Up until quite recently, my morning mommy routine was a bit of a nightmare, one that left me feeling stressed out before the day had chance to begin. It began with the alarm going off, and me banging the button in order to snooze for five (or ten) minutes. Then there would be the frantic rush around the house, looking for uniforms, doing breakfast and trying to get Joe’s hair into an acceptable state, all before leaving for school. We live almost 2 miles from our school, so the car is a must, but as I don’t drive my father-in-law comes to take us in the mornings. We always struggled to park, trying to get as close as possible to the school, and then there was that final, mad rush to get in before the second bell, when the doors are firmly shut. I would then stagger home for much need Caffeine and biscuits. All the above points made me very interested when Tots 100 asked if I was interested in taking part in a study with Kia as part of Walk to School Month. Walk to School Month is all about promoting the benefits of walking to school – from improved health, the easing of road traffic, especially in the area’s around schools, and the benefits for the environment. The Kia scheme coincides with International Walk to School Month, in which each year primary school pupils from across the UK join forces with children in more than 40 countries worldwide to celebrate the benefits of walking to school. Kia Motors are currently sponsoring the Walking Bus project. (You can find more by clicking here.) Kia were interested in finding out about all the stresses of the morning walk to school routine, and so sent out a Polar heart monitor to wear during the morning routine.
I wore the heart monitor for a week to check out the results, and, after a few days I noticed that my heart raced at almost the same times every morning. The first was before I left the house, trying to get Joe to brush his teeth and have a wash (he’s a boy, he thinks being smelly is totally acceptable.) But the others occurred after leaving the house. Getting stuck in traffic on the road the school lies on was a particular stressful moment, as was then trying to find a close parking space (because we were in danger of being late), and then, the final rush to get to school on time, all these things were clear stress points that I could measure on that special watch on my wrist.
So, what to do? Clearly the stress is dangerous, particularly for someone who already suffers from High Blood pressure. I decided the school drive needed to be addressed, the parking and that final rush somehow needed to be tackled. I decided that setting out earlier, parking further away and then actually enjoying the walk, rather than having to rush, may all be beneficial, and even fun. We live in a semi rural area, so there are lots of things to look out for on the way, from different plants and trees, to horses, and even a farm that has Alpacas. We used the walk to chat, and to enjoy the lovely Autumn mornings that have been very kind to us so far. Joe loves the horses that live in one of the fields that are on our walking route, and so we have taken a little time to stroke them and say hello when they are close to the fence. Walking to school does not have to be a chore, or dull, it can be refreshing and fun!
*This post is in partnership with Tots 100 and Kia promoting Walk to School month this October.