Like most women, during my first pregnancy I spent a lot of time imagining what motherhood would be like. At the time, I was working full time outside of the home and how I’d spend my days on maternity leave was something of a mystery to me.
Would I pass the hours glazing gleefully at my baby as he slept?
Would I learn to knit or take up scrapbooking or make pasta from scratch like my mother-in-law did?
As it turned out, it was a definite “no” to all of the above. My baby had colic and when he slept I was most likely deciding between taking a shower and eating my first meal of the day at 3 p.m. I was also not one for hobbies, being as exhausted as I was. When I think back to that time of my life, the new mommy period I’d thought so much about, the one word that describes my experience is this: Isolated.
With the exception of the occasional visitor I spent much of my days alone, except for my child. Looking back I wish I’d gotten out of the house more instead of staying stuck in my new mommy bubble. I’m not sure I would have known what to do, though.
Now that I’ve had not one but three babies, I like to think I know the ropes. I’ve listed 15 ideas for mommy-baby dates below. They’re not expensive and they don’t require much planning at all. Best of all, they help nurture the bond you share with your child.
1. Start small with a walk around the block.
2. Take your baby to the mall for a bit of window shopping.
3. Go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for an afternoon visit!
4. Head to the local bakery for a sweet treat for mom and some cuddle time for baby.
5. Visit the library together.
6. Colicky babies sometimes love car rides, so go on an evening drive together.
7. Put Baby in a wrap or sling and walk to your favorite coffee shop.
8. Sign up for a Mommy-Baby yoga class!
9. Visit the farmer’s market with your baby. Let him hold the veggies and fruits as you describe each one.
10. Don’t think that your baby is too young to have fun at a street fair or festival…she’ll love all the sights and sounds!
11. Does your baby love animals? Take her to the pet store to check them out up close.
12. Visit an arboretum or rose garden with your baby. Let him smell the flowers.
13. Take your little water baby swimming at the local indoor pool.
14. Is there a parade coming up? Take your baby along in a sling or stroller.
15. Visit your (or your partner’s) workplace. Coworkers will love to oooh and aaah!
Do you have suggestions for the new mamas out there? Leave them in the comments!
Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. She writes about all things toddler at Babble’s Toddler Times. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.