Recently I posted on Instagram about getting back into running with our recently renewed YMCA membership. Several people called me a super mom for finding time to exercise on top of homeschooling and everything else. I’m totally not a super mom and that early morning visit threw off our whole day making school time more challenging. Not a good thing, as it turns out! I do think a Y membership is a smart thing for homeschool families to have, though, because it supports the whole family, especially MOM. Today I have 3 reasons why joining the local Y is something every homeschool family should consider.
#1 Daily Childcare Included
Did you know with a YMCA membership, you can use their Child Watch for 2 hours each day! For a homeschool mom who finds it hard to get time to herself, this alone is a sanity saver! The catch is you must stay on the Y property. But that doesn’t mean you have to always work out: each child receives 2 hours a day of child care, so you can mix that up how ever you like. When I had 3 under 6, I would leave the baby in child watch for 2 hours straight and then take each of the other 2 out for an hour for one-on-one time in the pool. When my oldest was in Kindergarten she played soccer at the Y and we would let both the boys play in child watch during her games, so both of us parents could cheer her on without distractions.
Last week when we went at the end of a busy day, I sat in the lobby with my headphones and read a book while the kids did their activities. That 45 minute silent break gave me the recharge to get through the evening routines when we got home.
#2 Mom gets a break!
Homeschooling is a full time job, with the planning and researching curriculum, as well as teaching and driving to activities: not to mention the regular family tasks like laundry and cleaning the house. Its easy to lose our own interests and passions as a homeschooling mom when we are consumed by the constant needs and demands of our family. Putting the kids on the bus looks tempting sometimes just to have a break from the constant company.
“Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!” -Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
With 3 intense kids who have differing needs at any given moment, having time to “get happy,” as Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde, makes a huge difference. It helps me feel ready to take on the world and know that I am doing something to take care of myself. The first time we joined the Y i started training for my first 5K race. I used a Couch to 5K training app and completed 3 races that year. It was quite a high to know I succeeded in something i thought was impossible for me!
When you can have 2 hours of childcare everyday, you have some space to actually think about doing something for yourself, that doesn’t involve the rest of the family. I love that the YMCA is built on principles of the whole person. There is space for physical activities but also space to read a book or even relax or reflect in a Chapel space. When I had a direct sales business I would use the time to make business calls. It was my uninterrupted time to think about me!
#3 Family Culture of Active Living
The YMCA prioritizes families. They offer programs for everyone in the family so it can become part of the family culture to be active. I get to run and work out. In addition we have seen classes for the kids as well to be active. At one Y we attended, there were PE classes for homeschoolers, and another had ‘Kid Sweat” classes to get all the kids moving after school. Our sensory kids need extra activities to keep them calm and focused. Having a place they can go to use the excess energy is a win in my book! Dad can join the sports teams, mom can take classes, and the kids get to run and play too!
Something for everyone
We have joined the YMCA 3 different times in different parts of the US. Each time we come back for the same reasons: opportunities and acceptance for our kids, space to get a break and a place for us to be active as a family. We can teach our kids to be active. They internalize it as a lifestyle for themselves when they see us make it a priority as a family.
How do you help your family stay active and healthy?