We are proud to reveal our next mom...

Kate Valenta

How many children do you have and what are their names and ages? My husband, Alex, and I have one wonderful daughter named Olivia, who just turned 4.  We haven’t totally ruled out the possibility of trying to have a second child just yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

How did you and your husband pick out her name? We love the name Olivia because it’s elegant and feminine, yet also strong.  The olive branch and olive tree are symbols of peace and wisdom…plus I can’t get enough olives – one of nature’s perfect foods and a real gift from the universe!  And it has timeless appeal as a classic Shakespeare name, coined for one of the main characters in Twelfth Night.  My recollection is that at some point during my pregnancy, the name got stuck in our heads, and every other name we considered just seemed to pale by comparison after that.

What does a typical day look like for you? Olivia doesn’t get to bed until about 8:30, so she usually sleeps until 7:30/8:00am.  My miraculous husband often wakes up at 6:00 to go to the gym and then puts the coffee on and gets the household rolling – so I guess I get to ‘sleep in’ more than most moms.  After breakfast, Olivia and I head out for our morning activities, which usually include Go Mommy at Work it Out, swim lessons, yoga, or soccer.  Then we hit the park or the library before she heads to preschool at 12:30.   I’m also a graduate student, so after I drop her off I usually hit the library – or Maroon, which I sometimes use as a library – to work on my master’s thesis, which I hope to finally finish this winter!  Then depending on the weather, we try to squeeze in some more park action after school and before dinner with dad, etc.

What keeps you motivated to get to the gym? I would venture to say that I am WiO’s main WiP (work in progress!).  I started taking ride classes last fall to literally work out the kinks.  My right hip had begun to protest as Olivia reached toddlerhood but still needed to be picked up and carried with some frequency, and old injuries and imbalances brought on by too much skiing in a previous life came back to haunt me.  I felt like I needed to reverse the trend before my body fell into total disrepair!  But I found I was motivated to keep coming back to WiO largely because of the warm, familial atmosphere I encountered there.  My fellow moms at Go Mommy have been extremely kind and welcoming, and the superstar instructors – Kara, Sherri, Daria and Liz – have been both encouraging and inspiring.  And of course, the fact that Olivia has a great time with Stephanie, Amanda, Gina and all the kids in the ‘purple playroom’ makes it guilt-free exercise time for me.

What is your definition of ‘mommy time’? It’s a sad state of affairs when even a dentist appointment seems to qualify as ‘mommy time’.  I have a burgeoning collection of spa gift certificates that I haven’t been able to find time to use over the past year, so that should also tell you something about my poor time-management skills.  All my free time is absorbed by my research and writing, necessary errands, and other life details that crop up with amazing regularity, and I know that if I had to carve out daily exercise time within my few hours away from Olivia, I’d never get anything done.  So, WiO has literally saved my life - how’s that for an endorsement?!  But the short answer to your question is that a relaxing ‘mommy time’ afternoon for me would involve a yoga class, a hot bath, and a pedicure (the kind with the extra-long leg massage!)

What’s your favorite activity to do with your daughter? Olivia is a wonderfully flexible kid, so she’s fun to spend time with doing just about anything, but she really lights up when we swim in the ocean together, and she spends the whole time giggling and singing her own special version of “Yellow Submarine”.  We also enjoy sampling NYC’s various carousels, which I think I enjoy riding as much as she does.

What is something your daughter has taught you about yourself? Patience has never been my strong suit, and Olivia has certainly helped me workshop that particular character flaw!  But more generally, I feel that being with her teaches me – and somehow gives me permission - to slow down, appreciate the smallest things, marvel at the development process of the human brain, and be curious right along with her about the intricacies of language and the many ideas and concepts we take for granted as adults.  Naturally, I sometimes miss my career and my colleagues, and being in control of my own schedule, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.  Being a parent has also helped me to fully appreciate the incredible gift of unconditional love that I received from my own parents - especially the nurturing care of my mother, whom we lost to cancer two years ago.  Although it’s sometimes not the easiest job, it is an absolute privilege and an honor to be able to stay at home and ‘be schooled’ by Olivia, and I am ever grateful to my husband for making it possible for me to take this path.

 If you are a new WiO Mom and have a story you would like to share with your fellow WiO’ers, please email us at info@workitoutgym.com