Mommyhood can be lonely and overwhelming if you stay at home all day and every day. That’s why I try to get out and about as much as I can!
This week, I went to a Mommy and Me class, a Mom’s Night Out, and a Baby Sign Language Class. Sounds busy? It is. But I love it!
The first couple weeks after my daughter was born, I remember thinking that I understood why people tend to think their life is over after a child- you can’t sleep, eat or do anything you want when you want. And you can’t really entertain friends the way you once could unless they don’t mind the inevitable interruptions- having to nurse baby, change baby, rock baby to sleep, etc.
You life changes after a baby no doubt; but in no way is it “over.” It’s a new adventure everyday!
I started taking my daughter out and about shortly after she was born. And once she hit the 4-week mark, I started going to Mommy and Me classes (now called Babies and Their Grown Ups) once a week. The first time I went, I felt as if I had climbed a mountain! Ok, that’s exaggerating a bit but I really did feel like I accomplished something big.
I was apprehensive about taking her out all by myself. I hadn’t even carried her in the car seat up until that point because I was recovering from the delivery. Needless to say there were some hiccups on the road. First off, moms don’t really have to lift weights because lugging around a diaper bag, purse, baby in car seat and baby’s stuff (up and down the stairs) is quite a muscle-building experience. And if you have a bulky stroller like mine, it adds to the exercise.
Once I got on-site, I had to call my husband to figure out how to take our baby’s car seat out of the stroller! Luckily he picked up the phone because I was scared my baby would end up sitting in the stroller for the whole class. Awkward. Anyway, my baby was the only one who cried during that particular class. In her defense, she was also the youngest newborn/infant there. But as a first time mom who is not used to holding a baby wailing at the top of her lungs while everyone nearby turns to look at you…I felt less put together than all the moms around me. Still, when I got home that day I felt like I had just had my first bout of independence after baby…and with it, came the realization that I could do it. I was no longer afraid of venturing out in the world with her. I had gained some confidence in my new role as a mother.
I gradually got the hang of packing up the baby’s things (burp cloths, swaddle blankets, diapers, wash cloths, extra onesie, bottle, toy, etc) and putting her in the car seat and going out with her. And my daughter also got a routine down. Things are much smoother now and continue to get easier each day. I also learned the other moms in the class are not as put together as I thought in the mind…many of them are just like me, figuring things out along the way or making it up as they go. I realized that no matter how many classes you go to or how many books you read…no parent knows it all.
But the best way to learn is to talk to other moms.
With that in mind, I also joined the MOMS CLUB. Moms Offering Moms Support, or MOMS CLUB, is an international organization with local chapters everywhere. For new moms or stay at home moms, this group is even more special. The club offers play dates, field trips, holiday parties, Mom’s Nights Out, Book Clubs, Cooking Clubs, etc for almost every day of the month! Check out this story I did on them for more information.
I recently went to a local Moms Night Out. I haven’t had the chance to get close to anyone in the MOMS Club so wasn’t sure what to expect. I ended up having a great time! It was just what I needed. Put a bunch of moms together in a room and it doesn’t even matter if you know anyone or not- it’s an instant sisterhood. These are women who get you, who understand why you might smell like spit up or why staying home with baby all day feels like more work than a full time job. They also understand why despite what it may sound like, it’s such a magical experience that we would do it all over again. We chatted and laughed for hours over some dessert fondue. And the best part- I learned so much more about parenting and babies from these moms in a few hours than I would have on google or by reading (which I don’t have much time to do).
I also discovered our local library has a weekly Story Time just for babies! They offer Baby Sign Language classes on days when they don’t do story-time. This was another fun experience to see 30+ parents out with their babies and singing along to baby songs while our little ones watched and played on their floor mats.
So…mommyhood doesn’t have to be lonely. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are so many fun classes, clubs, and activities you can participate in with your child along with the support of other moms. Parenthood is an adventure of a lifetime (if you let it be)! And while you’re on this ride you form a bond unlike any other with your child(ren) and that in itself is priceless.
Movie Recommendation: Moms Night Out (released May 2014)
Sample topics in “Mommy and Me” Classes:
Infant CPR, Fitness for New Parents, Infant Massage, Colds and Flu, Stroller Hikes, etc.