There is a reason there are so many memes about moms loving Target, because to us, it's as magical as Disney World. Carefully curated aisles, neatly displayed products, in-house Starbucks, and the cutest baby clothes (so cute that you wonder why they don't make them in adult size). Still, spending your maternity leave there is dangerous for your wallet and unless you are employed by them, it's really worrisome when the staff knows you by name or if you can tell when they've changed an endcap display.
So, in order to save your family some money (and yourself some dignity), it's a good idea to try to venture out to other places during your leave. Getting out of the house is key when it comes to your mental health as a new mom, thankfully there are plenty of places to go that will give you a break from the couch and Netflix.
10 Go To An Afternoon Movie
If your baby is still in those days of sleeping most of the time, it's a great opportunity to head to the theater to see a movie. Late morning and early afternoon movies tend to be much less expensive than night movies, and if you're going during the week it's very likely that you won't be the only mom with a kid in the theater so you don't have to be worried about your baby-making too much noise for the people around you.
This may not seem like it's much different from sitting at home watching TV, but it requires you to brush your hair and change your clothes, and that's the whole point!
9 Take A Walk Around An Indoor Or Outdoor Garden
As your baby's brain develops, it will love to look at different shadows and light. Greenhouses and gardens are a great place to take them that will really stimulate their minds and leave them entranced.
If your city has a botanical garden, take a stroll and check out all of the gorgeous flowers along the way. If it doesn't, check out a local greenhouse or nursery (just be sure it's not too hot for baby) and pick up a few flowers for yourself while you're at it!
8 Drive To Your Parents' House
If your parents live within driving distance, pack up the baby and head out! Grandma and Grandpa will love to spoil the little one and they'll love to spoil you a little, too. It's a good chance to spend the day with them outside of your home and still get a break from motherhood.
You'll get some adult interaction, someone to love your baby for a little bit, and maybe (if you're lucky) you can even sneak away for a much-needed nap thanks to the free babysitters.
7 Check Out An Orchestra Practice or Rehearsal
You don't have to live in New York to be able to hear some good classical music! Check out your local art center or even areas schools to see if there are open rehearsals you and your baby can check out.
Little babies love classical music (case in point: Baby Einstein) and will be entranced by all of the new sounds around them. You'll get the opportunity to enjoy some beautiful music and some time outside of the house. Win-win!
6 Do Some Grocery Shopping At An Outdoor Farmers Market
90% of the time, it makes sense to order your groceries online and have them delivered directly to your home or scheduled for pickup. Life is busy and grocery trips aren't quick, plus getting the baby in and out of the car is tough and it's even tougher to find space in your cart for the baby and all the food you need to buy.
However, if you have a small trip you need to make, just a few essentials, put the baby in a stroller or carrier and head over to the local farmers market! You'll get some fresh air, sunshine, and delicious food all in one trip.
5 Walk Around An Art Museum
How many times have you thought about wanting to check out the museums in your area? If you're a working mom, you probably never get to go because they usually close early and weekends are packed with people (the introvert's nightmare).
If that's the case, this is the perfect opportunity to go check one out at your leisure when it's not crowded. You can carry the baby on your chest in a sling or push it in its stroller. Most museums have some kind of cafe attached as well, so you can even stop for a coffee and treat.
4 Take The Baby To A Class
Do a quick Google search for "mommy and me classes" and you'll probably be bombarded with options. You can do yoga, dance, tumble, and all kinds of things in between.
Most of these classes are designed to either complement baby's development or give mom a chance to have a little break and meet some fellow local moms - both of which are great reasons to try some out! Just be sure that your little one is ready to be around other kids and possibly exposed to some germs (it's going to happen sometime, but the first two months are tricky).
3 Meet Up With Fellow Moms
If you don't have any mom friends in the area, check out some Facebook groups to find some! A quick introduction to a "Moms of [Insert City Name Here]" group will have women flooding you with welcoming messages and offering support and friendship during this transition in your life.
Having that "mom tribe" is essential when you're trying to raise your baby and you're still in the weeds. Your babies aren't going to play together/interact just yet, but you could make some strong friendships with the moms and your kids could grow up together and start playing with each other before you know it.
2 Check Out Some Garage Sales For Deeply Discounted Baby Stuff
If the weather is nice, you can be sure there are some garage sales in your area! Scour the internet to find some nearby and then go off in search of some baby goodies at a deep discount! If you're uneasy about used items, stick to toys rather than clothes.
Most of the toys came from homes just like yours and just need a good cleaning to be as good as new! There's no need to spend $65 on a robot toy for your little one when you can get it for $10 down the road!
1 Knock Out All Of Your Annual Doctor Appointments
If you're going back to work at the end of your leave, you probably don't have a ton of PTO to use (and if you do, it'll likely be used to stay home with the baby when it gets all of those viruses from daycare - they are inevitable).
Use this time off to check off some appointments for yourself like the dentist, eye doctor, and dermatologist. Since the baby is still so little, it will sleep right through your appointments and you'll be all set for another year!