My day in the life as a FIT4MOM manager and instructor looked really different back in March than it does now. Our Stroller Strides class was a full-body workout for moms with babies in tow. We would sing and squat and do jumping jacks to the ABCs. If a baby started crying, I would rock their stroller or blow bubbles so Mom could get in her one hour of self-care.
But this class was far more than an exercise class, it was a community. It was a place where you went as a mom to find peace in solidarity by uniting with other moms. There were beautiful moments, as well as those that tested our strength … in more ways than one. I remember one such moment when a mom’s 8-week-old baby choked on a tiny teething toy during class. A seasoned mom in the class ran over, whipped that choking baby out of the stroller, put her finger in its mouth and took that teething toy out like a boss. Everyone started crying immediately, yet no one stopped doing their burpees. That is strength in motherhood, and this was the place I could go to drink in the wisdom of moms before me and shower that sacred knowledge onto the moms who came after me. It was my free place and my safe place.
Until it wasn’t.
It started out with hand sanitizer. Then, I couldn’t hug the mamas who needed it most and that’s when I knew something terrible was lurking in the air around us. It happened fast. The rumors about a contagious virus that ravages your respiratory system weren’t just rumors anymore and fear began to spread at the same speed as the virus itself. Our classes began to dwindle drastically and eventually we canceled them until further notice. It was then that our strong and impenetrable bubble had been burst, our community compromised and our safe place was no longer deemed safe. It was all over and it was devastating.
Until it wasn’t.
I had never heard of Zoom meetings before and now the phrase is as common to me as “Please eat your peas” or “Pull up your pants” or “You’re gonna have to wipe better than that.” In just a few miraculous days after shutting down, we began offering classes virtually. We created a space where moms could still come together and connect during what was likely the second scariest time in all of our lives, the first being the day we became mothers.
But somehow, we did it. We got hundreds of moms on board to join our virtual community and we now offer dozens of fitness classes a week, virtual playgroups so our kids can see other kids, mom nights in with trivia and wine so moms can give their brains a break even though they can’t leave the house. The virtual classes have proven the power of our community as we connect to being moms during a global pandemic. We continue to cling to our support groups and to the promise of self-care so we can always put the mask on ourselves before putting it on anyone else to be sure we’re always OK for our kids.
Although things look less like the park now and a lot like, well, our houses, our mama tribe has proven to be impenetrable yet again. This devastating virus may take away a lot from us, but we stand forever united in motherhood, in person or not, and nothing can take that away from us. We are mothers, we are warriors, we are survivors and we will beat you. Take that, COVID.
Amy Iglow is a writer and client services manager and fitness instructor for FIT4MOM.