We had the pleasure of interviewing the two boss babes of Bar Method; Bridget McBride and Caitlin Giambalvo. They are two Fairfield moms with a love for Fairfield and helping all Barre babes in the area!
We will be hosting a FairfieldMoms Barre class next week with them so please make sure you sign up ASAP as spots are limited!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in the area?
(B) I am from Fairfield, and have lived here most of my life, minus a 10 year stint in Los Angeles.
(C) We grew up here in Fairfield! After college, we lived elsewhere (Los Angeles for Bridget, Paris for Caitlin), but Fairfield called us back home!
Children / Age(s)?
(B) Clive (6) Teddy (4) Stiles (1)
(C) Cecelia (5) and Lochlan (2)
One thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
(B) I used to be an on-air reporter in Hollywood.
(C) I’ve been skydiving twice!
One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?
(B) I wish someone had told me to set aside a separate bank account for Clorox wipes based on how much pee I clean up a day.
(C)That it won’t live up to certain expectations, but surpass others. That you won’t be the perfect mother and will doubt yourself often. But EVERY other mom is feeling the same way!
Favorite local things to do in Fairfield?
(B) We live walkable to the center of town, so you’ll always see us strolling in (sometimes with more than one stroller) to dinner, the concerts at the gazebo, and Saugatuck Sweets. We also love the beach, especially in the evening, having dinner with our friends.
(C) We also love walking into town with the kids, going to Rugby Road Park near our house, and taking part in all the fun activities Fairfield has to offer – Halloween at Town Hall, the Christmas Tree Lighting, the Memorial Day parade, cheering on Fairfield Half Marathoners, the list goes on and on!
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield?
(B) I absolutely love the sense of community and the fact that everyone knows their neighbors. I’m on a group text with my neighbors, and are all helping each other out with little things here and there. The older kids on our street include my younger kids in every game of tag, football, whatever they’re playing that day. It really warms my heart to watch.
(C) We all know that Fairfield has excellent schools and lots to offer. But another thing I love about Fairfield is that people who live here are down-to-earth, they’re real. It’s refreshing to see that I’m not the only mom going out in public with a messy bun and minimal-to-no make-up 😉
Do you have a favorite family restaurant? Date night?
(B) Our go-to for family dinners is Flipside, and for date night we love Bodega and Molto.
(C) We go to Local a lot with the kids. For date night, we like to switch it up…Chelsea, Tequila Revolucion, and Mecha Noodle Bar are all faves!
What is your go-to activity for your family? For yourself?
(B) During the summer, you can find us pretty much planted at Blackrock Yacht Club swimming in the pool. In the winter, we stock up on board games and massive Lego Sets that keep us busy when it’s too cold to go outside. For myself, if you can’t ever find me, I’m at Sun Reflexology.
(C) Family walks into town in warmer weather, poolside with the McBrides at BRYC all summer long. When it’s rainy or the dead of winter and we just need to get out of the house, the kids love to get out energy at the Playscape at GCA in the Sportsplex. One of my favorite things to do by myself is walk around Home Goods for a couple of hours!
Funniest part you’ve learned about parenthood?
(B) I love how my kids have learned certain phrases my husband and I use and now say it to each other…current fave is from my 4 year old who now likes to say to his brother, “How bout you don’t worry about it, ok?”
(C) Kids just love to be naked! My kids love to run around naked after dinner time. They call it “nudie circles” – it never gets old.
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
(B) Always do everything the night before. All snacks, lunches, outfits, shoes (even down to the underwear) are decided on the night prior so that there are no tears the next day. It makes a morning with three littles run a little more smoothly.
(C) Put away toys that you notice they don’t play with often and re-introduce as “new toys” later. Also, lots of bins and baskets to keep everything organized (which of course I buy from Home Goods)!
Name one thing you regret when learning the ropes of parenthood and what you learned from it?
(B) One regret I had was not learning infant CPR sooner. Now I renew my certification every year.
(C) I suppose I regret having such unrealistic expectations and not talking to young mothers about what motherhood was really like. I suffered from Postpartum Depression after my first was born and it took me quite a while to bond with her. I learned to be kind to myself and recognize what I was doing right, not just what I was doing wrong.
Let’s talk about your business, when and why you started, and the reason behind it?
(B) The Bar Method is a safe, low-impact barre workout that opened in Fairfield in 2014. I started teaching in LA in 2008, fell in love with it, convinced my sister to open a studio, and she convinced me to move back to CT to make it happen. It’s made the most positive impact on both of our lives, and seeing the incredible community we’ve created in Fairfield blows me away every day.
(C) We also wanted to be stay-at-home moms to have more time with our kids. We get to see them off to school in the morning and are there to pick them up or get them off the bus in the afternoon. It’s tough juggling our full time jobs of running a studio (and teaching there!) with giving our kids quality time with their moms, but it’s so worth it.
If you hadn’t started this business, what do you think you would be doing today?
(B) I may still be working in television in some capacity, which is what I did before kids.
(C) Possibly in the ER!? I worked in the training department of a medical device company before opening the studio, and I was encouraged to get into sales but I didn’t know if I could stomach it.
How does starting and growing a business work when you have small children and are still growing your families?
(B) I can’t begin to tell you the amount of work it is. We each teach at least 8 classes a week, but the behind-the-scenes stuff is what takes up most of our time. On top of that, we each take 5 classes a week. I never want to appear to be the mom who is constantly working, but I am. We both make sure we spend lots of quality time with our families, volunteering at the schools, or just taking some time to get down on the floor to do a puzzle with the kids. So that means a lot of early mornings and late nights. It’s the price you pay for running your own business, but we wouldn’t change it!
(C) It is SO hard – there aren’t enough hours in the day! Some days, toys don’t get picked up and dinner dishes don’t get cleaned until the next day. I just try to have some meaningful alone time with each of my kids every day, whether that’s coloring with Cece or making Thomas the Train tracks with Lochlan. They appreciate it so much, then I can hop back on my computer after they go to bed to wrap up my work for the day.
We all now that working out while pregnant is beneficial – how does Bar Method help?
(B) It’s hands-down the best workout for expectant mothers. Every exercise in our program is designed under the guidance of physical therapists, so you know you’re in good hands. It’s low-impact, so your heart rate will never rise above the recommendation from your doctor. We focus a lot on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, crucial during and after the birth of your baby.
(C) We’ve had multiple mothers tell us they “pushed the baby out in 20 minutes” or how impressed the doctors and nurses were with their strength during labor and delivery. Especially if they did not exercise or did a different form of it with a previous pregnancy, they swear that they felt stronger both during and after delivery when they incorporated Bar into their prenatal routine.
Are workouts modified for new members working out and pregnant mamas?
(B) Yes! Our instructors undergo rigorous training that is months long in order to properly adjust and cue clients into position. We also receive prenatal training and consistently check in with our pregnant clients to help them modify as they get farther along in their pregnancy to keep mom and baby safe. We also offer a prenatal rate which many moms take advantage of after 20 weeks–they stay for half the class and leave before the abs section.
(C) We love new clients and welcome all experience levels! Sometimes we hear from new clients that they were nervous to try Bar and put it off for a long time. Do not be intimidated and do not put your health on the back burner!
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and a family?
(B) You’re doing your best. You’ll have great parenting days and not so great ones. But your kids will always remember what you do most–so I always remember that sometimes the work can wait. Reading, playing, baking cookies, having a random dance party in the kitchen–those are the important things in life. One day they won’t want to do that with me, so I soak all of that in and really enjoy every moment.
(C) I totally struggle with this! It has helped to find a group of moms that I can confide in when I’m not feeling so confident in this parenting journey. Bridget and I are obviously close and we text ALL the time too. I always feel better after I talk to other working moms, because they’re feeling the same way! I also like to put my phone on silent and do something uninterrupted with the kids – even if it’s just 20 minutes. It’s like a reset button!
Who has influenced you the most to be the mother that you are today?
(B) Both our mom and our grandma. Our mom raised 5 kids and wore many hats, like we do. Our grandma raised 8, and had 26 grandchildren. Imagine the patience you have to have for that! Sometimes all of us would be together at the same time in the same house. We grew up in total chaos, but loved spending time with each other so much. They really taught us that family is everything.
(C) Bridget said it perfectly! We also grew up babysitting our younger siblings and many, many other families, so you could say we’ve had a lot of training.
What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?
(B) Don’t stress too much about your kid’s schedule. Just when you think you have it down, it’ll change anyway. My third son usually naps in the car or stroller if we aren’t home because of his older brothers’ schedules, and he’s the most adaptable, happy, go-with-the flow child.
(C) Build a support system and don’t ignore your needs. Find friends you can talk to and go out for dinner and drinks every now and then. Hire a babysitter to get out and do something good for yourself, whether that’s something physically good like Bar Method or mentally good like getting your nails done. Practicing self-care will make you a better mom!
Thank you Bridget and Caitlin for taking the time to answer our questions. I for one loved this workout when I was pregnant and think it really helped my labor and delivery. Please join us next week for a free class to try it for yourself; pregnant or not!
Here is the link to sign up for class!