Be Well Family: Fun Family Getaways Near Philadelphia

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Every year, about this time — that is, after the winter’s done but before the true beach weather hits — we tend to get a little antsy, a little restless. Ready for an escape, ready to hit the road. Enter, the quickie weekend getaway: Something driveable, something fun, something simple, something that’s just not Philly. And that’s exactly what we’ve got here — four weekend getaways perfect for families who want to get the heck outta dodge (without a ton of effort or a plane ride).

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Be Well Family: The 20 Best Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for 2017

All images via respective retailers

All images via respective retailers

With Mother’s Day fast approaching (May 14!), it’s high time to start brainstorming some non-lame gift ideas for the moms in your life. (Or, moms: It’s time to start dropping hints — or just flat-out creating Amazon wishlists — for the gift-givers in yours.) Let us help. We polled real moms on the things they want for Mother’s Day, and culled that list to offer up the year’s best gift ideas — from state-of-the-art technology to family portrait mini-sessions to an Hermes dream bag. No matter what type of mom you’ve got (or what type of mom you are), there’s something here to delight. (Which means there’s no excuse for showing up with another vase.) Read more »

Be Well Family: The Best Advice for Philly Parents

AleksandarNakic/iStock.com

AleksandarNakic/iStock.com

From the moment one conceives until … well, forever, a parent gets advice. Incessant, unsolicited advice. Some of it is insane, some of it is infuriating, and some of it — a tiny percentage — is actually worth listening to. That tiny percentage? The good stuff? That’s what we have here … a round-up of the best, most helpful, most spot-on advice we got as new moms in Philly … and now give to new moms in Philly. Advice like:

Take the undies.
Every hospital gives new mom a small pile of stretchy, white (deeply unattractive) underwear to wear post-birth. Our advice? Ask for a big pile, and then ask for extras on top of that. Whether it’s a C-birth or V-birth, you will appreciate how soft and gentle and, well, disposable they are at a moment when the last thing you want to be thinking about (or being irritated by) is your undies. You’ll wear ’em for weeks. Read more »

Be Well Family: Awesome Philly Fitness Classes for New (and New-ish) Moms

newmomexercise

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For a long time around here, mom-and-me fitness classes were a somewhat limited genre: There were only a few options here and there, and they weren’t always at times that were accessible to working moms. But a lot has changed over the past couple years. Not only have some places gone out of their way to offer times that were a little friendlier to moms who work on weekdays, but there’s also come to be a pretty big variety of workouts available, too: Pilates, barre, yoga, strength-training, power-walking … something for just about every mom-and-baby duo, if you know where to look. (And hey! We are here to help you with the whole knowing-where-to-look part.)

Active Mom Fitness
The location: Northern Liberties and Washington Square West
The workout: Stronger After Pregnancy, taught by Active Mom Fitness founder Ashley Reid, offers a full-body workout as well as a little mom-bonding (both of the mom-and-baby and mom-and-mom sort) and education. The eight-week series aims to strengthen muscles weakened by pregnancy, and includes all sorts of fitness: Pilates, body-weight strength training, resistance training and more. Babies welcome, but not required. Bonus: Reid also offers baby-friendly personal and group training specially geared toward expecting, new or not-so-new moms. Read more »

Be Well Family: This Is a Mother’s Brain at Bedtime

iStock

iStock

The Scene
10:45 p.m., any given weeknight

The Ritual
1. Washes face, brushes teeth, applies moisturizing face oil and eye cream.
2. Climbs into bed. Thinks to self: I’ll just settle in here with my book club book and wind down for a bit
3. Wait, did I pack Luke’s lunch for tomorrow?
4. Yes.
5. Or is that last night that I’m remembering?
6. No, it was definitely tonight because we had that whole conversation about how I couldn’t get the smell of musty old cheese out of it.
7. Ack, I forgot to order a new lunch bag.
8. Puts Kindle down; reaches for phone.
9. Though I wonder what would happen if I bleached the old lunch bag?

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Be Well Family: 9 Awesome Drop-In Gyms for Kids in Philly

iStock

iStock

This time of year is rough: Everyone is dying to get out and run around after a long, cooped-up winter, but the seasonal rain, mud, wind, a freezing day, even — God forbid — snow can really get in the way. On more than one occasion, the city’s (and suburbs’) indoor kid gyms and active-play centers have saved us: Not only can you find spots geared toward everyone from toddlers on up through teens, but without fail, these places are always good for at least a couple of hours of hardcore energy-burning, nap-inducing activity. And while many local spots offer regular weekly classes, every indoor play place on this list also has time dedicated for drop-in open play … meaning no commitment or pre-registration necessary.

Fusion Tumbling and Fitness, Fishtown
This second-story studio is simple but awesome: A big, sun-drenched, open space with floor mats and tumbling equipment and even a small inflatable bounce house for open-play time. The bread and butter of the place are its classes (tumbling and gymnastics for babies on up through teens), but four days a week, there’s time designated for supervised open play for little ones aged one to five, as well as open gym time for kids aged 6 and up. Members pay $5 for open play time; non-members pay $10, with $5 for siblings. Read more »

The Internet Is Killing Happiness. Can We Stop It?

Illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare

Illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare

So, I’ll admit it: I was looking at my phone the moment my two-year-old fell off a stump at our little Fairmount playground and bashed his forehead on a log.

For the record, I wasn’t scanning Instagram or ordering from Amazon; I was texting my husband about dinner. I emphasize this distinction only because it’s what I repeated to myself over and over as I lifted the ice pack to watch the nickel-size lump on my son’s baby skull swell to a goose egg: At least it wasn’t People.com.

Also, I thought, as my kid chomped an ice-cream bar and the knot on his forehead turned a sickly purple, kids fall all the time. Heads get bashed. I’m no helicopter mom. Even without the phone, I wouldn’t have caught him. And so on. Eventually, I let it go. Read more »

Be Well Family: My Christmas Decorating Fail

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iStock

My mother has the most beautiful Lenox holiday china – white, ringed with simple holly leaves. We used that china (along with special holiday napkins) in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s virtually every year of my life. That wasn’t all: She also has multiple nativities; stockings my grandmother crocheted; a snowman that sings a holiday medley when you press a button; an advent calendar we’ve had since 1980; plus several poinsettias, wreaths, mini trees for the front porch, candles, table-runners, Nutcrackers, the whole deal. I realize as I catalog it here that it maybe sounds a little over-the-top, a tad vulgar, but believe me when I say that it really isn’t, and it never was: It was magical. It felt special.

Me? I have a $14 light-up wreath from the hardware store down the street (with no batteries installed yet), stockings I bought from Target, and a Christmas tree with all the usual fixings. We had an advent calendar, but I have no idea where it is. We did manage to find and display a Santa and Frosty salt-and-pepper shaker set, which we only own because my mom gave it to us, and an Elf on the Shelf, which we only own because my mother-in-law gave it to us. (Note: Not sure if tools of child behavior manipulation also counts as decoration?) Speaking of my mother-in-law: She is also a decorator of epic proportions. Her house basically transforms into a Dickensian Village every Christmas. She actually has a 100-square-foot holiday closet. No joke. Read more »

10 Awesome Mommy-and-Me Yoga Classes in Philadelphia and the Suburbs

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iStock

Be Well Family is a collaboration with Wee Wander, a site dedicated to helping Philadelphia parents navigate their city. See more in this series here, or keep up with all of  Wee Wander’s tips, guides and Philly related parenting help on Facebook

The thing about mommy-and-me yoga is that there’s often a little more to it than just squeezing in a workout. Sometimes you just want to get out of the house with that baby. Sometimes you have a toddler who needs to work out some wiggles. Sometimes exercising with your kid attached to you is the only way you’ll get any exercise at all. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 excellent options for mom-friendly yoga of all sorts, whether you’re looking for a serious sweat session or just a little postnatal support. There’s truly something for everyone (including the moms who want to drop that kid off for an hour).

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How Philly Moms Are Fighting for the Right to Pump Breast Milk in Privacy

Illustration by Anna Parini

Illustration by Anna Parini

Like most moms, I’ve breast-pumped while perched delicately atop toilets, while wedged into filing closets, while idling in Target parking lots.

This is all de rigueur in the pumping world, which is one of endless workarounds. For one thing, being topless at work and milked by a motorized pump is nobody’s first choice; for working moms, pumping is the only way to feed their kids breast milk for the full year recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Secondly, even though federal and city laws require most employers to provide non-bathroom private space for moms to express milk, there’s wide latitude in what those spaces look like and how consistently they’re available — particularly in our increasingly open-office society. Not to mention all the public spaces that offer, like, zip. So … hello, Wawa bathrooms, hotel lobbies, broom closets. Read more »

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