When I found out I was pregnant I was super excited for maternity leave. It meant an entire year of freed up weekdays. Since joining the 8-5 work grind I had really missed my free weekdays. Of course this was pre-children days when I thought I would be super woman and get a whole bunch of things done. Little did I know how much time this little guy would take up.
“So what do you do all day”? People (other than stay at home moms) are under the impression that stay at home moms do nothing all day other than stare at their child. In my case, yes this is partly true. Before you start rioting at my door aka. Facebook news feed, hear me out. My stage in parenting may be different than your stage. Right now I have a 10 month old baby boy that is crawling and somewhat walking all over my partially baby gated home. There is only one of him and one of me which means he requires my constant attention. There is only so much self-playing he can do before he starts freaking out and wants me by his side at all times. What am I doing? Basically sitting there as he uses me as his prop to stand and wiggle and laugh. He’s pretty good during the day but the later in the day and the longer we have been at home, the more clingy he gets. So yes maybe I am just sitting around staring at the baby. But you try cooking a hot meal or mopping a wet floor with a crying baby clinging on to you at all times.
So back to the question of what do you do all day. Well here’s a few things that I find have helped me survive mat leave and keep the little guy entertained at least partially
1) Go to the Early Years Centre
Ontario has a great program called Early Years that is geared towards child development from birth to 6 years. There are centres all over the province and it is free of charge. Programs are facilitated to provide a safe place for parents and children to get together to participate in activities that help strengthen bonds, help children develop and learn, play and socialize.
I love the Early Years centre and we go there at least two – three times a week. I’ve been going ever since Lincoln was a little under 2 months. We have done Infant Massage, Baby Blanket Time, Baby Basics, Make the Connection, Artistic Infants and Sensory Play. Most of the programs are free but some have a registration fee. Some of them are drop in and some you have to register for. The Early Years centre is just such a great place for moms to get out of the house and let their kids play in a safe and fun place. You get to meet other moms, which is not as awkward as it may seem. It’s a great place to ask any questions you may have or just to vent about the sleepless nights. You’re all going through the same thing. It’s also fun to see all the babies play with each other. We’ve been going for so long that we see a lot of the same babies and you get to see them all grow together. I attribute this place to the reason why Lincoln is not shy and has developed and learnt so much already.
2) Play dates with Friends
If you have friends with kids, great! Get together and let the kids play while you enjoy some quality adult time. I was lucky and many of my friends had babies around the same time. The best feeling is being able to catch up with a friend you wouldn’t normally get to see often, on a week day!
3) Go Outdoors
Weather permitting of course. Lincoln was born in the dead of winter and during one of the coldest months to date! It was kind of nice being able to stay indoors and not have to struggle in the Canadian winter, but we did get a little cabin fever. The moment it got nicer out we started going for daily walks, meeting up with friends at the park and just plain hanging around outside. I find if we are stuck in the house all day we both start to get on each other’s nerves so it’s great to just step outside and get some fresh air. Sometimes when he was being extra fussy all I would have to do was sit out on our front porch and he would instantly calm down. Now that it’s getting a bit colder it’s not as easy. We have to bundle up first before we go outside, but we still do if its not too crazy out.
4) Go to the mall
source: Lars Plougmann via flickr
The mall is a great alternative for those cold, rainy or snowy days. You get your mini exercise and baby gets to see new things. This is when a carrier is great because some of those aisles are too narrow to be shoving your stroller through. The other great thing about malls is the breastfeeding rooms. Most malls have a separate room for moms to chill and safely feed baby without having to cover up in the food court. Lots of them even have microwaves for heating up formula or food for your little ones.
5) Rotating rooms
Sometimes you just have to stay home. If you’re home all day it can get a bit boring for both you and baby. I know around 4 or 5 Lincoln starts to get fussy because he’s tired out all his toys and possible play areas. I’m usually counting the minutes when Daddy will be coming home just so there’s a new face around the house. I find just simply going into a different room and letting him explore a bit does the trick. Babies are just like us, they get bored. Go figure!
6) Making a mess
The best way to entertain a baby is to let him make a mess. It’s also a great way for them to learn and develop skills. So get baby naked let him play with some baby safe paint, mush around in some soft pureed foods or finger foods, splash in some water. Sometimes you just gotta let go. The moment you stop worrying about keeping a clean immaculate home with a baby around, the much more happier and relaxed everyone will be. You don’t have to completely let it go, but a tiny bit won’t hurt.
So what do you do all day? Haha just kidding! But seriously if there’s anything you’d like to add to this list, please share below.
Main Feature Image Source: Haylee Sherwood via flickr