Without strollers, there would be no Stroller Strides. Without kids, we’d have no need for strollers (although I did see an elderly woman using one to carry her purse, snacks, and water bottle during her walk around Reeds Lake---not a bad idea at all!). But let’s be honest. Sometimes the kids just aren’t feeling the whole “being strapped into the stroller” deal. Another moment of honesty: I didn’t actually fully get this until my second child was born. My oldest is a rule-follower to his core and for the most part, being in a stroller for class hasn’t been too much of an issue for him. I didn’t realize what a luxury this was until Aaron came along. Aaron is my *ahem* spirited one. He’s hilarious and loving and mischievous and has a million other things he would rather be doing than be forced to stay in one place for an hour. When I returned back to class after his birth, it was quite the adjustment. I’m not going to lie, it was certainly stressful at times but when I looked at the alternative (not go to class so that I don’t have to put him in the stroller), dealing with a cranky baby seemed like the best alternative. I know, I know. That may seem hard for some of you to believe but I truly stand behind that statement because I know how life changing Stroller Strides has been for me. Without the support and community that this group has given me and my boys, I would be a different mom and a different person.
So why tell you all that? What’s the point? The point is Stroller Strides is worth your time and you are worth the time that you commit to Stroller Strides. We are setting a positive, healthy example for our children by participating in these workouts. We are worth taking an hour of our day to focus on our well-being. And the amazing thing about Stroller Strides is that we can do this easily without having to find a babysitter for our children or wait until they are asleep or whatever other reason might have stopped us before. “But, Allison, my child HATES being in the stroller for that long. How is that enjoyable for me??” Good point. It really is a good point. My response is that I truly get that it can be stressful and for you personally, it might be pushing you beyond your breaking point. But something I have learned is the importance of remembering MY needs in addition to taking care of the needs of my family. An hour in a stroller for a few days each week is a tiny blip on our children’s radar.
How do we keep some sanity and focus during class while also keeping our children (relatively) happy? Here are some ways I have kept, or at the very least attempted to keep, my boys content, plus a few other ways I have noticed working for other moms:
1. SNACKS. Enough said. Snacks that take a long time to eat are even better.
2. Toys that are left in our van and only used during class
3. Allowing my oldest son to pick out toys for my youngest to play with during class (decreases fights over who gets to play with what toy)
4. Parking our stroller next to a friend
5. Lots and lots of tickles
6. Trading toys with a friend
7. iPad or iPhone (or some device that can play shows) for games/shows
8. Turning the stroller away from you so your child(ren) aren’t being reminded that you are roaming around freely and they are not :-)
Arriving early for class can also be helpful to allow kids to run off a little energy before climbing in the stroller for class. My oldest son (he’s four) also enjoys using my extra exercise band during class to mimic the workouts we are doing. I know not all kids can be trusted with the bands so certainly use your best judgement with that one.
One of the many wonderful things about working out with a group like Stroller Strides is that everyone has been where you are. Crying baby or disgruntled toddler? Check. We get it. Throwing toys? Yep. Get that, too. Wanting a great workout while connecting with other moms and providing a fun environment for our kids? YES. That’s why we are here. I am proud of all of you who put on your workout gear, load the kids (and snacks and diapers and toys and strollers) in the car, and make your health, your well being, your need for community, YOU a priority. YOU are worthy of an hour workout each day and, no matter how cranky your children may be at times, they are learning from you how important self care and self love is.
See you at Stroller Strides tomorrow! :-)