Your Story – a little “About You” – How long have you lived in the Seattle area? Where are you from/why did you move here? What do you do for a living? Have you always done this?
I own Oh Baby! Fitness, an international perinatal fitness training company that is 15 years old, and recently founded Lady Sweat, a dance party workout for women. I moved to Seattle in 2015 from Atlanta, GA and have two little munchkins, Pete (5) and Beatrice (3).
Why did you decide to pursue this career?
After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in college, I decided to pursue fitness as I thought my time in a body I could control was limited. I became a personal trainer and found I loved working with pre and postnatal women. I moved to Atlanta after college and was the first instructor hired in a new fitness startup (Oh Baby! Fitness!). Over about 8 years I worked my way up through the company, teaching 30+ classes a week, hiring other instructors, and authoring our fitness certification. I came on as a partner in 2012 and then moved to Seattle to anchor our west coast operations. My experience with my own health colors so much of what I do- I think it’s a gift to get to work hard in your body, to exercise control over your physical experience. And getting to work with women, to create community and connect them with each other is the biggest joy and privilege I know.
When you get a quiet moment, what do you like to do the most?
I’m a pretty voracious reader, and especially love a good book and glass of red wine!
What helps you feel strong and/or beautiful?
Working out so hard that my mind can no longer spin through its to-do list. A bold red lipstick. Seeing how my husband and kids look at me.
What is your greatest personal skill/trait?
Helping women feel strong, capable and connected to other women.
Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?
So many! The ones that roll through my head on a daily basis are “If you can’t get out of it, get into it” and “Be kind, be kind, be kind” (the second is our family motto- two friends have actually had it tattooed on their bodies after long visits in our house!)
If you could tell your twenty-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
You are going to marry so well. Just you wait.
How do you balance being an entrepreneur & a mom?
Good, regular, stable childcare. That’s the most important. I need extra hours to think, to create new products and content and training. That can’t happen if I’m stressing about getting work done in two hours. I travel for Oh Baby! Fitness pretty regularly, and honestly that time away is helpful for my balance- I’m able to really dive into work, and I start missing my kids and when I’m home get to really be with them. It’s not easy though, at all. I’m now on year 4 of my kids crying EVERY time I leave to go teach a class. I think it’s important though, for them to see me heading to work, and for me to know they can’t wait to have me back.
Could you describe your relationship to fitness before, during and after your pregnancies? Were they different for each kiddo?
Despite being a fitness professional, I really like to work out hard for about 6 months, then take a few months off. I try new things every few years (Crossfit, kickboxing, orange theory) and often go pretty hard for a while and then pause until I find something new. During pregnancy, I was pretty ill and exercise became the only way I felt good and anything close to myself. I took Oh Baby! Fitness classes, and made friends with moms who are still some of my best friends today (a big group of them just flew out to Seattle from Atlanta and we spent the whole time talking kindergarten—I never could have imagined that five years ago!). Postpartum I was able to return to exercise pretty quick with Pete, but honestly didn’t after Beatrice until about 9 months postpartum. Having two kids under two was so crazy that it took that long to really be able to get my feet underneath me.
What is one thing you were told you would need and didn’t as a mama? Or the best piece of advice you received before becoming a mama?
My sister sat me down when my son Pete was 3 weeks old and said: “He is a person, not a problem to solve.” It was really profound advice at the perfect moment. As a business owner, I wanted to FIX things- sleep, eating, scheduling, all of it. Seeing him as a complex person with moods and easy/hard days and not just problems to fix really pivoted my parenting in an important way.
What are the unique differences about being a mom in the greater Seattle area?
It’s hard to connect to moms here! Being the owner of Oh Baby! Fitness, I see metrics on how people find our classes worldwide, and in other geographical areas, almost everything is word of mouth, and here people find us online. I think the weather is part of that, and I think it can be really isolating for new moms. I also think there can be a real…..intensity to parenting here that I don’t think is necessarily helpful for moms or kids. Reminding women that they are valuable and important outside of their mothering role is something I think a lot of Seattle moms need to hear.
What is your favorite motherhood/parent resource in Seattle?
Swedish Ballard Midwives! They are so skilled and kind and wonderful. And Oh Baby! Fitness. Our instructors Stacey and Kat are SO smart and help so many moms.
What is your favorite activity to do with your kiddos in Seattle?
In the summers, we have regular potlucks at our neighborhood playground with friends. Those sunny evenings, and getting to actually sit and talk with friends because the kids are running around is the best. (And in the winter, my kid’s favorite activity is popsicle baths- a nearly daily favorite- I love it because they are contained & the bath takes care of popsicle mess, and my kids love it because of the popsicles!)
Come Sweat with us!!
Where can readers find you?
Om Mama Members get special discounts on Oh Baby! Fitness classes & packages! Head over to the membership hub where you can learn more about your perks!