Ah maternity leave, you dreamed about endless coffee and cake with friends; joining baby yoga, massage and swimming. You were going to be a yummy mummy, a social butterfly of the mothering world….
So the reality turned out to be slightly different. 3 months of cracked nipples, night feeds, sweat pants and the compulsory shower in a can (deodorant a new Mum’s best friend!) Super glamorous? No not really. But you have survived those first few months, just. The dust has finally settled. You are ready to venture into the wilderness with your not quite so new bundle of joy. It is then that you realise that all those things you wanted to do cost quite a bit of money. You never really thought about that £3 coffee and £2 slice of cake before. But it is starting to eat into your savings now! Your maternity pay has dropped, those baby classes cost £6 a session and you like to try to do something everyday… Hmmm it is time to get your Savvy Mummy on!
Here are our Top 10 Savvy Mummy Tips:
1: Visit Your Local Library
Usually your library will run some kind of activity for under 5’s, this might be a rhyme time or a story-telling session. They usually run at least one session a week during term time and are normally free.
The library itself is a great resource, free to join and they have a fab selection of books for babies and kids as well as loads of parenting books on weaning etc.
2: The Park
A pretty obvious freebie activity (if you manage to resist the ice cream urge). Why not get a group of you together and settle under some leafy trees in the local park. Lay out a load of blankets and let the little ones roll about and admire the change of scenery. Picnics are optional!
If the park as a pond the kids love to go down and feed the ducks – make use of that stale bread and watch some feathery friends down by the water.
3: Childrens Centres
Although the government has closed a lot of the Sure Start Centres due to underfunding, there are still quite a few open and they run some really good activities. Most sessions are only a couple of pounds, including Stay and Play, Rhyme Time, Messy Play and Weaning Sessions. Some also offer a Baby Massage course at a really good price. The other things the Children’s Centre offers are breastfeeding drop in’s; a good place to have a natter with some other Mums’ a free cuppa and some helpful advice.
4: City Farms
These are fantastic places, free little farms found in the middle of our large cities, London has loads and free stuff in London is pretty rare! Usually they have a handful of animals to see, perfect for under 1s who don’t always get the full experience when you take them places as they are asleep! I can recommend a great one in Mudchute, that has a fab cafe but that’s not helping with saving money!)
5: Local Leisure Centre
Your local council run leisure centre usually offers some fun activities for under 5s, if you are in receipt of benefits these can be free. Most activities are around the £2-4 mark and can include soft play and swimming. Some of the leisure centres even offer a crèche for your little one while you have a swim or take an exercise class (remember it is not always about activities that only focus on baby). We are really lucky in Birmingham to be able to make use of the amazing facilities at GMAC, under 5’s can have free run of all the gym equipment, they run a morning and afternoon session there every day.
6: Class Taster Sessions
Loads of classes offer a free taster session to lure you in to their class – take full advantage of these. They give you a great opportunity to see what the class involves, whether it is suitable for you and your baby, if your baby likes the environment and to size up the other Mum’s (no one wants to attend a class that is already very clicky). There is no obligation to sign up – so go to as many different taster sessions as you like!
7: Weigh-In Clinics
Not exactly the most exciting morning out I know – but a great place to meet loads of other Mums. Who knows they might have some ideas that don’t cost the earth or be able to recommend some local classes/playgroups
8: Coffee Mornings at Home
Once you have that regular group of Mums; take turns to host coffee/lunch. It is a great alternative to keep going out and spending money. Bring out some Mr Kipling slices and a giant teapot, what more do Mum’s need? Plus no one else is going to understand why the walls and the cat are covered in puree when they arrive quite like another Mum!
9: Local Garden Centre/Pet Store
These are fun places to just wander around for 30mins or so. We often go just to have a look at the rabbits and hamsters. The tropical fish areas also provide entertainment, much cheaper than the Sealife Centre! Sometimes they even offer pet care workshops where you can handle the animals. We are lucky that one of the garden centres near us offers all day soft play for £1.70, its like a whole day out!
10: Soft Play for Under 1s
Most of soft play places have a baby/toddler area and entrance to under 1’s is usually free (adults are nearly always free). If your little one is a bit older they usually do a week day term time deal where the kids can play for about £1.50-£2.00. Which is pretty good value. The coffee can be a bit hit and miss for Mum’s but some places are really good!
Have you got any other cheap or free activities that you would like to share with other Mums?
This post was originally posted on Meet Other Mums