As a working mom, I’ve been dropping my kid(s) off at their daycare/ school/ preschool for 7 years. During that time I’ve observed all walks of life doing the same as me. The accountant mom, dressed to the nines in her business suit but pairing that suit with white sneakers to avoid scuffs on her heels. The car salesman dad, button shirt and tie, ready to tackle the day. The yoga-clad mother with her tank and work-out pants, anxious to get some sweating in before she has to get to her day of carpools and soccer practice and life as a mom. I’ve smiled at each and every fellow parent without judgement and with sympathetic looks as we deal with tantrums and rough drop offs and children that don’t always comply. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together, right??

My attire as I dropped my children off has always been the classic “elementary school teacher” look. I don’t know how else to describe it… Somewhere between a Target cashier, a homeschooling mother of 9 who is ready for church, and prints such as small apples and stripes.

As a teacher, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to feel like I’m losing my mind 9 months out of the year and be rewarded with a summer filled with trying to cope with being an over-night stay-at-home-mom. That’s right, I get to stay at home with my three children at a time they are thrown off of their regular schedules, out of their normal days of routine & consistency, when the sun stays out until midnight and no one wants to go to sleep even a second before, when vacations and visitors throw our schedules off more than summer itself. Ahhhh, the bliss. Don’t get me wrong – I love my momma hat even more than I love my teaching hat (which, incase you’re wondering, I LOVE!). I think the balance of getting to be a full time working mom AND a few months to test the waters of life at a SAHM is (in some ways) the best of both worlds.

This next year, I’m going to be taking a full year off from my job as an elementary teacher. 365 days to focus on my family. 365 days to devote time and attention to my children. 365 where my kids don’t have to entertain themselves in the evening while I ignore them to prepare and ready myself for my 60 students that I will service the following day. 365 to slow down and enjoy the small moments I’ve been missing. 365 days where I don’t need to compartmentalize my emotions and my feelings as my work/ life needs collide (and often combat) one another.

What better time to try out a gym and focus on my health and wellbeing! Also, did I mention they have FREE CHILDCARE where my three littles can play and exercise and enjoy TIME AWAY FROM MOMMY?? My first time at the gym, I dressed up in my yoga pants and “But first, coffee….” tank. I was dressed the part, but WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO HERE?? I realized I should have been asking the yoga pants mommas I saw at drop off how they spent their time after drop off. What is the acceptable pace on a bike? Do I need to carry around one of those yoga mats to build up my gym cred? How in God’s name do I actually get to HEAR what’s on the large screen tv’s above me without a transistor radio?? My first few few times at the gym, I walked around with the required sweat towel and water bottle. I walked like I was on a mission and had a plan, all the while silently scoping out the area to see what others did and how others acted.

It took me about 4 visits before I ventured over to the illustrious section full of body sculpting machines. All I can say is thank GOD for those diagrams of how actual people are supposed to use the equipment. Confession: My signature move is to sit on a machine and act like I’m changing my Pandora station while silently stalking someone using a different machine. That’s how I learned what to do on the rowing machine…. Thanks to the brunette grandma in red and green for helping me (even though she had no idea she was doing so).

Some days, I drop the kids off and sit in the cafe. I glance at a book, milk a Banana Strawberry Sunrise Smoothie, and silently dream I’m in a small eatery in Italy. Let’s be honest, when I’m sans kids, it’s such a change it feels like HEAVEN. Other times, I ride bikes or lift weights. I’ve even worked myself up to attending a zumba class, albeit in the back far-away corner where no one can see me.

I still consider myself to be a gym-mom-in-training, but my confidence builds with each visit!