Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mom & Baby Activities (or How to Get Out of the House with an Infant)

This is an excerpt from a previous post from my craft blog, Peach Stitches. I though it would be applicable here! 

I've never had trouble filling my days -I always have some project in the wings just waiting to get finished. When little H came along, I knew I would need to make use of his nap time and dad time for my crafty endeavors. However, I never gave any thought to what I would do with all the time that H was awake. At our last base, I had a whole group of pregnant friends and friends with kids. I figured my days would be filled with all the activities I was constantly trying to fit in around work - walks with the girls, play-dates, trips to Starbucks... then we moved.

I knew how to make friends before having a baby - work, socials, shopping. Before the baby, I could make plans at a moments notice and do just about everything. Now I have to consider nap times, meal times, and the fact that little H requires at least part of my attention all the time. So new plan. I would have to find a few new mom friends and some new mom-baby activities.

Luckily, most moms are looking for something similar, so there are a variety of groups that cater to moms looking to hang out with other moms. After a Facebook conversation with one of my best friends (also a new mom), I thought a list of mom-baby activities might be helpful. (Plus this way I will have all the links in one place!)

Most of these national organizations have local chapters that offer a variety of activities. It is certainly about finding the right fit for you and your kid so give them a try- most let you try an activity or two for free. Feel free to add any additional resources you know about. (I'm certainly no expert!)

Military Spouse Clubs - most have a play group or other child friendly options
MOPS - Mothers of  Preschoolers
La Leche League International -  I haven't been to one of these yet, but I have several friends who loved the breastfeeding support groups.
Stroller Strides - play groups in addition to a whole host of fitness options. This has been my life saver. It gives me a reason to get out of the house, knocks "workout" off my to do list and provides access to a bunch of mom's who have been through what I've been through.
Gymboree Classes  - We haven't checked these out yet, but my Stroller Strides mom's swear by them for an indoor winter activity. It is on my to do list for after the Holidays.
Pottery Barn Kids Story Time - Every Tuesday at 11am with some weekend special events. Call your local store to confirm.
Bring your Baby Matinee - There isn't one here in the springs, but I went in Atlanta and loved the idea that I could bring my baby to the movies with me. I wish this was offered at more theaters.
Monkey Bizness & Little Monkey Bizness  - These are not available everywhere (yet) but one just opened in the Springs. You pay per kid (different rates for walkers and crawlers), but adults are free. There are bounce houses and a variety of little climbing and play structures. It is quite fun and a great place to go for a play date so you have another mom to talk to.

Public Library - Library story times are our favorite! Since I can't link to all the public libraries here are my favorites from the places we have been this summer: Pikes Peak Library District (Colorado Springs), USAFA Base LibraryHampstead Public Library (Montgomery, AL),  Fulton County Library (Atlanta, GA)

YMCA  - The Pikes Peak YMCA's offer 2 hours of child care so you can work out (something the base gyms don't offer) as well as a variety of classes for children, families, and individuals. H and I will hopefully be taking a swimming class very soon!

Montgomery Zoo - This place deserves (and will hopefully get) its whole own blog post at Out of Edwards. They have great activities for families and kids, in addition to the normal fun you would have at the zoo. I can't wait for H to be old enough to try out one of their Stroller Safari's. Again, check out your local zoo because they are bound to have these type of activities.

Children's Museums - I know your thinking that your child is too little for a children's museum. While many activities are aimed at slightly older kids. H has been to Children's Museums in Denver, EriePittsburgh and played for a full two hours. (He is a bit ahead of the curve on the mobile side for a 7 month old, but we see plenty of other babies there having a good time.) For the most part H is free at these museums so I only have to pay admission for the adults with us. We ended up getting a membership to the museum in Denver that offers membership benefits at other museums.

One more resource to check out - the Rookie Mom's Blog has a list of activities to try with kids of any age. I particularly found their list of "25 Things to Try during Maternity Leave" helpful at giving me suggestions to get out of the house with the little one.

A special thanks to everyone who has helped me fill my days with activities H and I can both enjoy.

After reading all sorts of stories about losing your old "non mom" friends in Parenting magazines,  I also want to thank my non-mom friends that continue to hang out with H and I. These ladies have accompanied us to the zoo, park and even had us in their homes. They always smile when H throws one of his fits. I have a special place in my heart for my friends that have accommodated my life change with such grace.

This is stating the obvious, but nights away from the little ones really do make the heart grow fonder ... so don't discard those activates you enjoyed before baby either. Now I just need to find a good babysitter! (Update: I've found a wonderful young lady across the street that H just adores. She is everything you would want in a babysitter - she tells me he missed me (we are having a lot of of separation anxiety these day) but reassures me that they had a great time. Plus, he is always asleep when I get home!) 

*Update 12/2012 - 10 Things You Should Do During Baby's First Year from babble.com

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