Self-Care Saviors: Gyms With Child-Minding Services
Self-care has become a cliche recommendation for moms who are struggling. We know that we need to take more time for ourselves, but someone's needs are often more pressing. Kids, pets, partners, parents, and home care all get in the way. Happy Go Mama is excited to bring you a new series, Self-care Saviors, profiling places and products that lower the barriers to taking time for yourself. I hope you enjoy! Last post, I talked about body positivity and how to separate exercise from fat-shaming. Exercise, for me and for many, is a huge mood stabilizer. I had a bout of post-weaning depression: a less common postpartum mood disorder, but exactly what it sounds like. My experience with post-weaning depression and anxiety is a whole post unto itself, but one thing that really got me through was ramping up my exercise.
A friend recommended finding a gym with childminding. I was skeptical - I'd never had much luck joining gyms, they usually seem too expensive to be worth it, I typically want to just do yoga classes, and I wasn't sure how Olin would do being left in care. I was pleasantly surprised by how well a gym fits into my life.
Turns out, I like having a variety of classes. I tried out some spin classes, boxing, and step classes. I've signed up for an obstacle course 5K this summer, so I may try some HIIT or boot camp classes to work on my agility. And most gyms come with a free personal trainer session. Breccan LOVES “kid gym”, and has even been the motivator to go some days. Olin goes back and forth, and can be a little fussy at drop off, but I've watched him from the gym, and he eventually has a good time.
I really wish I had known about gyms with childminding earlier. It has really helped me make myself a priority in a guilt-free way. I'm not invoking a favor, I'm entertaining my kids, I'm not breaking the bank, and I'm taking time for my health and mental wellness. Here are some options for gyms with childminding in the Lower Mainland
The YMCA has 3 locations: Downtown Vancouver, South Vancouver, and Surrey. The Downtown location is very swanky, and boasts a coffee shop if you want to use some of your time to just relax. It unfortunately has a little bit of a “gym rat” vibe. We mostly use South Van because it's most convenient. It isn't updated, but it has a more relaxed vibe. Childminding at all locations is $3 per hour for one child and $2 per hour for siblings. You can drop them for an hour starting at 6 weeks, and can drop them for 2 hours starting at 18 months. Head here to check out membership rates. I've thought about getting Breccan a membership so he can do swimming and cooking classes.
I have a feeling once the kids get a bit older, we may switch to a Richmond Oval membership. It's very convenient for us as we live in Richmond. It's a beautiful facility, and there are so many group fitness classes. There is less for young kids than at the YMCA, but the Oval has one HUGE benefit that other gyms do not. Nick and I used to do a lot of rock climbing, which we have pretty much given up with young kids. We really want to get back into it one day, and Oval memberships would be a convenient way to be able to climb as a family once the boys are able. Childminding is a bit more expensive at $4 per hour per kid, and they can only stay 1.5 hours max. Check out membership options here.
If you want a gym with lots of locations, Steve Nash gyms are definitely it. If you live in the Lower Mainland or Fraser Valley, there's a location near you. This is a more traditional gym, with the traditional membership options and annual fee. The “kid zone” will take your kids for a maximum of 2 hours, and prices vary by location. Most suburban locations offer childminding, but Kitsilano is the only Vancouver location that does.
Any fellow Y members, Oval, or Steve Nash users out there? I'm sure there are other options I've missed. Do you go to a gym with a childcare option? Let me know - share the joy of child-free fitness time with other mamas!