Happy New Year Out and About Moms and Dads! I don’t know about you, but I love beginnings. The potential that lies in a fresh start is thrilling. It’s enough to lift a girl right out of a post-holiday season slump! So naturally, I’m a fan of the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. As a relatively new mom of two, my biggie for 2018 centers on prioritizing self care. Getting enough sleep, caring for and respecting my body by eating healthier (and perhaps drinking some water in between cups of coffee), continuing to explore my interest in mindfulness, and maybe even showering on a daily basis (don’t judge…you know you’ve been there).
Notice how I didn’t include the resolution culture of “exercising more” in there, despite the fact that it’s sort of inherent in the whole “wellness” thing? Full disclosure: I got my only detention in high school for skipping gym class. True story. However, there’s a reason so many people resolve to exercise more. Generally, it’s pretty good for you and tends to make you a healthier human being, as much as I hate to admit it. So if self care is the goal, I’d probably better suck it up and try to get moving more. What’s an exercise-loathing mamma who’s short on time and motivation to do?
Enter my dear friend Kim and her genius wellness business, Fit and Balanced Mom.
Now I could wax poetic about how wonderful I think Kim is (truly, this woman has a heart of gold and is one of the most positive, resilient people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting), but I’ll focus primarily on what’s great about her Pilates classes offered at Sacred Rivers Yoga in East Hartford and Imagine Studio in West Hartford.
I stumbled upon Fit and Balanced Mom Pilates classes when I still only had Bug in tow and I was looking for a “Mommy and Me” style fitness class that was actually a workout. At the time, I was a new stay-at-home mom and enjoyed bringing him to things like the Little Bundles class at My Gym in Glastonbury (speaking of which, I need to get back there with Bean…) but I was craving something that was for…well…me.
I started hunting for just such a thing and was honestly having trouble locating something until I found Fit and Balanced Mom. Kim’s Pilates classes are unique in that they provide rigorous exercise for adults while still providing a safe and welcoming space for children. You read that right. These classes are about the grown-ups and the fact that kiddos are there is entirely secondary. Now while the gold standard of the “self care” I highlighted at the top of my post may be to find childcare so that I can truly focus on the task at hand, let’s be real…as anyone reading this blog is aware, it isn’t always possible. So that’s where New Year’s Res part two comes into play: continually working to marry the ideal with reality. And if I’m being truly honest, I’d like to save precious alone time for pursuits I actually enjoy. There, I said it.
The first time I went to one of Kim’s classes it was at Imagine Studio in West Hartford, but more recently I attended a three-class mini-series she did right before the holiday season got into full swing at Sacred Rivers Yoga in East Hartford.
I brought three month old Bean to the first class…
…and then four year old Bug to the next two.
The class at Sacred Rivers is traditionally Monday evenings at 6pm and the class at Imagine Studio meets Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:30am, but you should always check the Fit and Balanced Mom website for the most recent class schedule. I chose the 6pm class because the location was both more convenient for me and it enabled me to leave one child home with dad while I took the other with me.
I thought Bean might fall asleep in the car on the way to class and then snooze through most of it, but he wound up waking up cranky part way through (thus the pacifier and spot on mommy’s yoga mat in the pic above). And if you have an infant in a carseat, you’ll need to carry it instead of popping it onto a stroller because there is a fairly steep flight of stairs leading up to the yoga studio. Imagine Studio is slightly more stroller-friendly (no stairs) but the studio is fairly small so there isn’t a lot of room to navigate; better to just carry the seat in there as well, in my opinion.
Bringing Bug for the second two classes offered its own set of challenges, but the environment is so relaxed that I know if (when) I sign up for classes in the future we can settle into a routine that will work for both of us. I aspired to have him follow along with the exercises, but since the class is really geared toward adults or older kids (there were at least a couple of school-aged kiddos on the nights I went) he didn’t remain engaged. He enjoyed building things with yoga blocks and socializing with the other kids, but in the future I might actually bring some books or a small toy or two to entertain him.
Along those lines, I know the phrase “judgement free zone” is probably trademarked by a certain other fitness brand, but I’d like to see what would happen if I brought my four year old and three and a half month old with me to any old gym and let them play/snack/cry/make various normal kid noises while I attempted to squeeze a workout in. I have a feeling my membership would be rescinded in no time. And while such gyms do occasionally have childcare available, it isn’t cheap.
Fit and Balanced Mom Pilates classes, however, are the epitome of judgement-free because everyone there is in the same booger-encrusted-squealing-child-filled boat. And it’s beautiful. The older kids play together, babies coo and cry as the mood strikes, and the moms follow along with Kim’s steadfast Pilates routine, complete with modifications to meet you where you’re at in your fitness journey. You can even feel comfortable feeding your baby as needed during class without worrying about leaving the room (trust me, you’ll be amongst friends). All the while you can bask in the camaraderie inherent in parenting alongside others. It’s a very special blend of barely controlled chaos that is good for both body and soul.
So what are your New Year’s Resolutions and what steps are you taking to achieve them? Let me know in the comments and warmest wishes for a happy, healthy, and, most importantly, out-and-about New Year 😉
Fit and Balanced Mom Pilates Classes
28 Main Street
East Hartford, CT
28 Main Street, East Hartford, Connecticut
97 South Street, #101
West Hartford, CT
97 South Street, West Hartford, Connecticut
Class schedule (January 2018): Mondays, Jan. 15-29, 6-6:45pm at Sacred Rivers Yoga and Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, now through Feb. 1, 9:30-10:15am at Imagine Studio. Check their website for the most current schedule.
Prices and registration information can be found at www.fitandbalancedmom.com/register.
Stroller Friendly: Not really. Stairs and small spaces, so you’re better off just carrying in your bucket car seat if you have an infant.
Coffee Mug Friendly: Not particularly. But definitely water bottle friendly!
Baby Changing Station: At Sacred Rivers, no, but at Imagine Studio, yes!
Food for Sale: NO
Outside Food Allowed: Snacks for kids are OK (and probably even a good distraction), but make sure they’re peanut-free and relatively easy to clean up; leave the sticky/super crumbly stuff at home.
Cash Required: NO
Age Recommendations: All ages! Moms that are newly postpartum should wait until they are cleared by their doctor for exercise.
Dress Code: Dress comfortably in clothing that you can move and stretch easily in! You WILL work up a sweat 😉 You may also want to bring a yoga mat if you have one, but both Sacred Rivers and Imagine Studio have mats available to borrow if you don’t.
Evening/Weekend Hours: YES
Birthday Party Venue: N/A
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