There is no greater adventure than urban parenting--every nook and cranny of New York City is ripe for exploration when you’ve got a baby in tow. Even the most seasoned city dweller can attest: all those familiar city streets (yes, even the path to the grocery store) look fresh and new through the eyes of your little one, and your list of neighborhood discoveries--and conquests--grows with every excursion. To celebrate the launch of Bugaboo’s innovative new Runner, we’re letting you in on some of New York City’s best terrain to explore with your kids, from lush parks to sandy beaches to a jaw-dropping waterfront framed by bridges and skyscrapers. And we’re introducing you to some of NYC’s coolest parents, who are as passionate about their paths in the wellness world as they are about their kids. In honor of New York Fashion Week and that huge September issue you’ve probably got on your coffee table, we’ll start with Vogue’s Lauren Mechling. As senior editor at the magazine, she oversees Vogue’s health and fitness coverage; as a Brooklyn mom, she oversees two adorable and active toddlers. And while neither role is less than a full-time job (let alone both!), she still manages to schedule in weekly workout time for herself and her little ones, from rooftop yoga to toddler Crossfit. We recently caught up with Lauren for a jog with her daughter Louisa in Prospect Park and got the dish on motherhood, magazines and how her busy life really runs. Why are you so passionate about fitness? The answer has changed over time. When I was in my twenties, I went to the gym because I felt guilty if I didn’t. Now, however, I find that I actually enjoy exercise--to the point where I crave it. In addition to the health benefits, I love the space that it gives me to daydream and problem solve. In what way does running give you a feeling of freedom that other fitness activities can’t replicate? It’s the only exercise I do where I’m not in an enclosed studio. I never take the exact same route twice; I watch the seasons change, I see which local shops are closing and which ones are replacing them. It’s a way to reconnect with the neighborhood. How do you fit in time to care for yourself between parenting and your career? I probably exercised five times a week in my past life; now it’s more like three. Sometimes on the weekends I’m tempted to stay home, but I think it’s important that your children see you thriving and taking care of yourself. What are some things you hope to teach your little ones about being active? That it's not an either/or thing—you don’t have to be super-sporty or opt out and be a root vegetable. Exercise can be part of a balanced life, and you take a playful, dabble-y approach. I’ve taken Henry, my four-year-old son, to tennis, yoga, soccer, karate, swimming, dance, and ballet classes. We even tried out Toddler CrossFit! (It was just as bizarre as it sounds.)We travel as much as we can by foot or scooter (our fast-paced 1.5 mile walk/scoot to school each morning gives new meaning to the term “school run”). What are some of your favorite NYC spots to get out there and get active with your kids? My husband and I both grew up in the city, and we love re-exploring it with the children. Some of our go-to spots are the sculpture garden at MOMA, Prospect Park’s Long Meadow https://www.prospectpark.org/visit-the-park/park-map/points-interest/points-interest-long-meadow/, and Pier 6 Park. I recently went to a yoga class held on a roof in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was utterly incredible, like a cross between an after-hours sculpture park and the moon. I expect we will take a family field trip there soon. Sometimes we all need to unwind. When you’re done hitting the pavement and the kids are tucked in bed, what does a perfect end to a day look like? I cook. I read novels. I might occasionally shop for shoes online. If you could give expectant parents who are worried about losing their freedom some words of encouragement, what would they be? Put down the parenting books. There is no one way. Photography by Justin Borucki. Lauren's activewear courtesy of Bandier. This post was brought to you by Bugaboo.
When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.
I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.
Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.
The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.
Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.
I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.
Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.
This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.
I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.
I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.
I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.
As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)
But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.
This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.
On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.
"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.
Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."
Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.