The birth of a child, especially the first one, affects many aspects of a mother’s life. Protecting and caring for a new baby is a big responsibility and sometimes overwhelming. A baby expects you to meet its every need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. New moms need some time off to recharge their batteries. They also need a network of new mothers for help and advice to keep stress levels out of the red. Here are some social activities to help keep your sanity intact and meet up with other moms.
Look for a moms club in your area that you can join. There is an official MOMS (Moms Offering Moms Support) Club with chapters in most large cities while other more informal groups will advertise on meetup.com. I suggest searching on the internet for “moms club +your city” to find out what’s in your area. These organizations help to create small groups of new stay at home moms in similar locations that meet regularly for play dates and shared babysitting. It’s a great way to find playmates for your new baby and adult friends that share a similar experience.
Each group organizes activities such as a play date at a park or an individual’s house so that the kids entertain each other and the moms can have time to talk and share stories. I’ve also seen groups that arrange a rotating schedule of babysitting to let each mother have a couple of hours by herself to run errands. Being a mom is a very difficult job, but it gets easier when you have other mothers who can help answer questions and give some advice.
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress and it will help get off any baby weight that you gained during pregnancy. The better you feel about yourself, the better you will handle all the new experiences of taking care of a baby. Many gyms offer a few hours of supervised playtime for children between the ages of 6 months to 12 years included with your membership or for a small fee. At our club, the attendants are given background checks and must know CPR and first aid. Check with your local fitness club and see what resources are available.
Also, don’t forget to sign up for a regular class such as dance, aerobics, or cycling. It will help you meet new friends with a similar interest. Plus you might be less likely to skip the gym if you have a scheduled event with people you see regularly. You may even find that you really look forward to exercising because it is a welcome break from staying home with the baby.
Starting or joining a book club is a great way to stay connected to adults so that your life does not completely revolve around your child. Take an evening off once a month to get together with other mothers to discuss a new book. You’ll end up reading some really good books and keep your brain engaged. You don't have to have a large group. I started a book club with 3 other moms and our smaller group meant fewer schedules to work out when planning a meeting.
If you want to skip the book, just plan a dinner out with your friends. Even if it’s only once a month, you might be surprised at how much even one evening off helps to recharge your batteries. Also, going to a nice restaurant really inspired me to get in shape and back in regular clothes. At our dinners, there was never a shortage of funny stories, and laughing all night was a great stress reliever. So take care of yourself as well as your baby, and both of you will end up happier and healthier because of it.