I Spy Interview: Parentheses Montreal
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about visiting Parethèses Montréal, a new parent-baby café in Griffintown, where you can drop your child off for a few hours of babysitting. Busy co-owners and moms Stéphanie Raymond-Bougie and Sandra Joseph took some time out to answer questions about how and why they started this chic pitstop for parents.
I Spy Montréal: I love spending time with my baby, but I need to get out of the house. I would really like to get a coffee and feel like an adult again. Parenthèses-Montréal, can you help me?
Stéphanie: Definitely, while you are enjoying a nice Illy Coffee latté or a massage, an educator will take care of your little one in a nice and secured play area. You can choose to go shopping for a couple of hours, meet with a client or have the whole day to yourself.
Sandra: We wanted to create a place where parents will feel at home and where they can relax and have peace of mind when it comes to the care of their kids.
I Spy Montréal: When you walk into Parenthèses-Montréal, it doesn’t look like other parent-baby cafés or play centres. It looks like the living room I wish I had. The play room is in a different area, and kids are supervised by an educator – not mom or dad. Why did you decide to set it up this way?
As new parents, we are still individuals who need “adult time” in a nice setting. We wanted to re-create the same atmosphere we enjoyed before becoming parents, but with all the accommodation needed for our new status. When we go out, we do not necessarily wish to be surrounded by 10 other children running around, so we felt like a separated area was necessary. In order for parents to feel secure to leave their child, we made sure to implement an educational program and have experienced personnel onsite.
I Spy Montréal: You’re planning to host discussions about work-life balance and installing a TV so that parents can watch sports if they want to while the kids play. Do you think that, in general, parents sacrifice too much of their “old life” when they have a baby?
We think that every parent should be able to make decisions that respect their true beliefs, without feeling pressure to act in a certain way. Whether it’s being at home or leading the corporate world, we should be respectful about everyone’s choices – this is what Parenthèses-Montreal is all about. No judgment, just people that care about your needs as parents. Editor’s note: For Montreal Canadiens games held in Montreal, Parenthèses will keep the childcare service open till 9:30 p.m. (cost: $45/3 hours), and will show the games in the café. Reservations must be made in advance; call the number below.
I Spy Montréal: Can you outline your membership program?
We offer three membership packages, with prices varying between $50 and $100/month. They provide different discounts on most of our services. Each of them are designed to fit the needs of parents and future parents. Depending on the package, future parents get different discounts on the prenatal classes and parents get between 2 and 5 hours at the daycare center.
As members, parents and future parents will benefit from many services:
- Exclusive collection of hand-made truffles and macaroons, prepared on-site.
- Workshops and training sessions with specialists on maternity, perinatality and parenthood
- Monthly themed happy hours that promote discussions between parents
- Day-care centre, also called Halte (parent), that welcomes children from 0 to 5 years old
- Rental space available for family events (birthdays, baptisms, etc.)
- Massage, pedicure and manicure services at our (Parent) Spa
I Spy Montréal: You and Sandra both had your first child about 16 months ago and have launched this business in the meantime. That’s busy! What has kept you motivated along the way?
Stéphanie: Our desire to create a unique space for parents, but mostly our husbands, friends and family, who believed in our project and were always there to support and help us! Thank you guys!!!!!
Sandra: Stéphanie and I were both professionals in our own fields, and before having our children, we would keep ourselves busy doing some volunteering. Now, times have changed and we decided to work on our own project for the last two years. It was not always easy, but we would cheer each other up by saying, “If it was easy, everyone would do it!” Also, we are surrounded by great people and this makes a big difference when you have a team you can count on.
I Spy Montréal: Can you share a favourite weekend family destination?
Stéphanie: I enjoy the Lachine Canal for a nice walk and the outdoor library in the summer.
Sandra: I love to get away and be with family. We went to Mont Tremblant for the weekend this summer; I think it is a great getaway when you have a couple of days to spare!
I Spy Montréal: Great to meet you, Stéphanie and Sandra!
1384 Notre Dame St. W.