I have never been a ‘hobbies’ person. When people ask what my hobbies and interests are I either make something up or confess; reading, drinking, going to the pub, playing board games. Not exactly a list of exciting or unusual pasttimes, and certainly no skills or sports! Even when I was little I would start a club and after a few weeks decide that I didn’t want to go any more. I had so many conversations with my Mum; ‘Mum, I don’t want to go to Brownies again.’ ‘Why? I thought you liked Brownies.’ ‘I do, but not every Tuesday.’ Something about the routine never appealed to me.
Since having a baby, though, I’ve got a newfound appreciation of groups and clubs. I think it’s really important to get out the house and actually do something, to see new things and people. Some days the thought of going out seems terrible; the list of potential disasters (usually involving bodily fluids and/or crying) seems overwhelming and I wonder if it’s such a good idea. But, almost every time, once we’re actually out I love whatever it is we’re doing and feel glad that we left the house. If you hadn’t worked it out by now it’s safe to say I’m pretty lazy, so a day staying at home with books, television and toys is fine with me, but I certainly couldn’t do it every day. I think we both appreciate seeing something other than our living room, playing with new toys and (for me) having adult company.
There’s obviously a load of activities targeted at babies, particularly if you want to pay for them, but I’ve found our local children’s centres fantastic. They run free drop-in play groups, groups for baby sensory play or singing, workshops you can sign up to for information about various aspects of parenting and courses on baby massage. We try to go to a couple of things a week although it depends on what else is going on.
We just started baby massage which was brilliant; he did poo through his vest and onto his towel (thankfully we had to provide our own towel, I wouldn’t have fancied that conversation) halfway through so one of his legs got a great massage. He’s finally starting to nap a lot less during the day so he is usually awake when we go to things now; some of the first drop in groups we went to were fairly pointless as he slept through half of them! At least I got to speak to the parents; meeting other mums and dads who are in the same situation as me is reassuring and definitely helps keep me sane!
Even if we don’t go to a group we will usually go for a walk. I live near a brilliant park so most days we’ll walk up there and have a stroll round. This is definitely more for me; TM usually sleeps in his pram/sling for most of it! Getting the fresh air, stretching my legs and changing the landscape of 4 walls makes me feel much better, breaks the day up and usually significantly improves my mood. He’s not really old enough to appreciate going out and doing lots of different things but I think they are really good habits to get into now that we can keep up as he gets older and socialising becomes more important.
The only downside to getting out is the fact that B works evenings, so when we are out all day we hardly see him. It does mean our stay-home days are nicer though as we are all together and I don’t go quite so stir crazy!
I’d love to know what everybody’s favourite things to do are. Are you homebodies or do you like to get out and about?