around the circle with ease and the caption read, “He says he wants to run track.” I thought nothing more of it; after all, he’s only 5! Soon after the post, a friend of mine, Cydni, inboxed me saying that Atlas should join their track club. She shared that they started training at 5 years old and her son was loving his experience. The next day, I was on the phone with Coach Hobbs and the next week we were attending training sessions to see if he liked training as much as he liked to just run and race his buddies. Well, he loved it. We joined Built 4 This Track Club and Academy and haven’t looked back. We train four evenings per week, have meets several weekends per month and I’m now a full-blown “track mom.”

It’s a beautiful thing to see your child find “their thing,” no matter how old or young they are. But when they engage in activities, you engage in activities and, for me, it completely took over the schedule. Practice at 6:30 p.m. meant a different dinner and evening schedule. We once had a routine, 8:30 bedtime, now we were getting home at 8:30 and life is just different and much busier. I love watching Atlas in his element and competition is one of my top 10 strengths, so I have created a chart to track his race times; implemented the best natural body care, anti-inflammation regimen to support his little body; started videoing every practice…. We are all in! But for a while, I was very overwhelmed.

Not because of what was required of Atlas; he was loving every moment. But I was overwhelmed by what this commitment meant for me. With this new schedule, I was now unable to exercise when I normally did, my eating schedule was off, I found myself scrambling at the end of the evening which got me in bed later. I was lathering on the calming oils to keep my irritability in check and I was struggling. Mentally exhausted and physically exhausted, I was starting to see why so many moms talked about not having time to care for themselves. I decided that I was absolutely not signing up for another 15 years of feeling like this… My schedule had to be totally rethought.

Instead of allowing myself to continue to be at the mercy of this new schedule, I took control of it. I sat down with a calendar and mapped out my work schedule, the track schedule, my other obligations and, of what was left, prioritized time for me to exercise, get massages, get back to prepping meals or shopping reasonably to have healthier options around the house, continue therapy, and get to bed at a decent hour so that I could get consistent with my morning meditation/prayer/reading routine. I committed to making lists for my businesses before bed, so I could stay on task the next day and got consistently back on my supplement and essential oil regimen. I dropped my gym membership because I had no time to go and bought a treadmill on Facebook marketplace. I was back in the saddle, and I feel so much better. I feel like myself again and can enjoy this season of life without any resentment or feeling that I’m sacrificing my health and well-being for Atlas to follow his dreams.

I’m sharing this because I’ve heard for years how hard it is to make time for you when you’re super-busy and have crazy-active kids. I finally experienced it myself and while it is very hard, there is hope. Don’t succumb to the whirlwind. Spend some time laying out your week, and creating a routine that works for your family and for you. Start taking the reins of your schedule, before that schedule unravels you.