We know it's important for Moms to take care of themselves. Many times self care looks like taking an exercise class...fantastic! Exercising is a great way to improve your mood, get better sleep and take care of your body. It's great for Moms to slip out of the house, go to the gym, take a class, and enjoy time away. But many times it doesn't look like that. You may find you want to take your baby with you, or maybe you don't have any other choice. I hear Moms all over Boston asking about fitness classes where they can include their baby, which results in people rattling off a few places as it all goes in one ear and out the other (mom-brain). So, I've put together a list of my favorite Mommy and Me fitness classes in the Boston area. Check it out and let me know if there's a great class I missed!
Mommy and Me Fitness Classes in Boston:
1. Mommy and Me Yoga w/ me - Hill House (Mondays @ 1:30pm)
Strengthening, Softening and bonding with your body and baby during a grounded yoga class. Playful connection between mom and baby is encouraged while simultaneously nourishing your own self.
2. Babies on Board - Xtend Barre (Monday and Wednesday @ 11am)
Designed to give new moms a dynamic workout. Bring grip socks, blanket and baby carrier.
3. Mommy and Me Yoga- Healthworks (times vary by location)
Muscle conditioning class to help build endurance, cardio may be added. Non- Crawling infants only. They also have childcare at some locations.
4. Mommy and Me Burn - Burn Fitness (call for schedule)
This class is a balance of strength, cardio and restorative exercises for moms postnatal body. Come with or without your baby. Bring car seat, stroller or bassinet. Non-crawling infants only.
5. Flywheel/Flybarre - On site sitters (Tuesday and Thursday 10:30am)
Sensible Sitters watches your baby while you take a spin or barre class. Babies should be in a stroller, as they will hang in the Pru. Cost of childcare is free!
6. Btone in North End - (Wednesday and Friday @ 9:30a)
Childcare is provided for $5 a session. This is pilates done in a circuit training sequencing. Reformer machines are used.
7. One OM at a Time - Online Yoga/Meditation (anytime you want!)
Weekly yoga and meditation classes. You can join live every Sunday morning (yoga) or Wednesday evening (Meditation). You also have access to every video and can access them for a practice at any time or place. $10 a month.
8. Mommy and Me Yoga - Blissful Monkey (Wednesday 9:45am)
This is a gentle class designed to help new moms regain muscle tone, abdominal strength and flexibility while cultivating a loving connection to self and baby. Bring a receiving blanket and any toys your baby may want. This class is taught by Jenny Robberson - One of my Move Baby Move Moms! Yay Jenny!
Image: Breena Rice Hope (@breenanana_)
I work with Mothers almost every day of the week, spending hours with new and seasoned Moms and theres a theme that spreads throughout the journey of Motherhood and that is, "How do you do everything that needs to get done in day?". This week in my Moms group we talked about our days and all the responsibilities that come with it. And how, during this busy season of life, can we make time for self care. Why is it that Moms feel so guilty taking time for themselves? and How do you make time for yourself when theres so much to be done? You know when you fly on an airplane and you hear the safety instructions before take off? "In case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping others." This gem is given to us every time we fly. A little gift, reminding us to take care of ourselves first. Yet, its hard for all of us, not just moms, to live that reality. . There is lots of juggling happening and feelings of being overwhelmed. Many Moms I work with are balancing life with a baby (or multiple), responsibilities of the home, some are going back to work. It's a lot, I call it the Mom Circus. I'm not saying I have the answers; your life, schedule and self care will look completely different than mine. What I do have are some suggestions to change your perspective, to open up your days, to create a feeling of empowerment, that maybe starts you on a path of discovering how to manage your day while making sure you carve out time for yourself.
First up is a quick change of perspective:
Every day, we each get 1,440 minutes, and every week, we each get 168 hours." -The Little Book of Lykke
Take a moment and think of all the things you still need to accomplish for today, "I have to walk the dog", "I have to do the laundry"...etc. It's probably a big list! You may even feel like a slave to your to-do list. But in the quote above there is a magic word we can use. A word that can help us shift our perspective. That word is, "get". Think of your same list but now use the word get. "I get to walk the dog", "I get to do the laundry". This is the power of positive thinking! Getting to do these tasks turns our time into a privilege that is interwoven with gratitude. Does it change your perspective? Can you give yourself the gift of getting?
Next is, creating a Daily Rhythm:
Everything in life has a rhythm. There are rhythms that have been with us since conception, since birth. The steady beat of our heart. The inhale and exhale of our breath. The arrival and completion of our monthly cycle. The restful pattern of sleep. There are also rhythms in nature. The rise and set of the sun. The changing of the seasons. The cycles of the moon. The seasons of Motherhood.
Our bodies crave rhythm. Children crave rhythm. Creating a rhythm for your day is a wonderful way to establish good habits that help us feel empowered as we move through our day, instead of being bound to it.
A rhythm is really just a starting point. It can be something you visit when life starts to feel too frenzied and rushed, or it can be something you flow through every single day. It shouldn't ever feel like a burden though, just a gentle friend, giving you a nudge of encouragement when you need it most. Once it becomes a habit it can support you on even the most challenging days.
Here are some steps towards creating a rhythm for yourself and family:
1. Segment your day into 3 sections: morning, afternoon, evening. Within each of those segments establish your must do's. Things like eat, shower, work, self care, etc. These are your non-negtionables.
2. Know your and your family's needs: This is probably the most important step.
3. Start to lay it out: What is your day going to look like? Find a starting and ending time. Give yourself large chunks of time to accomplish what you want to do. If things get too close together, it starts to feels strict. It shouldn't make you feel hurried or rushed but actually slow you down, allowing you to find freedom and movement throughout your day.
4. Check for balance: If you notice theres lots give, give, give or go, go, go you'll want to add in some time for rest and rejuvenation, however that looks for you. When it comes to newborns we talk about their need for eat, activity, sleep. You can basically think about this too, but for adults.
A) A time to nourish your body (eat)
B) A time to create and move (activity)
C) A time to slow down and rejuvenate (sleep)
5. Share it: It's important to involve other people in your household. Talk to your partner, involve older children. They may have valuable ideas to offer and are a part of the rhythm of your household.
For me, every day has a different rhythm and I do a fairly good job at letting a rhythm pulse through my days. It doesn't happen every day, some days my rhythm doesn't flow at all, and thats okay. I found it best to create a rhythm for each day because my teaching schedule changes and I find that creating something like this, allows me to reach achievable goals, find balance, manage my time and create healthy habits. Here is an example of my daily rhythm...
6:30am - Alarm. Coffee. Read. No screens. Dog Duty
I like to start my days quietly and slowly. I try not to use screens right away, instead I read or talk with my husband. Around 7:30, I take my dog out for a walk/exercise. During this time I usually listen to a podcast or call my parents/friends.
8:30am - Breakfast. Clean up. Get Ready
Once we get back I'll start making breakfast, after a quick clean up I'll get showered up and ready for my day.
9:45am- Teach Class
This morning I teach 3 classes back to back starting at 10:30am. I leave around 9:45 so I arrive 15 minutes before my classes begin.
1:45pm - Lunch. Commute to next class
Sometimes I'll bring a lunch with me or I grab something on my way to my next class.
2:30pm - Last Class
3:45pm - Errands
I can walk home from my last class so on my way back I stop and run any errands I need to do, usually it's picking up groceries.
4:45pm - Rest. Relax. Restore
Once I get back its time to rest. What this looks like varies..sometimes it's a short nap, sometimes it's watching a little tv, sometimes it's reading. I listen to my body and give it what it needs.
5:45pm- Dog Duty. Dishes or Dinner
My husband and I usually do one or the other. Someone takes the dog out while the other person starts preparing dinner. Usually the person who takes the dog out also does dishes after the meal.
7:45pm - Emails. Create.
This is when I try to do some e-mails, prepare for the next days classes. I think of it as my office hours for the day.
8:30pm - Husband and Wife time. Personal Care. TV time.
If my husband goes back to the office I tend to turn this into self care time. Meaning I'll do a face mask, paint my nails; something that makes me feel good. I also watch TV. If he is around then we usually do something together, play a card game, watch a movie, go play darts or go out for a night cap.
10pm - Bedtime Routine. Sleep
I try to avoid screen 30 minutes before bed. It doesn't always happen, its still very much a goal I am working towards. I would like to incorporate reading or meditation before bed.
I find when I follow a rhythm I am much happier, at ease and feel in charge. My hope is that you are able to create something like this for yourself, where you are running your day and not letting the day run you. When we don't have a plan, or a goal, things can be overwhelming. If you don't make time for yourself you'll never make it happen. I encourage you to try it out, make a rhythm, find your flow. A daily rhythm should invite an intentional balance of work, play and rest. These are anchors that connect and support us as individuals and as a family.
Photo Source: Stocksy
Image source: Essential Montessori on Etsy
There are so many toys on the shelves these days its overwhelming. There are toys that light up, ones that make noise, some require batteries and some entice children with their music capabilities. As a parent you buy these new, exciting toys only to find your baby playing with a water bottle, or banging on kitchen pots and pans. How come these toys don't hold your child's attention like you hoped it would? The answer is quite simple. Children are creative problem solvers. They're scientists, discoverers, they're active. When your child, or baby, plays with simple toys they are in control of the toy and not the other way around. They are able to grow their imagination and learn about their world, while also fine tuning cognitive and fine motor skills.
Roberta Golinkoff, head of the Infant Language Project at the University of Delaware says, “Electronic educational toy companies boast brain development and that they are going to give your child a head start. But developmental psychologists know that it doesn’t really work this way. The toy manufacturers are playing on parents’ fears that our children will be left behind in this global marketplace...kids are not like empty vessels to be filled. If they play with toys that allow them to be explorers, they are more likely to learn important lessons about how to master their world.”
A lot of toys direct children to talk into them, press a button, or pull a lever. But children like to discover things on their own. So what are some things to think about when looking at toys?
There is also a point to be made about the waste that is produced from all these fancy, flashy toys. Buying fewer toys, means we are creating less waste - less packaging, which is better for the environment. We are bringing less chemical laced plastic into our lives, which is better for our bodies. We are acquiring less things that fill our homes - less dust, less surfaces for germs to grow, which is better for our health. We spend less money, which is better for our wallets. Yes, we can reuse lots of materials that become imaginative toys but sometimes, its just easier to buy something. In that case I always recommend high quality toys that are eco-friendly, kid-friendly, easy to clean and ones that will promote play for a wide range of ages. I also recommend to my families to not have every single toy out. I come from a Montessori background and the ideas around toys, or as they call it, learning materials, is that only a few items are in the environment at a time. After a certain amount of time, weeks or months, you simply exchange the 5-6 toys for new ones. This way your child isn't bombarded with too many options and it keeps you from needing to buy, or make, new things. Each time a swap happens they get to play with a toy they may have forgotten about, or discover a new way to play with an old toy. Living in a city and finding space for all of that can be an issue. A great option would be doing a toy swap with other families. Find a group of Moms, big or small, and rotate toys between yourselves!
Here are some ideas for homemade recycled toys...
Toilet/paper towel rolls- megaphone, telescope, a chute for smaller items like cotton balls, Fill with dried beans and tape ends shut for music makers.
Empty egg carton- Place a cheerio in each egg slot and allow children to use pincer grasp to get it out. Can be used as counting practice for older children.
Empty food/water containers- cleaned out bottles can be a big source of entertainment, also great in the tub! Children love to put things in and out. Can also be filled with dried rice or pasta.
Cardboard Boxes- to draw in, climb inside or push around. It's pretty limitless.
Empty Tissue Boxes- different things (smaller toys, cotton balls, tissue paper) can be placed inside and baby can enjoy pulling things out and putting things back in over and over again.
For store bought toys...
Sensory Stacking Hoops
Pound and Tap Xylophone
Wooden Bell Chimes
12 piece rainbow stacker
Infant Montessori Bag
Toddler Chair and Slide
Ansley has been teaching Infant Movement classes since 2013, after studying Developmental Movement with Ellynne Skove. Since completing her training Ansley has taught all over the New York, New Jersey, Boston and now Florida. Ansley is certified in Level 1 Reiki and has completed her 200hr YT. She is passionate about empowering, nurturing and providing care to all families as they encounter the demands and joys of parenthood. Through her work she is able to soulfully fulfil her greatest ambition; to care for others.