I hate when I play with my kid for six hours, then it turns out it’s only been 20 minutes.
When I am at home, time drags. As a new mom—and hardcore introvert—my natural inclination is to stay at home. Lugging around a car seat, diaper bag, change of clothes, and baby food seems daunting. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that staying at home with a baby is not quite the same as staying home alone. In fact, entertaining a crawling, standing, teething baby for hours on end can drive even the biggest homebody (yours truly) a bit batty. Consequently, I’m constantly searching for baby-friendly places to go to break up the day. Here are a few of my faves:
My church hosts a New Moms Group every Wednesday morning. I drop off my son in the nursery, and he has fun playing with the other kids and toys that we don’t have at home. I get an hour long break and much needed time to socialize with adults. Since the group meets at the same time each week, I always have a bright spot to look forward to on Wednesday mornings.
I’m also a member of several local moms groups on Facebook, and I look forward to group events. If you’re having trouble finding where you fit, I’d encourage you to look for similar groups in your area. (Check out the International MOMS Club which provides support for stay at home moms in the form of fun-filled daytime activities.)
I wish I’d taken my son to the park sooner. He loves swinging, and I love pushing him in the swing. For about a half an hour, he’s happy, calm, and stationary. Usually there are other moms with kids enjoying the park as well. Fun and fellowship, what more could you ask for?
I miss my friends in the corporate world. I’ve spent a fair amount of time mourning the loss of these friendships. Only recently did I realize this is ridiculous. Everyone has to eat lunch right? I arrange lunch dates with working friends once or twice a month. My friends are delighted to see my son, my son enjoys the attention, and I love the conversation. I occasionally sneak in a family lunch date with my husband as well, and my son is always delighted for the surprise visit with his dad.
Babies love movement. My kid is rarely upset in the stroller (and if he is, it’s short lived). It’s easy to put on some running shoes, strap my son in the stroller, and jog around my neighborhood. My dog enjoys this as well and is less likely to mope around after a bit of fresh air. Sometimes I also venture to local parks, such as Percy Warner, Radnor, and Centennial. The different trails allow for exploration which helps keep exercise fun.
If your child doesn’t love the stroller as much as mine, there’s always the YMCA. The YMCA provides childcare, so you can get in a workout without the whining.
Visit the Library
Story time at the library is magical. At my local branch, Ms. Donna sings songs, reads books, and teaches sign language to a room full of kids each Monday. My son listens quietly, taking it all in, and I love that he actually sits calmly in my lap. Many of the older kids sing along, laugh, and catch Humpty Dumpty when he’s dropped each week. Perhaps your local library offers a similar story time? Check this list of story times for your local Nashville Public Library branch.
Check out Cheekwood
I love nature, and I am trying to teach my kid to love nature as well. Cheekwood is a beautiful botanical garden that my son and I enjoy exploring. We play in the grass, eat a picnic lunch near the pond, and watch the trains on the miniature track. There is also a weekly art class called Tuesdays for Tots for the preschool crowd.
Explore the Zoo
The Nashville Zoo is awesome. You can actually pet kangaroos! If that isn’t enough reason to plan a trip, there is also a new spider monkey exhibit. Andean Bears and Sumatran Tigers are also coming later in 2017, as well as White Rhinos! Kids love animals, and what an easy way to teach them about the unique creatures that inhabit the earth.
I’m sure there are additional baby-friendly places that I am leaving off this list—like the Adventure Science Center and the Frist. I simply haven’t visited these places with my son yet. But I look forward to trying them out soon.