Meet Marisa! - Columbus Moms Network

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

I have a 2 year old daughter, Colette, and a newborn baby boy, Hayes.

How long have you lived in Columbus and what made you decide to live here?

I moved to Columbus in August 2020. I begrudgingly left warm and sunny Florida for my husband’s job in Ohio, but now I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else! It is so nice to experience all four seasons.

What are some of your favorite things to do as a family in Columbus?

We love to visit The Franklin Park Conservatory, check out local breweries, and enjoy all of the beautiful outdoor parks in the city.

Tell us about the Gab Lab and how it came about.

The Gab Lab (TGL) came about when we were looking for something to do with our own children as we began to emerge from the pandemic. As speech pathologists, we understood the importance of socialization and exposure to language opportunities for communication development. As first time moms, we craved a reason to get out of the house and connect with other parents and their babies. So, TGL was born! We wanted to create a class that empowered caregivers with the tools to get their little ones talking.

What types of classes and events do you hold at the Gab Lab? 

We offer grown up & me sensory play classes, led by speech pathologists. Classes are geared for babies and toddlers, ages 6 months to 3+ years. Our motto is “learning language through play,” and that is exactly what we do every class! Each week we explore a unique theme, with new vocabulary words, language concepts, speech goals, and developmentally appropriate activities.

Describe to us what a typical class looks like and what someone could expect when they attend a class.

As speech pathologists, we know that language is best learned through repetition. So, all of our classes follow a similar structure incorporating music, movement, and sensory play in themed bins. We greet all of our friends with a special hello, talk about our sound of the day, use gestures as we sing songs, and break into small groups to rotate through sensory bin activities. Throughout class, caregivers receive tips and tricks on how to best elicit communication from their child. There are always fun surprises like bubbles and parachutes too!  After class, caregivers receive an email with even more ideas to enhance communication throughout their everyday routines at home.

What do you love about your job?

We love seeing the joy on children’s faces when they are exploring new sensory experiences. We also love being able to support parents as they navigate speech and language development. Getting feedback from parents that say their child is talking so much more after going to TGL, makes it all worth it!

What does a typical day look like for you?

Work wise, I am in charge of the creative stuff for Gab Lab. From sensory bin creation to social media content – that is my jam. I teach classes and work on TGL during the two days a week that my daughter goes to school. On the other days, I’m in stay-at-hom-mom-mode. Lots of playdates, trips to the park, library storytime, and one hour a week to myself to play tennis!

How do you juggle work and being a mom?

I’ve always struggled with wanting to do it all. This led to multitasking 24/7, stress, forgetfulness, and just constantly feeling pulled in multiple directions. I recently read the quote, “be where your feet are” and that has made a huge difference for me. When I’m with my family, I try to be fully present. When I’ve set aside hours to work, I try to be fully engaged. That means setting boundaries and not trying to answer emails while on the playground has been a game changer!

What is the best piece of advice you received from another mom?

Everything is a phase! And in those particularly hard moments, close your eyes and imagine yourself at 80 years old. Imagine you get one more day with your child this young and it is at this very moment. That perspective has helped me through so many of the difficult moments as a first time mom.

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