If you’re reading this and you’re a mother, it’s time to take a deep breath, because chances are you probably haven’t done that yet today. It makes little difference whether you are a first-time mom or a seasoned mom of multiple children; all moms need a break and time for themselves. But one thing that holds many mothers back from finding time for themselves is that often-heard-of but ever-elusive concept: reliable childcare.
Enter A Mom’s Village in West Peabody, a business conceived, owned, and operated by Stephanie Keohan and Cindy Solomon. It’s no coincidence that Keohan and Solomon are both mothers who know from experience precisely what many area moms crave: a place that offers both quality childcare and a space to exercise or play with your children (even if you want to come in just to take advantage of their coffee bar while your children play—yes, that’s really a thing they offer members).
The Village exists as a sort of mom sanctuary, but it is also a full-fledged fitness facility. Classes are designed and led by fitness programming director Leslie Blangiforti and include burnHIIT, burnKICK, mamaSTRENGTH&STRETCH, and more. Classes are not designed to be “easy mom-style fitness.” You will get a true workout, much like what you would find at a traditional gym or fitness studio. Your fitness level is not a limitation; you will find a class that meets you where you are, and that will grow with you as your fitness needs evolve or change. Different options for membership abound and childcare is included as part of various memberships and class packs, and your first class at A Mom’s Village is free.
While you exercise or take advantage of one of the Village’s various amenities, your children will be in the loving hands of professional childcare staff. Many mothers are huge fans of the Village’s music classes for children, which are designed under children’s programming director Lindsey Nupp.
All moms are working moms, and A Mom’s Village is for mothers who are full-time caregivers as well as for those who work outside the home, with varied class schedules to fit the needs of busy families. And while it is named A Mom’s Village, Keohan and Solomon point out that this is a place where caregivers, nannies, and grandparents are also welcome.
If you’re curious about the kinds of amenities the Village offers, it might be quicker to list what they don’t offer. From fitness classes to childcare, music classes to stroller parking, and a mommy concierge service that will soon be helping mothers with meals, the list of services goes on and on. Keohan and Solomon are continually seeking input from mothers on what they like and what they would love to see.
Moms are welcome to stop in and read a book or a magazine, or enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack, in the clubhouse area while their children play or take a music class. A Mom’s Village is a place for moms to meet up with friends as well as a place to make new friends in a way that feels natural, as opposed to setting up a playdate and feeling the pressure “to make a new ‘mom friend’ by the time the playdate is over,” says Solomon.
A Mom’s Village will soon be moving to a brand-new, state-of-the-art expanded space in the same shopping plaza where they are currently located, taking over part of a space where an outgoing T.J.Maxx used to be. The new location will feature luxurious locker rooms and showers, and the entire space has been designed with practicality and relaxation in mind.
The reaction Keohan and Solomon have received from mothers has been overwhelming. The owners frequently hear that they really are “changing motherhood for a lot of women,” says Keohan. “Coming to A Mom’s Village allows a mom to come in, find an outlet for stress, and leave calmer and happier than when she walked in.” It’s no small wonder why; facilities like A Mom’s Village are not exactly easy to come by. The Village is about self-care in a way that is different from taking yourself out for a manicure (although you can also take advantage of their “drop and go” childcare and do just that). What the Village provides are options, something many moms fundamentally lack. Just giving a mom the option to take a fitness class or play with her child or simply sit and relax by herself or with a friend…well, that’s very likely more flexibility than many moms could hope for on a given day.
At the end of the day, their mission is to “make motherhood easier,” says Keohan. “Taking care of yourself is not ‘extra.’” It is a must-do. And if it takes a village to get that done, you’re not likely to find a better one.