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Chic Spotlight: Toddler Around Town

Cbus Chic: What is Toddler Around Town?
Alissa Henry, Founder of Toddler Around Town: Toddler Around Town is an Instagram account and blog highlighting events and places in Central Ohio geared towards children ages 0-4. 

Cbus Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the account?
Henry: I came up with the idea when my son, Alexander (or #TheGreatAlexander), was almost a year old. At the time, I was a feature reporter on local news and I highlighted fun events and places around Columbus every day. For years, it was literally my job to keep up with events and happenings “around town” and share them with people. Then, as a new mom, I automatically started taking mental notes of places I wanted to either visit for the first time with my son and my husband or revisit with them. I realize that many parents may not know about all of the fun Columbus has to offer for toddlers – or they may be reticent to try new places without a trusted recommendation, so I wanted to be that “guinea pig” for those families. Plus, I love social media and I knew I wanted a place to posts copious amounts of photos and videos of my son besides on my regular Instagram, so Toddler Around Town was created. It’s a place for me to document fun with Alexander, show local businesses some love and inform others about events and activities specifically for toddlers. 

Cbus Chic: Who’s behind it?
Henry: Alexander is two years old and he is the “Toddler Around Town.” I post all of the photos and videos that my husband and I capture.

Cbus Chic: What have you learned from going from TV reporter to stay-at-home mom?
Henry: While I did recently leave my full-time TV reporter job, I am incredibly fortunate to still have a part-time dream job hosting Cash Explosion lottery show. It airs weekly statewide and we tape the episodes here in Columbus a couple of days per month. So, though I stay-at-home far more often than I used to, I am basically a stay-at-home/working mom hybrid.

However, the biggest thing I’ve learned by being home most of the time is that staying at home with a baby or a toddler is TOUGH. I think I have done more cooking, cleaning and laundry in the past year than I had done in the eight years since college combined. I’m not super domestic or Pinterest-perfect, but I am inspired by moms who are and I do my best! Thankfully, my husband is amazing and when he is finally home in the evenings and on weekends, he is ALL in and completely takes over with Alexander. I always joke that when he walks through the door, I am immediately “off the clock with the kid!” Seriously though, I give major props to single moms who are bearing all of the physical, financial and emotional labor of parenthood. They have my never-ending respect. 

I’ve also learned that the transition from working full-time to some of the time is not as easy as I expected. To say I loved my job on TV news would be a massive understatement. It was a position I worked really hard to get and many times I have second-guessed my decision – especially when I meet viewers who say “I miss you on the news” or those darn Facebook memories take me down memory lane. But I made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time. And, besides, nothing is permanent. Today is not forever. I’m certain I will be back working in TV news again one day, so in the meantime, I enjoy the day I am in and appreciate this time I get with Alexander as the gift that it is. 

Cbus Chic: What do you enjoy the most about being a stay-at-home mom?
Henry: What I enjoy most about staying home with Alexander is the quality time we get to spend together. I feel pretty confident that I know every little thing about him. I say that because he spent the first six weeks of his life in the NICU and I had a lot of anxiety thinking the nurses knew him better than I did. Then, when he came home, and I went back to work full time, I felt like the nannies knew him better than I did. In hindsight, these were completely delusional, guilty mom thoughts, but they haunted me. Now, I feel I don’t miss a thing and I know him really well. Honestly, I knew him well back then too. I was just having a rough time mentally.

On a lighter note, I absolutely love being a part of the “mom community”. My husband and I tried for a baby for a while and, in some ways, motherhood is everything I ever dreamed it could be. Alexander and I meet up with friends for playdates, workout with Fit4Mom and Columbus Moms Run This Town, we roam aimlessly around Target drinking Starbucks, and we lay around in our pjs singing along to tons of Little Baby Bum nursery rhyme shows courtesy of Netflix. I make meals for my husband several nights a week and I am finally caught up on laundry after about a year of being behind! I made a tough decision leaving my full time job, but I know no matter what happens in the future, I will always cherish these memories of me and Alexander spending all of this time together. Laughter, tantrums, learning new things, throwing food, sweet snuggles, refusing naps and all! 

Cbus Chic: What makes Toddler Around Town unique?
Henry: I think what makes Toddler Around Town unique is that it is geared specifically toward babies and toddlers. When I was researching my idea, I noticed several fantastic blogs and Instagram accounts showcasing fun activities in Central Ohio for kids in general. However, oftentimes, what is appropriate for a seven-year-old is not also appropriate for a sixteen-month-old – especially one that was a late walker like my son. I want Toddler Around Town to speak directly to moms with little kids.  

Cbus Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon?
Henry: Right now, I am focusing on building Toddler Around Town and adding value to the existing readers and spreading the word to potential new readers. I would love to partner with other moms behind similar Instagram accounts and blogs in the area. I want to find more activities for moms who only have evenings and weekends available to spend out and about with their kids. Motherhood can be very isolating and sometimes it seems like all events are for moms and tots who are available weekdays at 10am. I would also like to add a video component since TV is my thing. Most importantly, I would like to participate in and post about more toddler-friendly community service opportunities. Life is about more than just having fun with my son. I also want to showcase ways we can all help each other. We’re never too young to be a blessing. 

Cbus Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Henry: Follow Toddler Around Town on Instagram or read the blog at AlissaHenry.com

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