Q. I have a 6-week-old and, frankly, I'm bored being at home with her. But the idea of a mother's support group sounds too touchy-feely for me, as does Mommy & Me yoga. And my daughter is too young for music or movement classes. Any other options for me?
If you're anything like we were as new parents -- bone-tired, maybe suffering from a little postpartum angst, living in a body you barely recognize, and isolated in a town you once ruled -- being cooped up with an infant can definitely do a number on your sanity. Congratulations! It took you only six weeks to realize it!
Good news. Across the country, savvy business people have developed a slew of offerings for new moms who want to socialize over something a little more interesting than diaper rash. Miss grown-up entertainment? This new social phenomenon of parent/baby cultural gatherings allows moms to take in adult activities, such as going to museums, movies, even lectures, with tots in tow. Check out these ideas:
- We wish that Loews Theaters' ReelMoms had been around when we had infants. At these specially designated screenings, babies can spit up and scream to their hearts' delight while Mom or Dad gets to watch first-run, non-kiddie flicks, secure that no one will look cross-eyed at them or the baby.
- Definitely consider a Mommy & Me exercise class as well. Really, it's a new-mom trifecta -- you get out of the house, generate endorphins, and bypass the babysitter all at the same time. There are gazillions of classes devoted to helping mothers shape up by incorporating Junior into the exercise routine, such as Baby Boot Camp's strength-training and cardio classes, which have spread to 15 states, and the ubiquitous stroller-based programs like Strollercize and Stroller Strides, which gather moms outdoors under the leadership of fitness experts.
- Lastly, please don't write off all "support groups." Some are more informal and a good deal hipper than you'd imagine -- you might even find one at your neighborhood coffeehouse. Your first reaction notwithstanding, it can be really reassuring to be with parents who've been there or at least can relate to what you and your child are going through.
Also, be sure to check out these other articles on beating mommy boredom:
Kathy Bishop and Julia Whitehead are the authors of The City Parent Handbook: The Complete Guides to the Ups and Downs and Ins and Outs of Raising Young Kids in the City (Rodale).
Originally published in American Baby magazine, May 2005.