Before Hope arrived, I had a wild fantasy flourishing in my mind of how life as a stay-at-home mom would go. I was fully aware that I wouldn’t be sleeping much at the beginning, but my expectations of how that would play out were so obviously unrealistic.
Since having Hope, I’ve learned that I can’t get everything done in a day that I’d like to, so it’s important to find ways to multitask. Hope was incredibly resistant to being in a carrier and would only take daytime naps in someone’s (anyone’s) arms, leaving me to sit on the couch, snack in front of the TV, and watch the time pass without getting much done.
When winter turned to spring and it was nice enough to take my new(-ish) baby out for walks, I was desperate to teach her that leaving the house meant more than getting in the car for an hourlong car ride to get poked and prodded by a doctor. I thought about Mommy and Me Yoga, which was being taught in the building directly across the street from our apartment, but I got incredibly stressed over the idea of trying to load Hope into her carrier and showing up to this “Zen space” with a miserable baby.
Then a friend of mine from the next town over, whose son is just 2 months younger than Hope, asked if I’d be interested in Stroller Power Fitness (SPF). I clicked through to the website and saw pictures of mamas with their babes, working out in an atmosphere where children aren’t a nuisance but a part of the class (it’s hard to explain “Stroller Power Fitness” without a stroller!), and I was sold. I decided to go all-in and bought an unlimited pass.
By taking just this one class, I was able to do so much for Hope (going for a stroll, getting fresh air, socializing), myself (leaving the apartment, getting away from the incessant construction noise in our neighborhood, having the opportunity to talk with other adults face-to-face), and us together (what’s more fun than kissy push-ups??!). Any time Hope got fussy and cried to come out of her stroller, I could either grab her and modify whatever exercise we were doing, or Sherri, who runs the class, would carry her and cheer her up so that I could focus on my form.
I was pretty open with Sherri from the beginning about Hope’s surgery and her low muscle tone. The idea of Hope absorbing a frustrated look from someone who barely knows her breaks my heart, so to have Sherri enthusiastic over getting to know my precious baby girl and handling her safely and lovingly motivated me to attend as many classes as possible.
Hope’s favorite part of class was the last 10 minutes, when stroller time was over and she got to lie on a blanket on the grass, either at Pier A in Hoboken or Hamilton Park in Jersey City, to watch mommy do core work and to act as a human weight.
Two months after joining, we had to say goodbye to Sherri and the SPF gang as our family packed up to move to the suburbs. Having the opportunity to do something for myself that benefited my baby girl at the same time was an absolutely ideal way to spend our last weeks in Jersey City.