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One Fort Worth mom turns pain into purpose to help moms find happiness post-pandemic.

Kylette Harrison is full of surprises, not just for her children, Eli Jack, 4, and Ethan, 2, to whom she dedicates her time, but she breaks the mold of a Fort Worth Instagram mom with seemingly unrealistic standards. In fact, Lacy knows better than most the Grace moms deserve.

"I struggled with pretty severe postpartum depression, and I'm very open about that," she states flatly. It's not a cold delivery, but an honest one. "My number one piece of advice for moms is to get out of the house every day."

Harrison took her advice and got out of the house. This year was her fourth year planning the Christmas event at Christ Chapel Church for over 400 people, and she started a mother-centered Instagram page, full of helpful tips and kid-friendly locations. The page is completely ad-free, with Harrison conducting the field research for products and play areas with her children. 

"Living here has been a dream," says Harrison about Fort Worth. "We live right on the Trinity Trail, and it's so picturesque."

Her husband, David, is from Fort Worth, but Harrison admits she had to adjust to their home near the zoo, joking that she wasn't always so enthralled with the views.

The family moved to Fort Worth from Dallas before the Pandemic, so Harrison found herself in sudden turmoil as a new mom in uncertain times and without a friend to turn to. She also, unknowingly, began experiencing postpartum depression. "I couldn't find a mom sharing helpful things to do," she says. "So that is how @fort.mama was born on Instagram."

Harrison saw that women needed the opportunity to bond and share information about free events and, more importantly, normalize each other's experiences, something in short supply during the period of mandated social distancing. 

"It was a way to use the struggles I experienced," says Harrison. "And maybe, if I could help one mom who doesn't know how to leave the house or meet other moms, it would make it all worth it."

Today, Harrison's Top 10 things to do (screen-free) with kids in Fort Worth are:

  1. Fort Worth Zoo and Safari Splash: "I love feeding the giraffes!" says Harrison. "The play barn in the Texas area of the zoo is our favorite place because we pet the goats, there are tables to have a picnic, and we love the river otters. The Predators of Asia and Africa exhibit is incredible, and we live at the Safari Splash in the summer. It's only $4 for members and $5 for non-members after paying for admission to the zoo."
  2. The Fort Worth Botanic Garden: "It's a slice of Europe in Fort Worth," gushes Harrison. "The kids love to run and are pretty much guaranteed to nap afterward. There is so much to do and explore. We always make sure to buy fish food on the way in for the Koi pond. The memberships are very affordable, and children aged 0-5 get in for free. Members enjoy special events and admission times and reciprocity with the Dallas Arboretum."
  3. Playgrounds: "The Tillery and Dream parks are some of our favorites," says Harrison. "But the Christ Chapel Playground is open to the public Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and I feel like people aren't aware of that. It's a great park to visit, and our kids love it."
  4. The Fort Worth Museum of History and Science: "This place is so much more than just history and science!" says Harrison. "And the Museum school is good for all ages."
  5. When it rains and you have to play indoors: When you are absolutely forced to play indoors but want to keep things unplugged, Imagination Station and Playstreet Museum are great options. "Both locations are locally owned by women," explains Harrison. "And are interactive and fun with reasonable rates for Birthday parties."
  6. Trampoline park: "My favorite trampoline park is Altitude," says Harrison. "On Weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., it is toddler time, where kids can jump at a discounted rate. There’s also a designated area where only little kids can jump."
  7. Zoli’s: "This spot has a great happy hour, outdoor playground, and room to run," says Harrison. "Bring a ball, dump truck, or favorite small outdoor toy to play in the mulch with. The "Dope Sopp" is their award-winning pizza, and their salads are yummy too."
  8. The Stockyards: "This is a tourist favorite," says Harrison. "The small train, pony rides, lunch at Provender Hall, and dessert at Melt Ice Cream can't be missed. The cattle drive starts at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. And Hotel Drover is always a favorite for date night. David and I listen to music and grab a drink there when we can."
  9. Libraries: "The Ridglea, Benbrook, and Reby Cary are our favorite libraries," says Harrison. "Each one has a great schedule of events like story time."
  10. Wild Acre Restaurant and Brewery: The brew spots in Fort Worth are kid-friendly, with coloring books, outdoor spaces to run through, and outdoor games like horseshoes. 

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