I thought I hit the due-date jackpot. An April due date meant I didn’t have to be pregnant in the summer. I thought about the poor women who had to go through the hot summer months carrying around the weight of a bowling ball while the heat added misery to their swollen ankles. Not me! Nope. I’d be sipping a margarita by the pool while new baby slept in her bassinet under a tree. Wait a second. Did pregnancy brain make me completely delusional or did I think for a minute that we lived in California filled with summer months of 75 and sunny? Did I forget the fact that April showers don’t bring May flowers in our desert? Instead they bring May misery known as the next three (sometimes four) months of triple digits. Newborns can’t handle extreme heat, so I quickly realized that my dreams were a sad illusion and that I better get creative for surviving Arizona summer or this season was going to involve three long months of going stir crazy in the house. In my sleep deprived state, I decided that I wasn’t going to let Arizona summer win and you shouldn’t either!
Simply get out of the house.
Let’s start with first things first. It doesn’t matter where you go, but it’s vital for your sanity to force yourself to leave your house with your new fragile sidekick in tow. It’s scary to think about all the steps it takes to leave: packing a baby bag, putting them in the car seat, figuring out how to assemble the stroller and then hoping they don’t get a dirty diaper the second you step foot into a store. However, while the first trip is the scariest, it will only get easier after you rip off the first trip band-aid. Start with a trip to the closest grocery store or Target and you’ll feel like a new woman.
Get a manicure or pedicure. A benefit to having a newborn is that (fingers crossed), they are sleeping the majority of the time. If you like to live on the edge, try a mani or pedi! Visit your local nail salon, warn them ahead of time that you may need to rush out (should that dreaded dirty diaper come), then hope for the best!
Introduce your little one to the pool. As soon as you get the clearance from the pediatrician, introduce your little one to the pool and your world will become a lot cooler. Swim schools like Hubbard offer free swim classes for babies until they are six months old.
Explore the indoors.
These suggestions might make you think, “but my baby is a newborn and sleeps most of the time. Why would I go here?” Well, most of it is for your own sanity and I also believe that while they are young and sleeping most of the time, exposing babies to different environments at a young age must help them in some way!
Butterfly Wonderland. It’s air conditioned, easy to access from the parking lot and filled with pretty colors should your little one decide to open their eyes during the visit. Be warned that they don’t let strollers inside the exhibit so bring a baby wearing carrier if you visit. Bonus: the aquarium is right next door.
Musical Instrument Museum. Another air conditioned option for Mommy and baby, this allows Mommy to roam the rooms filled with instruments and music, all in silence so baby can (hopefully) sleep in the stroller. It’s silent for baby because MIM provides headphones for guests that play music as you approach each exhibit. They also host baby music classes each week (you pay per class, so you can stop by on a whim).
Shed the baby weight with your baby in tow.
You can start shedding that baby weight without leaving your little one at home thanks to organizations around town that offer Mommy and me workout classes. Mommies get their sweat on while baby sleeps in the stroller. Some of my favorite organizations are FIT4MOM Stroller Strides (they also offer Stroller Barre, Body Back and Fit4Baby for Mommies to be), Barre3 (they have in-house child care for $5) and Modern Milk (they offer Mommy and me baby yoga and barre).
Bond with other Moms.
The more you do, the more moms you’ll meet and I’ve found that fellow new moms are some of the friendliest people in town. We bond over sleep deprivation, dirty diapers and talk of wine. Lots of wine. Some groups to look into include MOPS, Mothers of McDowell Mountain Ranch, and Moms on the Move. These are just a few examples, but you can find more in your area!
It’s never too early to start Mommy and me fun…
There are several opportunities for moms to bond with their babies at a very young age. During the summer, I took advantage of the free library music classes (babies from birth on can attend). While my little one didn’t do much more than sit and stare, it allowed her to see other babies and listen to musical instruments. We also started Kindermusik at a young age and they offer a free three week mini session for babies that are between the age of birth and four months.
Good luck to all my fellow Mommies with the approach of the hot summer months. I’d love to hear your ideas on surviving Arizona summer with your little ones!