With winter (and flu season) thankfully behind us, Baby and I were more than ready to end our hibernation. We looked forward to weekends and the chance to catch up with friends and family who worked during the week. One good friend, Aunt M, had been incredible at keeping in touch since Baby’s birth and was always up for hanging out. She had a knack for getting me out of the house, too (bonus).
In a fun twist of fate, Aunt M had an adorable nephew just a couple months older than Baby. She started stealing him away for a few hours at a time on the weekends, giving his mama a break and me a regular play date. Hanging out with an awesome aunt revealed several unique perks.
First, I was able to get in some quality friend time. I originally met Aunt M through my husband almost a decade ago. Most days in stay at home momland, my adult interaction consisted of meeting other parents at different Baby activities. The community these programs provided was crucial, but spending time with an old friend meant that she was interacting with all of me, not just Baby’s mom. We talked about so much more than Baby’s latest development and skipped most of the small talk (sometimes Kansas weather really is ridiculous enough to warrant conversation).
As an active part of her nephew’s life, she got the new mom side of me, too. She understood my new mom anxieties and need to get home for naptime. Nevertheless, she often pushed me to leave my comfort zone. “Just think about it,” or “try it out,” she’d say. And I would. Her gentle (and not-so-gentle) nudging came from a place of genuine encouragement and kindness. I also knew that if whatever I tried didn’t work out, she would respect my decisions.
Another bonus of hanging out altogether was that it allowed me to look into a (cloudy) crystal ball. I was able to see (approximately) how Baby would be developing in the near future. I’ve learned great tips and tricks for feeding Baby, bath time, and more without any of the real or perceived awkward comparisons that could crop up when talking with other parents, especially when we chose to parent differently. And, of course, Baby made a fun friend to hang out with, learn from, and swap toys with, in addition to having another caring and loving adult in his life.
These play dates are always a major highlight of my week. Someday soon I hope to attend happy hours and dinners out again without Baby in tow. Aunt M is doing a good job coaching me to leave Baby at home with Grandma. It’ll happen. Soon. Someday…
Who has been an awesome friend and source of encouragement in your life? How has it had an impact on you?
This make me really want to start having more playdates! My new baby is only eight weeks and my boys are eight and nine so I guess the two older ones are too old and my baby is too young. lol! But I think its great to have that kind of support!
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Congratulations on your new baby! Sounds a little crazy right now. All the more reason to find some relaxing friend time. How about a park, where your older kiddos could run around and play, while your little one does some tummy time on a blanket with you and your friend nearby? If it’s too hot, maybe head to the pool or find an indoor spot with a similar set up. It’s totally worth the effort!