Mysteries of Toddlerhood Solved Completely at The Playroom Valley

toddlers demystifiedYou guys should have been there. At a sold-out event, we got to hear from the experts on the dark depths of toddlerhood weirdness. And okay, so maybe we didn’t exactly solve every wacky potty problem ever to befall a two-year-old, but we did have a heck of a good time.

If you guys haven’t brought your littles to The Playroom Valley, you should get there today. It’s the cleanest, funnest spot in Sherman Oaks to bring the under five crowd (and let the moms make mom friends!). And the prices are amazing! They even do these themed parties that will make your birthday girl or boy totally giddy.

Our kids were blown away by the bright, open play space, the little roller coaster, and the endless list of pretend play opportunities. We hardly heard from them the whole time we were there, because they were too busy having fun to bother with moms at all. Another win for The Playroom.


Ana & Dani

the playroom


Why New Moms Need New Moms

mommy roundtableWhen my first baby was born, I had all kinds of dreams and plans for how our lives would go. There would be long walks to the park, afternoons on the beach, weekly playdates, library visits, baby yoga, the works. Some of that happened. Some of it went up in a flaming ball of fail. I half expected the occasional failures and frustrations, but what I did not anticipate was the sometimes soul-crushing solitude of motherhood.

It’s not something that gets a lot of print in the baby books. They warn you about post-partum depression and its brutal twin sister, post-partum psychosis. But they don’t tell you that what really sends you into the depths of despair isn’t the sleeplessness (well, not JUST the sleeplessness), or the unending litany of diapers and work and spit-ups and laundry and marathon nursing sessions and hormones– Oh, the hormones!… No, what really pushes you past what you can bear is that it feels as though it’s happening to you, and only you, all by yourself. And in a way, it really is.

You may have a wonderful, supportive partner right beside you every night. I did. But that didn’t make me feel any less alone when the baby woke up for the eighth time that night to nurse. You can share laundry duty and dishwashing and toddler bath time. That isn’t the same as sharing the pressure to do it perfectly, or the worry that something’s not quite right with the baby’s development, or the sheer exhaustion of constantly tending to everyone else’s needs. That’s all on one pair of shoulders, and for some sick, cosmic reason, they’re yours.

Some of us are lucky enough to be able to call our own moms and talk it out, or drop the kids off for an hour or two of break time. But these days, most of us aren’t that lucky. Due to shifts in the job market, a crappy economy, and urbanization, young parents tend to skip town and raise their families far from the people they love and trust. If you’re one of the leavers, that opens a huge gap in the place where your natural mentors and friends should be. Humans aren’t meant to live that way. From cave-painting times, we’ve been tribal animals. We need community to keep us healthy and happy.

That’s why these days, more than ever, it’s essential to build friendships and mentorships, wherever life happens to throw us. When I finally found a group of moms to talk and laugh and worry with, my baby was a toddler, and I had another newbie on the way. That little group of mommies, alike and different in a thousand ways, gave me what I needed. For the first time, I heard other moms talk about potty trials, and relationship weirdness, and food allergies, and the appalling lack of shower time, and I wasn’t alone anymore. It may have saved my sanity.

That’s why we do what we do here at Mommytrain. We want to help you find what we found: good friends who are walking the same scary/awesome path you walk. We want to build solid parenting communities, with education, fun, and plenty of talk time.

Our newest way to get there is the Mommy Roundtables, every other Friday night, from February 21st to April 4th, 2014. We keep it small, like six or fewer mamas, so that we can learn to trust one another and feel comfortable talking honestly. It’s held in a neutral location, in the cozy Mommy Lounge at Pamper & Play. Just us, no kids allowed. Sometimes we bring in experts, to help us work on marriages and partnerships and parenting. Other times we just talk shop, like mamas do.

The roundtable venue is what works best for us, but there is no right way to create the parenting community you need. In fact, your mama tribe may change and grow as your kids move on to new stages of life. If you can’t make it out to our roundtable nights, start where you are right now. There may be other new moms in your neighborhood, or at your library’s toddler story time, or even the local gym. All it takes is one solid connection, mom to mom, and you can build from there. One day, you might look back on that first meeting as the start of better, fuller years for yourself, your partner, and your kids.


Ana & Dani


We’re Thankful for You

Friday, November 15, 2013

thanksgiving craft

We might say it a lot, but it’s true. We’re thankful for you. All of you. Especially those of you who joined us for the recent Veteran’s Day get-together at Pamper & Play. You guys are like our new best friends.  If you weren’t there, you missed some seriously fun times. We didn’t have much of an agenda. No speakers or big activities. Just a simple Thanksgiving craft for the mamas on the patio, while the littles played inside.  And people, those hours are the best– when it’s just you and a few other moms, chatting and laughing and crafting and joking around together, with no runny noses to wipe and no toddlers to entertain. You should’ve been there.

The kids were so happy inside with the Pamper & Play staff that they didn’t even come looking for us at all, for two whole hours! Do you know how much we can gossip and carry on in two hours? A lot. I mean, really, that’s what this MommyTrain thing is all about, right? Meeting people who get it. Making friends. Hanging out with women who have walked a mile or two in shoes that look a heck of a lot like yours. That’s why we do this.  And yes, there was the customary MommyTrain raffle, and giveaways, and Lunch Right lunches, and Clean Bee Baby services, but those ended up being nothing more than icing on a very sweet cake.

So yeah, you guys rock. And we are most certainly doing this again. Maybe weekly. That’s how much we like you.


Ana & Dani