Oklahoma City family fun gets kids moving, which is one goal behind the YMCA of Oklahoma City’s offerings for families. If you haven’t been to the Y lately, chances are there’s a location near you and it can be worth taking a look for kids’ programming, especially during these long summer days.
I had considered joining a gym last year to get more active after having my fourth son to set a good example, lose the last of the baby weight and just keep up a regular active routine that includes exercise. Working out is also ideal for stress and I’m a very tense person with almost no reprieve from work and family. A third space like a gym seemed ideal but getting the time to go, besides issues like cost and child care, was a problem. My husband works time-and-a-half, I work full-time and we have children ages 12, 7, 4 and 1.
There are times when it feels like enough to keep up with all that life demands of us without adding anything extra.
It’s pretty exhausting over here already but I do believe in the benefits of being physically active. I want my children to have an after-school activity, something I had mostly chosen to avoid until now because I appreciate the #unbusy less-is-more approach to life without a rigid schedule. As a ’90s kid who grew up being shuttled in the blue Dodge minivan from lesson to lesson and eating dinner in the backseat most nights, I have no desire to recreate that for my kids but I do want to give them life-saving swim skills and the opportunity to pursue their own interests.
We’re definitely not a sports family. And at the Y, that’s just fine.
There are all kinds of families at the Y because it’s meant to be for everyone. Accessibility is another of its founding principles.
If you haven’t considered joining the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, here are three reasons to give it a try:
Affordability for the whole family: A household membership averages $60 per month for a family with children. Children’s programming like Y-Cade, an arcade-style area with foosball, air hockey, X-box where players have to stand or bounce on a ball and other amenities that vary by location, youth yoga and kids’ fitness classes are all included, besides standard gym membership for adults. Baseball and other team sports, as well as swimming classes, do incur extra fees and require a separate sign-up but they’re really reasonable, especially if you’re used to paying those per child at private facilities. Right now, I’m paying $20 per child for swim lessons for the month of June and with four children, that’s a good deal.
Facilities access: Regular access to a pool is another plus. I don’t think we’ll be visiting other community pools this summer. I also like being able to participate in classes on a regular basis like yoga on Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons without adding a line item to my budget.
Child Watch: If you have small children, you know how important it is to find child care that’s a good fit for your little one. My three younger kids are definitely slow-to-warm; their temperament has been set since birth and difficult to coax into being more social/flexible. It usually takes a full semester for each to get used to attending a new school, class or after-school activity. Our experience with Child Watch, though, has been really positive. My preschooler, age 4, asks to go there while I attend fitness classes, which is not the way he normally is so it must be fun; I can see through the window that he’s read to, that he plays with dinosaurs and that he draws or interacts with other children. Those are all a plus for socialization too, besides the peace of mind that he’s fine while I work out.
The variety of classes available at the Y is impressive. There’s a variety of programming during the day that I haven’t tried yet since I work but I don’t feel like I’m missing out since so much is available nights and weekends. We’re already there a few evenings each week for swimming lessons so it’s easy to plan around those and go get a class in myself before theirs begins. I can already tell a difference in how my clothes fit and how I feel overall.
The fact that many of these locations are near public parks is also a plus. We can plan playtime or pack a picnic too. I really like being out and about in our community and I’ve already met a lot of nice parents at the Y from diverse backgrounds, including foster families, people from other places and tourists who are visiting family here.
All of those enriching experiences make a YMCA membership worthwhile. The self-care aspect of yoga is healing to me after a long winter. Community too is a reason to join. Feeling alone in this parenting effort, with its constancy and its mundane aspects, is a common sentiment. Changing up your week with a different class and other people can be a benefit for you, the parent, besides everything available to our children. We can all be a little better, with the Y and each other.