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.
This post was brought to you by Bugaboo.