All those back-to-school ads you see on TV and in your email box? It doesn’t mean much when your child isn’t yet holding a pencil. What fall means to those of us without a strong sense of seasons is adjusting to shorter days and cooler temperatures. Here’s how I’d enjoy the “-ember” months if I was on maternity leave.
Live in a college town or big city?
Take advantage of new freshman in town for a four-year stint and interview a babysitter. (New Yorkers, I can vouch for Barnard babysitters. I was one!) Even if you’re not ready to leave your babe, line a sitter up for a few hours a week so that you can get used to the idea. Set a goal to go for a 30-minute walk/jog as a practice outing. You are learning to manage a sitter just as much as you are learning to leave your baby.
Enjoy that hot days are behind you.
The beach or lake destinations that were too hot to bask in with your baby may be more pleasant now. Go for late afternoon weekend picnics without worrying so much about the sun and heat.
Be a tourist.
If you’re lucky enough to have changing leaves, put on a baby carrier, grab the camera and head out for a scenic adventure. If you’ve been trying to figure out how to spend time with an interested grandparent, aunt, or older neighbor, leaf-peeping is a lovely invitation. Find a park with swings and benches to make everyone happy.
Layers can be the best friend of the postpartum woman. Take a friend — or the aforementioned college student– who can hold your baby while you shop, and look for vests, cardigans, and scarves that will distract from your lumpy parts. (More advice on that topic here.)
Read something unrelated to parenting.
Even if you’re not in school, you can feed your brain with something new. Keep a book at the ready for long stretches of feeding. Many moms find that an e-book reader is easier to handle than a paperback when your lap is full with a nursing pillow or sleeping baby.