Heart & Home: Mauree Brooksher

You may know Mauree as the force behind Baby Boot Camp of Baton Rouge or from her recent guest post. But today we get a peek inside her lovely Baton Rouge home and her beautiful heart. Mauree, a mother of two, is one of the most driven people I know. She pours her energy into raising her beautiful family and encouraging moms to reach their fitness goals, while always wearing a smile. You will love this one-on-one with a mom who will inspire you to bring wine on family walks, schedule in a “pajama day”, and create the perfect play room for your kids. Enjoy!

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 Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I am a fitness enthusiast with a passion for early childhood education 😉 I grew up babysitting cousins and for a family that had two sets of twins under the age of 2! I also grew up dancing, cheering, swimming, playing tennis, & running. I received my undergraduate & graduate degree from LSU in Early Childhood Education.  I knew I wanted to teach, but once I had children of my own, I wanted to stay home while they were young. These precious years go by so fast, and I know I can always return to the classroom to teach when my children are in school.

mauree2I met my dear husband, Steven, when I was in graduate school.  We dated 9 months and were engaged! Steven has a passion for his faith & he helps to keep me grounded in our busy life. This is one thing I love most about him. We had our first son, Christopher, 4 years ago. Christopher is our high-energy, intelligent, curious, all-boy, and sweet child! We now have a 20 month old daughter, Marguerite Jane. She is calm, curious, precious, silly, and has a love for bows! Just ask any of her friends 😉 We love spending time together by taking Sunday drives, playing at the park, strolling, biking, and more!

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Q: What do you love about living in Baton Rouge?

Since I am not from Baton Rouge, it took me quite some time to adjust to living here. One thing I love the most is our parks! I love being able to take my children to explore and play at Leeward Park, City Park, Webb Park, and the Perkins Road Community Park.

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Q: Give us a background story of Baby Boot Camp. What inspired you to get it started?

One of my dear friends was living in San Francisco when I was pregnant for Christopher. When she had her first son, she participated in Baby Boot Camp in San Francisco. She loved it! She called me and said, “Mo, I just noticed there is a Baby Boot Camp in Baton Rouge. You’ve go to check it out after you deliver!” I immediately began researching Baby Boot Camp and could not wait to begin STROLLFIT classes. I attended my first Baby Boot Camp class when Christopher was about 3 months. Christopher was 7 weeks premature; we were on lock-down at home for the first few months of his life. Baby Boot Camp takes place outdoors at the park, so this was a perfect opportunity to get out of the house with him.

mauree3I fell in love with STROLLFIT at my first class. The class was challenging. Within that one hour I had completed: push ups, bicep curls, run stairwell, squats, steps, tricep dips, & way more than I would complete in an hour at a gym by myself! All the while, we sang to our babies, recited nursery rhymes, and the instructor even held Christopher when he was fussy! Before the class ended, the current owner informed me that she had owned the business for 7 years and was looking to return to teaching herself. I immediately called my husband. I told him all about the class and the potential for growth in Baton Rouge. I discerned purchasing the franchise for about 2.5 months. I did not want to jump into anything too quickly, and I wanted to ensure I could balance work life and family life. There were not any other prenatal and postnatal fitness classes in Baton Rouge that allowed you to bring your baby with you. I knew there was a great need for the program in Baton Rouge.

mauree5After much prayer, we purchased the franchise! I obtained my Group Fitness Instructor Certification and hit the ground running. I wanted as many moms as possible to have the same positive experience I had at STROLLFIT. I started the business with just 3 STROLLFIT classes a week. I now offer 9 STROLLFIT classes a week and 1 STROLLGA+Core class a week. We also offer an incredible community outside of class called, Stroller Friends. I think the fact that we value community and want to provide a positive support system for moms is what makes our franchise so unique!

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Q: How do you balance running your own business and your duties of motherhood? What has helped you most in making time for everything?

I will be honest. It is not easy! I am really good at it sometimes, and then I struggle with finding balance at times too. I have had to really learn my limitations and learn that is okay to say no. I have had to learn to ask for help. I now have a team of 4 incredible instructors: Megan, Claire, Brooke, and Jada! They are my rock and my team. In addition to my instructors, I have a Stroller Friends coordinator now. I used to plan the monthly play dates and Moms’ Night Outs in addition to everything else. It has been a true joy to work alongside Christina. It is much more fun to bounce ideas off of one another. And she can tell me, “Mauree that’s a terrible idea ;)” She has added so much fun to our Stroller Friends program, and I am thankful for her assistance. I also have a Marketing Mom, Anna, who helps me to deliver marketing materials to doctors office, shops, etc.

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So I would say I have learned to balance my work and personal life by asking for help. I have learned the program is much stronger with others who stand behind the brand and offer support than by doing it all alone. I am committed to still being a stay at home mom. I set aside one day for my daughter and go to her music and dance classes. I have one day where I attend Bible study at church. I have one day that I call my “pajama” day, and I keep the calendar clear. And then I have 3 days where I am teaching classes. I also make a point to sit down at the dinner table 2-3 x a week as a family and really spend time together on the weekends. The weekdays are busy, but we have our routine down and that helps to provide consistency for us.

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Q: You definitely seem drawn to a traditional look in your home. How would you describe your style and what do you use for inspiration?

I love traditional homes. I find that traditional homes feel warm and welcoming. They often have the Southern Hospitality charm! I love antiques and pieces that have meaning. I try to decorate our home with classic pieces, pieces with character, and pieces that represent our family.  I want guests to feel welcomed in our home, and I want them to see that our family is well represented.

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Q: What do you hope your children remember about the home you are in now?

I hope they remember our play room! We have a little sunroom full of their toys. It is a pretty special place for them to play and learn. I also hope they remember our large, open backyard. They love to run, play soccer, dig for worms, swing, slide, take wagon rides, jump on the trampoline, splash in the puddles after a rainy day, and more. As much work as it is to keep up, it has been oh so worth it! It has a been a place for them to play, get dirty, discover, and learn. Lastly, I hope they remember our neighborhood, which is covered with beautiful old oak trees. We love going for strolls (my husband and I sometimes bring a cup of coffee or wine), runs, wagon rides, and bike rides.

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Q: How would you help a mom set up a play space in their home? What are the “must haves” for the space?

I think it is important to treat the play room like an at-home classroom. Children learn through play through age 8, and I want my children’s toys to be ones that provide them with rich play experiences. It has always been a dream of mine to have a play room full of beautiful, wooden toys for my children and their friends to play with! In today’s world, so many toys are made from plastic. We have mostly wooden toys in our play room, and it has naturally created a classic and timeless space. I think a play room should have a variety of areas and toys. Our play room began with three toys and a child’s size table and chairs. So I would say start with a small table and chairs. This serves as a great focal point for the room. Children can choose a toy and have a seat at a table that is comfortable for their size. I then recommend storage for toys and having a bookshelf full of books. Then add in puzzles, blocks, costumes, train tracks, and art supplies. These toys lend themselves to open ended, engaging play experiences.  Finally, I try to keep our play room neat and limit stimulation. I am always de-cluttering our play room! I find this keeps the playroom inviting for the children and their friends.

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Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learned since becoming a mom?

This is hard! I have learned so much! I have learned that being a mother is a whole lot harder than it looks : ) As a child, I dreamed of having a suburban full of 6 children. I envisioned it being so fun and a bed of roses! Well, I have quickly learned that yes, it is so fun and full of joy! However, it is not full of just roses. I have learned to not have these unrealistic expectations and to be flexible. Each stage of a child’s life brings with it its challenges and joys. Everything from birth to choosing a school. Neither of my births went as I envisioned. Both of my babies were less than 5 lbs. and, needless to say, the post-partum period was not easy. It was hard work! But I learned during those pregnancies and deliveries the true meaning of trusting in the Lord and being grateful for my miracle babies no matter the outcome. I have learned to treasure these precious years even in the midst of stinky diapers and a messy house! These years go by oh-so-quickly. Christopher will be entering kindergarten next year, and I just cannot believe he will be in full day school. So again, I think I have learned to not have expectations and to just be flexible at each stage, to trust in the Lord always and rejoice in the little things, and to savor my time with my young children.

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Thank you, Mauree! What inspiring and powerful words. I think we all share letting go of those unrealistic expectations of motherhood…now that we are in it.  I think all of us can embrace your philosophy of asking for help, whether we work or not. And I’m definitely going to institute a “pajama day” in my house. Doesn’t that sound just perfect? Moms, what inspired you?

 

To see all our Heart & Home posts, click right here. And if you or someone you know would like to share your home right here on the blog, email [email protected] for more info!

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