This is the number one reason moms of toddlers won't try a class, even though our classes are filled with toddlers. And I get it! There was a period of about 6 months where my daughter didn't want to stay in the stroller either. She fussed, she whined. She took off her seat belt and would run around, so I would have to teach and try to catch her at the same time. It was frustrating and exhausting, but it didn't last. If there is one thing I've learned while raising my children, it's that I can be infinitely more patient than them and I will always win in the end. It's because I am their mom and eventually they will have to follow my rules. So to all the moms of toddlers struggling with the idea of coming to a Stroller Strides class, I'd love to share a little mommy-to-mommy advice.
1. Are you sure? Our classes are entertaining. There are jumping, singing mamas. We have puppets, bubbles, new toys and lots of kids. You might be surprised… and your first class is free so you have nothing to lose!
2. You don’t have to feel guilty about keeping your child in the stroller. Let go of that guilt. It’s OK to take time for yourself. There are 23 more hours in every day that you are probably devoting to the love and care of your child. Moms are allowed an hour to love and care for themselves too.
3. You don’t have to give into whining. Think about it: we don’t give in every time a toddler whines about TV, or every time they want toys at the store, so why give in now? Is it possible that you feel guilty because this time it’s for YOU? There is a definite difference between a whining cry and a distressed cry. If you know the difference, you can prepare the appropriate response. My favorite response to my daughter was: if you can be patient during this time, there is a party at the end of class for all the kids! And yes, it’s ALWAYS a party for the kids at the end of class!
4. It’s OK to make exceptions to your usual parenting rules so you can take care of your own wellbeing. Have you ever seen parents at dinner and their kid is on the iPad? Don’t judge! They probably don’t use the iPad with dinners at home. It's possible that they can’t afford a babysitter and just want to have one nice meal out. Guess what? Stroller Strides is the same thing. Mama just wants to get in her workout. You can use keep the other 23 hours free from electronics. I used to start every workout with snacks and toys and give over the iPad for the last 20 minutes. Best of both worlds, right?
5. Use class as an opportunity to teach patience. They won’t get it at first, but this is a lesson that takes years of consistent parenting and messaging for them to understand and respect. They will need to learn to be patient and not interrupt adult conversations. They will need to learn to be patient and not interrupt important phone calls. They will need to learn to be patient and wait their turn in preschool. Why not start teaching that lesson now?
6. It’s OK if they fuss. It’s Stroller Strides. It happens and no one will judge you if you choose to tend to them right away or ignore the fussing for a few minutes. That’s your parenting style and you are doing GREAT!
7. It takes time. They don’t always get the patience thing right away. Sometimes they are patient and then have a season where they aren’t having it! That’s when mama has to be patient too. Your Stroller sisters get it. We will cheer you on and encourage you to stay strong. You won’t win every battle, but you will win the war!
8. Sometimes it just doesn’t work for you and your child. and that’s ok. We have Body Back & Run Club for you! You can come to these classes, get an incredible workout with a supportive mommy community and have some time for yourself.
Most importantly, make that time for yourself. You need it. You deserve it. You have to lead by example and show your family that being healthy, fit and strong are important. Your family is counting on you!