Welcome to the Meet a Mama Monday series! On periodic Mondays we’ll introduce you to a mama from our village.
Hi! I’m Valerie, mom to a nearly 4 year old boy and nearly 2 year old girl, wife to Jason and dog mom to Tucker. I’m the new owner of FIT4MOM Downingtown!
I’ve been with FIT4MOM for nearly 4 years. I had my son and became a mom in February 2016. I intended to go back to work in Business Intelligence at George Mason University in Virginia after maternity leave but instead made the choice to become a stay-at-home-mom. A friend of mine saw a Facebook ad for this thing called Stroller Strides. We both needed to get out of the house with our new babies (born on the same day!) and decided to give it a try! We had no idea what it would be like. I assumed it would be an hour of walking and talking with other moms and told myself that if it ended up not being for me then at least I got an outing with my friend and there was a coffee shop in the shopping center! Can’t lose, right?
Boy oh boy, were my expectations exceeded. I felt immediately welcomed by the community and signed up for an unlimited membership on the spot. I jumped into a Stroller Strides routine, going to at least three classes a week and on weekends when my husband was in class working towards his MBA. The village was exactly what I didn’t know I needed.
When the fall came around I started thinking about what it would be like to teach these classes. The instructors I had were wonderful and they started out as moms, just like me. I chatted with a few instructors and decided to apply. I got the job, trained to be a Stroller Strides instructor and started teaching in January 2017.
I relocated to the Northern Virginia area after college (PSU 2009!) where I started dating my now husband. We knew we didn’t want to stay there forever and decided we’d move closer to family when we expanded our family. When we found out in mid 2017 that we were expecting our daughter we started the process of moving to Pennsylvania. It was a difficult decision to leave the village I came to love and rely on in Virginia, but ultimately I knew that being close to family was a high priority and that I’d work hard to keep the friendships I made there.
In November 2017 we made the move to PA! We’re now happily settled in Downingtown, close to family and loving the village we found with FIT4MOM Downingtown. The mamas of this village have been incredibly welcoming and I know that the friendships that my kids and I have built are strong. I’ve been teaching with FIT4MOM Downingtown ever since (aside from a hiatus for maternity leave in early 2018). I’m so excited to continue growing and strengthening the village here as the new franchise owner!
I can't wait to meet you in class! You can find our schedule and enroll for class here.
Each mama interviewed for the Meet a Mama Monday posts will answer these questions. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
Seeing the joy in my children’s eyes when they figure out something new. The world is completely new to them and I love watching them discover it.
What's the hardest thing for you about being a mom?
The 24/7 “on” requirement. There are days I long for no responsibilities, but I have an incredible support system including my husband, family, and FIT4MOM village that jump in when I need a break.
What advice do you have for new moms?
Trust your gut (your instincts are usually right) and don’t be afraid to ask for (and accept) help!! No one can do it alone. No one should.
What do you wish you would have known before your first child came to be?
How hard those first few days/weeks/months really would be. The lack of sleep, struggles to breastfeed, questioning of every decision, the daunting responsibility of caring for a tiny human... I was overwhelmed and had no idea how hard it would be.
What’s your best mom hack?
Bib over the buckles!! As a mom to two frequent car pukers, I’ve learned that putting a bib on after buckling them in can catch the mess and make clean up easier when they spit up/puke in the car. Both of my kids were happy spitters that spit up round the clock when they were babies. This kept me from having to scrub down the buckles every day!
Fun facts about you?
- You can almost always find me with coffee in hand.
- I tap danced growing up and miss it dearly.
- My favorite subjects in school were math and computer classes.
- I met my husband in 2008 through THON at Penn State. He doesn’t remember it, but our first encounter went something like this:
- Me: Hi! I’m Valerie.
- Jason: I know who you are.