In 2009, when H1N1 (swine) influenza came to the Washington, DC, area, I was working full time (at the toxic environment described in this post) with an infant and a three year old. One of my colleagues - not unkindly, just matter of fact - said to another, "Of course Jill's kids will get it, they get everything." Yes, we got it.
My baby had a fever of 103.5 and was in and out of the hospital. My husband and I got it. Our three year old got it. One of our dogs got it. There was a shortage of antiviral medication and I had to spread my germs while driving from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to get medicine for the baby. It had to be kept refrigerated. Our fridge died. We laugh about it now (because we have a twisted sense of humor), but it was a two week period where someone was constantly sick, weak, needy.
Why am I sharing this story with you? To give you the backstory on why MoBu Kids doesn't mess around when it comes to germs. Since I purchased the business in 2014, we have focused on keeping our equipment and facility CLEAN and safe. Other children's based businesses in the area tout using "organic" and "natural" products for cleaning. I believe in using cleaning products that are proven to kill germs, including viruses. (Also, a lot of so-called "natural" products trigger my asthma and that of my children, who you likely see cleaning the equipment on weekends.)
So what are we doing during this COVID-19 outbreak? We are cleaning our equipment hourly with a bleach solution. We have removed any toys that cannot be quickly and easily wiped down, such as books and plush toys, and also toys that may accidentally wind up in mouths, such as our play kitchen food.` We ask that you wash your hands when you enter MoBu and before/after eating any snacks. We have sanitizer available as well as soap. And if you see something, say something to the staff. Please, speak up. Ask that equipment be wiped down if you have concerns. Our mission is to keep children safe and healthy.
Meanwhile, my day job has me busier than ever working on the COVID-19 outbreak. I am really proud to be a part of the response to this epidemic and anything I learn about prevention will be applied immediately at MoBu Kids. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me at info @ mobukids.com.
Now, go wash your hands!
Recently, we received the following request via our Facebook page:
Love MoBu, but can really only go on the weekends (if there isn’t a birthday party) because of the hours. Winter can be rough with toddlers and we wish we could stop by more because my 2 year old ALWAYS has a blast here!! Would you consider extended seasonal hours 1-2 days a week?? I’m guessing lots of parents would love more options before bedtime when it gets dark so early.
I responded by noting that we do have three hours of Open Play every Sunday morning and one hour of Open Play on Saturday mornings. Furthermore, last winter we had extended hours daily, but no customers. However, we would look into scheduling hours and see what we can do.
Well, YOU ASKED FOR IT! Beginning February 11, we will be open until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. This is a pilot project to gauge demand, but if it is successful, we will continue to do this throughout the remainder of the winter and spring months.
Thanks so much for letting us know what you would like at MoBu Kids!
Hi friends -
It is bittersweet that I write this. MoBu Kids is seeking a new owner. I am so very proud of the new location, the space and the staff. I love your families and your babies, and every time I walk through the door it brings a smile to my face.
This endeavor was supposed to be a new career for me. Six years ago, when I purchased MoBu from its founder (who relocated to Florida), I was planning to leave the glamorous (eye roll) world of government relations behind to run MoBu Kids full time but I kept getting lured back by offers I couldn't refuse. And, to be honest, I really love my day job. It is incredibly rewarding to me. For those who don't know, I do federal government relations for a biomedical research facility. The researchers for whom I work are world renowned and solving problems such as cancer, dementia, addiction, and so much more. I am proud to be a community resource for your families via MoBu Kids, but on the other hand I am so fulfilled knowing that I am enabling brilliant scientists to solve some of the most debilitating diseases - most of which will impact every family in America at one time or another.
MoBu Kids needs an owner who is devoted to it full time. Who is on the ground and in the store. Who bonds with the kids and their parents. To whom it is their first professional priority. At least, that's what I think it needs to take it to the next level.
After much soul searching with the MoBu Spouse and my MoBu Kids, after weighing the time and energy that MoBu takes away from my family - Lo, the burden of teenagers, their travel sports, emotions, and social lives - after all of that, it was decided that something has to give. Sadly, that thing is MoBu.
Given that MoBu has only been operating in the new location for 16 months and was shut down for two years prior, there isn't a strong balance sheet to offer up. For the right person, I would happily seek the cost of the build-out and equipment. It is practically turn key, with software and staff and supplies and printed materials. It just needs the right person to make a go of it.
If you are interested in more information, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for letting me be a part of your lives for six years. I am so sad to leave, but my family needs me.
Owner, MoBu Kids
As I prep for Small Business Saturday, I can't believe we are |thisclose| to the year 2020. I keep hearing Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs narrating things in my mind. Earlier today, I purchased a new desk calendar and a personal planner. Things that I have floating around in my brain are making it to paper - FINALLY! I have also updated our website and iclasspro software with classes and events for the next two months.
I feel a sense of accomplishment that I'm certain will be short lived, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.
I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. Check our home page for our Small Business Saturday deals tomorrow!
When my second child was born, I was working for a boutique government relations firm in Washington, DC. I was luckier than most of my mommy peers in that I was able to take 12 weeks off for maternity leave - half of that was even covered by vacation leave and short term disability. I had my own office with a door that shut so that I could pump in privacy and brought in a mini-fridge to store the bottles. I did the daycare drop off and my husband picked up. On paper, this was a pretty sweet setup. In reality, the second child nearly broke me.
The partners in my firm did not have children, did not desire to have children, and frankly thought it was weird that anyone would prefer to pay for daycare rather than a cruise on the QEII. There was no working from home option. Working from home on evenings and weekends was expected but weekdays I was expected to be at my desk. Everyone who has ever had a child knows that they get sick a lot that first year - even more so in a daycare setting. My baby had colic. He wouldn't nap at daycare or without being held. My baby blues turned into full blown postpartum depression. I was being disciplined at work for my absences and my mommy mush brain. I hate to admit that this continued for over a year. I don't remember a lot from that year, to be honest, just that it was horrible. My baby grew and eventually overcame the colic and at 15 months began napping without being held so he finally napped in daycare. He became pleasant to be around.
Things at work did not improve and I questioned my choice of career, wondered where I should go, and eventually had my AHA moment. I desperately needed a drop in daycare and we didn't have any near us. I would open one! I could be my own boss. I could take my children to work. I could help other moms who were in my same position! Thus, my small business journey began...
Mom's Day Out has become one of our most loved offerings at MoBu Kids. Many families have become "regulars" and we are delighted that the children have become friends. Starting this fall, Mom's Day Out will be offered as a weekly class. It is our hope that the weekly playtime will build a sense of community among the children knowing that their BFF will be waiting for them at MoBu. For parents, you can plan your appointments weeks in advance and rely on the regularity of the schedule.
In addition, we are adjusting the start and end times, with it running from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm on Wednesdays (only a 15 minute change.) We will be offering a snack and lunch to enrolled children (another change.) As always, every MDO will include a craft project and fun activities.
What about drop ins? If the class does not fill up, we will offer the remaining slots on a week by week basis at the regular walk in price. We may also add one MDO per month on another day of the week or on a weekend.
What about Pearachute/Kidpass enrollments? As with walk ins, if we have extra space we will offer it on our partner sites.
Class enrollment will begin on July 31st.
It has been a trying month without a working gate to our Open Play area. As many of you know, a child swung on our gate pulling it off the wall.
The frame underneath the drywall is metal, and it is nearly impossible to reattach our wooden gate without opening the drywall and attaching it to the metal frame. Should the contractor have done it during build out? Yes, but that ship has sailed.
It has taken too long to find someone willing to work with the metal frame and install the gate properly so we have installed a pressure mounted walk through gate. This probably won't be our permanent solution, but it will work until we can find someone to fix the wooden gate.
Please do not let your children swing or hang from the gate. Thanks!
We recently received the following question and I thought some of you might be curious about the answer. I have edited it here to hide personal details:
my daughter has attended several of your mom’s morning outs. She (and I) have really enjoyed them. I booked them through Pearachute and noticed that the most recent ones have changed the age to 2.5 years. I wondered if this was an error or if you had really changed the accepting age? I also noticed that you had decreased the number allowed and was curious if this was an error?
Thanks for reaching out with your questions. Pearachute is a great resource for us to fill in our class vacancies and reach new customers and I'm glad you found MoBu Kids that way. However, we only receive 50% of the price of the class. Our contract with them specifies that they will pay us half of what we charge for a walk in customer. As a small business, we cannot afford to offer more than a couple spots via Pearachute and other similar services. It's unfortunate, but we are a business and there are expenses.
As to the age change, we have many younger children enrolled that need a higher staff to child ratio. As we are filling in empty spots, we are looking for older children to balance the numbers.
You are always welcome to register your child directly through us. You can use our parent portal at https://app.iclasspro.com/parentportal/mobukids/camps?camptype=2 and use the code "save10" for 10% off the regular price. Our MDO list for the entire summer is there and many are nearing capacity. Additionally, in the fall we plan to offer MDO weekly as a class of 8 sessions. It will allow the children to bond as a playgroup and for parents to make plans weeks ahead of time.
I'm sorry I'm not able to accommodate you through pearachute at this time, but you are welcome to keep checking back as we see how many slots we have remaining as we get closer to the event.
Owner, MoBu Kids
Summer hasn't even begun and we have so many things going on at MoBu Kids!
First off, the camps that you know and love are back but you may notice that we have a slimmed down schedule this year. We have had many requests for Moms Day Out to continue through the summer months. It has become one of our most popular classes. In response to that, we say LET'S DO IT! Our summer schedule will alternate between weeks of camp and weeks with a Moms Day Out and lots of Open Play. You will also notice that we have weekend Moms Day Out scheduled! We are trying it on two Sundays and one Saturday this summer. If you like it, we will keep it on the schedule this coming fall and winter.
One more change coming to our summer schedule is our Saturday Parent's Night Outs starting at an earlier time. You asked for a 5:30 pm start time, so we have it on the schedule in June, July, and August.
Our summer mini-sessions are back this year. Four weeks of classes with unlimited Open Play during the month.
We are excited to see you back at MoBu Kids!
We have adjusted our hours this spring and will be closing at 5:00 PM on weeknights. As a working mom, it was hard to make the decision as I fear it makes MoBu less accessible to families. However, with the onset of warmer weather and more daylight, there was considerably less demand for evenings at MoBu. We will revisit the issue as the year progresses. As always, let us know what we can do to improve your experience at MoBu Kids!