MamaBlogger365 – Finding Old Friends In New Places by Joy Rose

How many times in life have you been surprised by old friends popping up in new places? One of the last things I expected at the Mamapalooza Festival in New York City last spring was for one of our vendors to morph into our new landlord and sponsor when we opened the Museum Of Motherhood.

I almost thought the Gymboree team members were joking when they volunteered their Upper East Side space for us to open our pop-up exhibit! But, they’d recently moved from the downstairs space to a new street-level First Avenue Gymboree location around the corner, and we were grateful for the opportunity.

One of the great pleasures of working with New York Franchisee owners Debra Whitefield and Barry Hanson, and manager Joanne Hirkaler, is getting to know these ‘old friends’ in new ways. I’ve seen the kids playing outside each spring, on the equipment Gymboree brings to the Mamapalooza festival, but I decided to attend a few of their toddler classes while renovations on our new space were being completed. Observing the joy with which children are encouraged to explore their own physical and artistic selves, from infancy onward is truly a celebration of physical, emotional and artistic growth.

I loved watching new moms gather before and after class to catch up with neighbors. I chuckled watching the bubbles, shakers and a brightly colored parachutes bobbing in the classroom, punctuated with singing and laughing. The Gymboree lobby was brimming with friendly chatter and strollers. Now that the weather’s grown cold, and parks aren’t particularly friendly, it’s great to know there are safe, encouraging spaces for new mothers and caregivers to network and share advice and experiences.

I know how difficult it can be for Working Moms when it’s time to return post-pregnancy, so Gymboree has flexible schedules, with after-work hours, classes on select nights and a big selection of classes on weekends, including “Family” Classes, which allow parents to bring all of their children to the same class and enjoy fun learning activities created for groups of siblings and friends.

These classes are a great way for families to add a little structure and guidance to their young one’s development during the cold winter months.

Level 1 & 2 infant classes include discussion time, where adults explore different parenting topics each week. All classes provide the opportunity to gain support and learn from other moms with similar experiences.

But, what about ‘me’ time for all us busy working moms? Drop-off classes provide a handy perk for the parents of preschoolers who have errands to run or need a couple of hours just to catch up with life. These programs include: School Skills, Sports, Music, and the Young Performers Workshop, now offered at all NYC Gymboree locations.

In keeping with the true friendly and flexible nature of Gymboree, they’ve extended advice, floor mats, play equipment and a true helping hand to all of the museum’s endeavors. We’re right around the corner from each other on First Ave. (at 84th St.), so when you sign up for classes, make sure to pop in around the corner and take a tour of the museum and say ‘Hi’.

Gymboree is always flexible about creating class schedules. If you’re interested in seeing a program offered at a specific time at your local Gymboree, give a call. Gyms are also available for private rental to Play/Working Mother’s groups looking for a safe, fun place to bond, play & explore, as is M.O.M., and we hope to see you in the New Year.

Joy Rose

President Mamapalooza, Inc., Founding Director Museum Of Motherhood
The Museum Of Motherhood is the first and only facility of its kind, celebrating the “her”story of mothers around the world. We need your help — please make your tax-deductible contribution today!

Visit the Museum of Motherhood

NOW OPEN in NYC – Tues.-Sun., 10:45-6:30

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