Keen to make the most of the last of summer with your friends and family close by? But perhaps you’re a new parent and suddenly summertime doesn’t seem as easy, or fun as it once did? I’ve been there.
Some days, leaving the house with a new baby felt impossible. By the time we had packed up all the necessary ‘stuff’, my boy would be ready to feed again, or nap again, or there’d be some other kind of situation requiring our attention (nappy explosion anyone?).
Sometimes I felt so torn between wanting to maintain the social lifestyle I had loved pre-baby, or instead throw my hands up in the air and pop it in the too-hard basket (not to be confused with the overflowing washing basket – that’s another story).
What I didn’t realise was that I could find a happy medium, with my child along for the ride. Here are some of my tried and tested tips for enjoying spending time with your friends and your baby, and importantly, how to carve out some time for yourself too.
Let visitors hold or play with your baby.
How many times have you made a tea or coffee and watched it go cold as you try to do everything? You don’t need to entertain your guests. Remember, they’re there to see you and your kid, not to be waited on hand and foot.
Let grandparents help – they love it!
And remember, they had this parenting gig once too. If you’re lucky enough to have them close by, use their offers of help to allow you to find a moment for yourself – to take a short walk, or do something that nurtures you. I often took this opportunity to have a nap and recharge. Parenthood is full of challenges, but a nurtured, happy mama is a better mama and role model for her kids.
Meet at locations that suit your family’s lifestyle.
This has always helped me to be more present and engaged and actually enjoy the social experience. Our go-tos for playdates have been parks, child-friendly venues such as the zoo or museum, and larger, casual cafes. One fabulous product that’s worth taking with you is the Fisher-Price On-the-Go Baby Dome. For newbies and young ones not yet on the move, the Dome is such a great protected spot to play, or even to snooze. It’s super-light and very easy to set up and pack down. It also comes complete with a UPF20 canopy for sun protection, and removable animal friends for playtime. It’s just a little something that makes those outings much more achievable. A win in my book.
Entertain friends at home.
So many of our friends now also have children, which makes understanding each other’s lifestyles much simpler. Many of them are younger than ours though, so we’re often low on age-appropriate toys. It can be so tricky to find toys and products that can be adapted to various ages easily. The Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym, that we had the opportunity to trial, definitely fits the bill. It has been enjoyed by several of my baby’s friends, from four months through to 16 months, each taking sheer delight in the sensory experience. The removable piano is a hit with the bigger kids.
My little one's pals also loved the Fisher-Price Take-Along Swing & Seat, which is two great products in one. It offers swinging and stationary options, accompanied by soothing sounds, music and calming vibrations. One word - bliss. I spent many a minute, OK an hour, with my son in his early months, rocking his bouncy seat with my foot. An automatic swing option may have saved my poor, tired leg - and sanity! This one is clever enough to sense your baby’s weight and starts without a push. Tired parents rejoice! It also folds flat and is so easy to carry if we have a day out planned.
Allow children the opportunity for independent play.
In the early days, I’d feel guilty for letting my son play on his own while I took a moment for myself. I know I’m not the only one. But, in fact, independent play has huge benefits for babies and young children. So, you can rest assured, while you’re popping your feet up for 10 minutes, that solo playtime for your little one is exactly what they need. Not to mention, I get so much enjoyment from watching my little one interact with the different coloured keys of the Piano Gym, hear the animal sounds and learn the shape names.
Keep doing what you love.
Recently we stayed with friends in country Victoria for the weekend. The highlight was time with good friends and my baby. The lowlight? The assembly and pack-down of the dreaded, but essential, portacot. I only wish we had known about the Baby Dome earlier, as this would have suited our lifestyle so well. Compared to our clunky portacot, the Dome folds so much flatter and can be wrangled by just one parent, leaving one free to hold the baby! We have decided to gift these as new baby gifts from now on. They are truly designed for the whole family.
So, make the most of summer while it’s still here. Gather your close friends, family and baby together, along with a few Fisher-Price goodies, and embrace the fact that you’re still you. And, you’re doing great mama.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Fisher-Price™.
How have you regained back some of your "me" time? Tell us your tips in the comments below.
Your baby's first year and beyond is full of memorable moments and milestones and probably just as many memorable times when you need a helping hand too. Fisher-Price™ are here for you – with innovative babygear designed for your convenience, peace of mind and your baby’s comfort and safety.