Meet a Mom – Naomi Panzer | Essex County Moms

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


I have two kids at Millburn High School – Jake 17 and Zoe 14.


  1. How long have you lived in Short Hills/Millburn/Livingston and what made you decide to live here?


6 years. But we also lived in Short Hills for 5 years when the kid were babies/preschool. Both kids were born at St. Barnabas and we lived in the Deerfield section of SH. Then we moved to CT for a few years and returned to Short Hills in 2012 as they began 6th and 3rd grade.


3.Tell us about your business and what other local things you are involved in!  And how did you get started?


I created The Write Fit, a nonprofit empowerment program for girls, in 2011. I had gotten my kids yoga certification but was itching to do something different. While swimming laps one day, I had this idea of combining yoga/movement/games with journal writing to allow girls to release physical energy to better manage their emotional selves. I realized that when I exercised, I was a better mom, wife, human being and was more positive and upbeat. I wanted to give girls this experience, too, because I think it is so incredibly difficult to be a girl these days. Kids — especially girls — have lost the ability to tap into themselves when they have a problem and are more likely harm themselves or resort to numbing (alcohol, pot, etc.). Social media is much worse for girls than boys. Plus you have all the other “girl stuff” like managing friendships (this is an ongoing practice that we as moms are still navigating!), juggling activities, academic pressure, bodily changes and generally feeling like you don’t really know who you are. In addition to The Write Fit programs for girls, I also teach yoga for kids, tweens, teens and have a boys-only class, and teach private sessions, too. In March I will have completed my 200 hours of teacher training and will probably add adult classes and privates to my offerings. To expand on my commitment to yoga, fitness, and kids’ emotional and physical wellness, I like to bring speakers and programs to our community that I feel are important and helpful to parents and kids – such as the Kind Campaign, Screenagers, and author Nancy Jo Sales (whose book about social media and girls made me want to simultaneously throw up and rescue every girl in America).


4.Favorite thing to do when you need “me time”? 


Get outside and connect with nature. I will either jump in the car and drive to the beach (I’m from Maryland so I say beach not shore!) or go to the South Mountain reservation. In either case, my dog PJ comes with me. The muddier, the better!


5.Favorite place for dinner with kids? 


Our go-to is Legal Seafood in the Short Hills mall. Convenient, always delicious and not super expensive.


6.Most enjoyable place to hang out?


Outside – the So Mountain reservation. Inside – Squirrel & The Bee in Millburn. Yummy food, love Michelle the owner, you can stay as long as you like and you always run into friends.


7.How do you balance your career and being a mom?


I build my teaching schedule around the kids. Being a mom comes first. I teach my classes at times when I’m not “on duty” i.e., I don’t need to drive anywhere. Now that my son is a senior and has his own car, it’s been a lot easier and he pitches in and will pick up or drop off his sister when needed. The thing is, you really never ACHIEVE balance. You shoot for it but you don’t actually get there. So I plan and I schedule and then I roll with it when things don’t go as planned, and keep adjusting to the constant changes.


8.Proudest mommy moment(s)?


My son has been into baseball his whole life. One game when he was 12 or 13, he played particularly well. He pitched an outstanding game and was leading the team to victory, so since we had such a huge lead, coach replaced him with another pitcher. That pitcher did terribly. Our huge lead kept narrowing and suddenly the imminent win turned into an “uh oh, we’re gonna blow it!” So coach put in a third pitcher to relieve the struggling pitcher. The closer did his job and we ended up winning. The team was jumping up and down and coach gave my son the game ball. But the second pitcher was absolutely crushed he had done so badly and nearly lost the game. He and his parents were getting into their minivan and as the boy tearfully closed the door, my son came over to him, handed him the game ball and said, “this is for you.” I will never forget that moment, the look on the boy’s face, or his mom when she looked at me and said, “wow…what kind of kid DOES that?”


9.Can’t believe that happened mommy moment!


Another memory about my son (maybe you only remember your first kid???!). We used to take Amtrak to Maryland often to visit my family. When Jake was 2 or so he would walk up and down the aisles and kiss sleeping passengers to wake them up. Omg. It was so adorable and kind of disgusting at the same time! He loved their expressions when they opened their eyes. I kept having to teach him we only kiss people we actually know.


10.Best advice you have gotten from a mom?


1) When your daughter gets her ears pierced, make sure you go somewhere where they pierce both ears at the same time! Otherwise they’ll get one ear done and she’ll realize how painful it is and refuse to do the second! 2) Accept and love your kids for who they are, not who you want them to be. You had your childhood; now this is their chance to have theirs.


11.Best piece of advice you can give other moms!


Unplug. Take walks with your kids – get outside together and leave the technology at home. Don’t allow your kids to sleep with their phones. (When they get to older teens, maybe allow this on weekends only.) Don’t complain that your kids are always on their screens if you aren’t establishing any rules. For example, if you hate that they stare at their phones in the car with you, make a “no phones in the car” rule. You’re the one in charge. Most important piece of advice: listen to your gut and parent from there, no matter what anyone else is doing. Your gut is always right.


12.One thing people would be surprised to know about you…


I love rap and hip hop!



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