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Build Your Tribe

I have said time and time again that being a mama is the hardest job that I can think of. A few weeks ago, while Neil was out of town, his mother fell and broke her hip in front of my house. I happened to be out back and heard her screaming, but the boys were inside alone- baby screaming, RT standing in the doorway watching it all. In a moment of helplessness I had to tell his mom that I had to leave her there alone, laying on the ground, in the rain, while I ran inside to call 911. My mom was out of town. My closest neighbors were out of town. I literally went running banging on doors for help. I had to mobilize my village, near and far. How would I get through loss, broken hips, sick kids, oil changes, and everything in between without them? What would I do without this support network of mine? 

But lots of mothers have no village. We live in an area where people move a lot, and their families are often far. Neighborhood parties and get togethers are a thing of the past. "Room moms" and school communities are lacking. Paying babysitters, carpoolers, and dog walkers is expensive and feels impossible. So how do we build our villages? How do we take time from our lives which are already so busy, so hectic, so overwhelming, and build these villages up?  Making and keeping friendships as an adult is hard. Thinking about the people who I can truly depend on, most of them have been around since childhood. So how do we develop new friendships? Where do we meet these mamas? At playgrounds, the adults seem to be on their phones scrolling rather than talking to each other. So I'm throwing this challenge out to us all. Come to a TAT meet up. Put the phone away and talk to at least one other mama. Share one thing about you or your kid. Tell them one local place you love or one mom tip you can't live without.  This month we are meeting up at The Pink Roller on December 21st. We would love for you to join us!

The Pump and Dump Show: A Review

The Virginia Beach Funny Bone was packed on Tuesday night with moms who needed a break. A break from feeding babies, changing diapers, hearing whining, and the hundred judgments we all get daily. The Pump and Dump show is a prewritten musical act that embodies the hardships of motherhood, but also reminds mothers to stand together and remind each other that we are awesome. Songs like "Eat Your Fuckin' Food" and "The Lies That We Tell Ourselves" will remain in your head for days, and have you giggling days later when in fact, they are right- you don't get anything done while the baby is asleep. We had a meet up of some blog reading mamas before heading over to the Funny Bone, and when they come back- you should too! We deserve a night off! When is the last time you were out on a school night with your girls?! Clearly we weren't the only ones who needed a laugh because the show was sold out- my first time ever being at the Funny Bone this crowded.
Several segments brought in audience participation which I liked. My favorite segment asked the audience to submit "the most fucked up things their kids have done recently" and in 2018 the group put the best of them together in their book Parentally Incorrect . Paperbacks are available for less than $4.00 on the link above.
The tour travels regularly, and they will be back in Virginia Beach on March 19th. The show lasts an hour and a half, and you'll be home by 10! Check it out when they return! 

She Works Hard for the Mommy V. 10

This week we have a special edition of S.W.H.F.T.M. Although Erin's kids are no longer a toddlers I wanted to be sure to have her on because she works with something that I think is so important for us mamas. Special thanks for Erin for being featured! If you're interested in doing a workshop-invite me! I'm one of those "put myself on the back burner" types.

Hello! I want to start by saying I love the title of this blog- She works hard for the Mommy! It is so creative and I think this lines up exactly with where I am now in my career. My name is Erin Glace and I am a Physical Therapist specializing in Pelvic Health. A bit about my personal life first. I married my high school sweetheart and we moved to Hampton Roads soon after, thinking we would be here for a short time and we are still here 30 years later. We have raised 3 kids ages 24, 22 and 18- 2 girls and a boy in the middle. All of my kids went through the Western Branch Schools, Go Bruins! My baby is now at JMU and we are empty nesters. Everyone asks how I feel about that and honestly it is with a mix of emotions but mostly pride in my kids and enjoying some time with the hubby. Empty nesting is also giving me the opportunity to pursue something I have talked about for many years- Mommy Care PT!
Mommy Care PT is my side hustle. I am teaching workshops for women about pre and postnatal care for themselves. I want women to learn ways to recover their pelvic, abdominal and core strength and control. It is my work passion. Throughout the years, I have worked with many women who had pelvic health issues like prolapse, urinary incontinence, pelvic and back pain, and C-section scar pain. It is interesting that we will rehab an injured knee but somehow expect a woman’s body to just “bounce back”. I know that we have been having babies forever, but we know more now and we can do better. My patients frequently ask me, “Erin, why didn’t anyone ever tell me this before?”. Sadly, I just don’t know. In the medical community, we know that certain pelvic floor issues are strongly associated with childbirth. Women are strong and we can continue to be strong and even stronger with some knowledge! Knowledge is power. Power to choose to be proactive in your own health care. I believe the subject of pelvic health is a bit taboo and as a society we are still somewhat embarrassed to discuss these important issues.
A workshop with Mommy Care PT includes information about how the changes our bodies go through during pregnancy, anatomy of the belly and pelvic floor, simple ways to strengthen the pelvic floor and abdomen before and after pregnancy, and ways to protect your pelvic floor muscles. These important muscles are critical to core strength, bladder and bowel control and sexual function and they can also contribute to pain in the pelvis, abdomen and low back. These are important muscles in my book. And a side note, Kegels  are important but these exercises are not the only thing and some women should not do Kegels!
I fully recognize the difficulty of being a mom balancing work, kids and family. Even with my “kids- now adults” away at school, it can still be a balancing act. Moms have a tendency to back burner our own health care and my hope is that as the conversation grows about maternal health, women will be empowered to take steps to prioritize their wellness. If my girls have babies in the future, I would love for proactive pelvic health care to be the norm.

I am partnering with some local businesses to provide these workshops but will also do them privately for groups of as few as 2 women. If you are interested in a workshop, please email me at erin@mommycarept.com and follow my Facebook and Instagram accounts for updates and information – Mommy Care PT.

The Little Gym: VB

We were lucky enough to be invited to a birthday party at The Little Gym Virginia Beach last weekend. I'll be very honest- RT is very, very shy at first. He didn't want to go in with all of the other kids until we sat inside the room with him. During the classes, this is allowed but kids are encouraged to go in alone, but because it was a birthday party, the adults were able to go in! Once we got him out there, he had a blast and didn't want to leave.
The birthday party was a mix of free play and planned activities. The coordinators did a great job of switching between the two about every two minutes to keep the kids occupied. Activities included a game with a ball, parachute play, and bouncing on an inflatable.  In between each activity kids could free play in the gym while the next activity was being set up. That tells me that they really understand the attention span of a toddler! 
The bathroom really impressed me too. Inside they not only had a changing table and a stool, but also bins with every size diapers for those who forgot, and this light switch helper for kids who can't reach. Outside of the gym is a small playroom with puzzles and a few small toys for little kids also. 
The Little Gym has two locations, one in Virginia Beach and one in Chesapeake and offers classes from 4 months to 12 years. They also offer parent night outs and both locations on Saturdays, alternating between the two locations. 

Tidewater Holiday Experience Guide

I know, I know. Every kid loves getting gifts on the holidays, and moms dream of the moment when their kid sees a mountain of wrapped gifts. This mama is tired though. Tired of cleaning up toys. Tired of stepping on toys. Tired of throwing toys away. For the last two years we have been asking for gift cards and experiences over toys and yet somehow my boys are not deprived.

We have been lucky enough to have been gifted a zoo membership from my mom and aunt who get together for their birthdays. That membership alone has given us the ability to participate in all that they offer plus their swaps. My cousin gave us a Children's Museum membership and we have used the reciprocity program in so many places to get in for free. Memberships are the way to go if you can swing it or if you can get a group to go in on them together.

Here's my list of top experiences for our area:

Here is a more extensive, more general Hampton Roads list for all toddlers, not so focused on our personal likes and here is a birthday list with experience ideas too. Check these places on Black Friday for deals!