HOW TO REMAIN SANE ON MATERNITY LEAVE
Here is your beautiful baby and just looking at them makes you so emotional for you cannot imagine anyone ever being able to love anything more! Children are an absolute blessing and they make us proud every day. But there is also another reality and that is that being home alone with a baby on maternity leave can be a difficult and isolating time. It is great that you are no longer chained to an office desk or working your regular 9-5 or whatever time it was, but anyone who has or has had a baby will know that it’s HARD WORK caring for them. Far harder than your “regular” job. And you were used to being able to go to the toilet or have a shower without arranging it around nap times!
When I had my first baby, I was lucky that many of my friends were on maternity leave at the same time. But we weren’t in each other’s pockets and although we would meet for some coffee and cake catch ups or visits to each other’s houses, there were many more days that needed to be filled.
I was often tempted to stay home rather than have the hassle of packing a million things into a super-sized, back- breaking baby bag but that was no good for us. But while the occasional lazy day at home was well deserved I actually found every day easier and more rewarding for both myself and baby if I planned an outing of some description. It was never anything fancy and I tried to keep it close to home and inexpensive as these days out can soon add up.
I live in Hornchurch, Essex and I love it here. Below are some of the local places to go which I enjoyed visiting with baby whilst I was on maternity leave:
This is a soft play café and my kids still love it here, it’s a lot of fun and entrance isn’t very expensive (it’s free for under 1s). They do nice jacket potatoes for lunch too and if you have older kids or pre-schoolers you can keep an eye on them too as it’s small but still plenty of equipment.
I could actually spend hours roaming the shops in Hornchurch, Brentwood or Romford looking for hidden treasures. During the week they are quiet so getting around them with a buggy was no problem and nobody was shouting to wake a possibly napping baby. A vintage rocking horse and a UV baby tent were my best buys during my maternity leave.
On a sunny day some friends and I would have a picnic in the park. It’s great for babies to find some nice shade under a tree and let them snack and crawl/roll around. And mums get to relax and have a chat too. Pack a few baby toys in your already heavy bag and lots of healthy snacks for baby, and some naughty treats for you.
Ok so this one can be pricey, if you are a regular it might be worth looking into a membership. But the baby area is fantastic here and when you are done you can go shopping in the abundance of shops in Romford Town Centre.
Hornchurch Sports Centre
The baby pool here is sooooo warm and they have special family changing rooms with a nappy changing unit to make life easier. You will need to take your own floats and check the timetable as the pool can be used for lessons at various times of the day.
The big Mothercare on Rom Valley way has an event room upstairs called Mumspace and in here they have so many baby classes and activities. Our favourite was Jo Jingles, we loved the songs, the movements and not forgetting going crazy with the parachute and the “popping” balls! Jo Jingles also operates elsewhere in Havering.
Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, Brentwood
Ok so this is a bit further away and you will need a car, but we loved this place. It does great work for animals and it’s a small fee for entrance. They have a coffee shop, bouncy castles and lots of lovely animals to see as well as a small children’s play area (think Little Tikes houses) on the grass. It’s a place that has the feel-good factor.
Wellgate Community Farm, Collier Row
This small community run farm is free entry. There are your usual farm animals here and lots of lovely volunteers helping to run the place. It’s a place you could spend an odd hour and maybe take a picnic lunch for on the grass. There is a small car park or free parking on the main road.
Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch
Keep an eye out on their website as they often have baby sensory classes and other classes just for babies and mums.
Hornchurch, Gidea Park and Upminster Libraries
They have weekly classes for mums and babies which are free and you can find on their website.
I am sure there is much more to add to that list but I am brain fried now. I hope it helps you and even if it doesn’t relate to the area where you live, hopefully you can still get some ideas from it 🙂
Enjoy your days out!