Philly Fitness Studios: Where Are All the Classes for Working Moms?

Surely I'm not the only one who would love a kid-friendly fitness class at a convenient time.

I know I’m new at this whole “working mom” thing — I’m, what, three weeks in now? — but I’ve already noticed a few things: I’m much more tired than I expected to be, my days feel extra long since they start at 5:45 a.m., and I can’t for the life of me figure out when and how to squeeze in a work out.

Track with me here: My three-and-a-half month old son, Noah, gets up at the crack of dawn. I don’t begrudge him the early wake-up call because he’s all smiley and giggly and just so darn cute in the mornings. Besides, this is longest stretch of time I get to be with him during the work week. I try to shuffle out the door by 8:30 (though, let’s be honest, it’s more like 8:50 on a good day), and then I’m back home by 5:30 — juuuuuust in time to put Noah to bed at 6 or 6:30. Then, once he’s asleep, it’s dinnertime, an episode of something mindless to unwind, and off to bed because, man, am I beat.

In a perfect, energetic world, I would head out the door for a run or yoga class after I put Noah down for the night. I’ve been trying really, really hard to make this my routine, but the truth is that it just isn’t happening. Maybe once his sleep normalizes a bit and I can get quality shuteye at night I’ll feel less exhausted at the end of the day, but I’m not seeing that happening any time soon.

So last week, I began searching for mommy-and-me-style fitness classes at an hour that fits with my schedule. I figure, if I don’t want to sacrifice any of my precious Noah time to the Fitness Gods, I might as well find a way to bring him along — it’s bonding, right? Ideally, I’d love to find a kid-friendly class on Saturday or Sunday, when I can spend some real quality time with him. Heck, I’d even take a weekend adult class where babysitting is offered simultaneously (and I’d gladly pay extra for this service!). But I came up short on both fronts: All I could find were kid-friendly classes at, like, 2 p.m. on a Tuesday, or ones with childcare options at 10 a.m. on a Friday. How is that helpful to anyone but a stay-at-home or work-from-home mom (or dad) with a flexible daytime schedule?

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t begrudge these women and men their midday fitness classes. More power to them! I wish I could make these work in my schedule. But the truth is, I can’t. And I’m assuming I’m not the only one.

In fact, I asked a couple working moms I know if they’ve ever noticed this — that there are no fitness classes that fit a working mom’s schedule. “YES!” one screamed, all-caps, over instant messenger last week. “It’s annoying as shit.”

She pointed out that the big exception is Fit4Mom, which does offer Saturday morning and weekday evening Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre classes. And while that is totally awesome, what about other kinds of workouts, like yoga, Pilates, boot camp or even swimming? The best I’m able to come up with are ad-hoc group Mommy and Me classes at Philly Dance Fitness and Thrive Pilates, but you have to organize a group yourself and request the class. And even then, it’s a one-time thing.

“You’d think it wouldn’t be so hard, when there are 25 yoga studios per square mile,” my friend said. She’s right.

I posed the question to Paige Chapman, owner of the oh-so-kid-friendly Mama’s Wellness Joint in Midtown Village. “We have tried a lot of different classes to serve moms in your place,” she told me, including, twice, Mommy and Me Yoga on the weekend. “We found that for the ones that are just going back to work, it’s so crazy — such a crazy time — that they don’t actually show up, despite their best intentions.”

I totally get that: Even before I had a kid in tow, life would get in the way from time to time and spoil my otherwise best-laid workout plans. Still, I have to wonder if there aren’t enough of us interested in this kind of thing to make even one weekend class a month worthwhile for a studio. Surely we can commit to one hour, one Saturday or Sunday a month, right? Or am I being way too optimistic about my ability to have my life together on a weekend? (Seriously, these are not rhetorical questions. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.)

If you’re a studio owner and you actually do have a class that fits the bill, I’d love, love, love to hear from you, because you know I’ll be there with bells on my and Noah’s toes. Share those details in the comments, too.

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