COOL MOM JAMIE’S 5 Step Guide to Looking Cool For Baby School:
I love classes! Love them – you learn stuff and make friends, the babies have fun and see their friends, classes are great. A lot of my mom friends also complain about how isolated and lonely being a mom can be and to me classes are the perfect cure for that too. I also know that not just moms take babies to class, that dads, nannies and grandparents also take the babies to class and it can be daunting for someone who “doesn’t do this” to know what to do! Well, we go to one class a day and I’ve made mistakes in the field too so here’s what you need to know.
How to Look Cool for Baby School:
5) Arm Yourself
– Grab that fancy new diaper bag (or wear a lot of pockets) and get your weapons in order. It’s a war out there but you’re not unarmed. Get two spare bottles (and all their parts), diapers and wipes. Ok that’s your bare minimum you can’t leave the house without that. If your kid is older then swap out the bottle for a few of those squeezable veggie or fruit pouches. Throw some water bottles in there. Grab a blanket and a spare outfit (for both of you) for when some sort of fluid gets everywhere.
– If the purpose of the class is educational, (ie a Mommy & Me ballet, or gymnastics class) then I don’t suggest bringing additional toys because they distract from the activity you’re paying for. I’m bringing this up because I’ve seen it a few times out there – a kid walking into class with a toy and then refusing to do the activity because they prefer to play with the toy. Leave it in the car if you can. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t.
– If the purpose of the class is more Mommy-focused, like a parent education class or breastfeeding support group etc, then definitely load up on the toys and books because you want to keep the entertainment flowing.
– Throw in a spare shirt at least for yourself if not a full spare get up, fluids be flyin’ yo. And your main outfit should be comfortable enough to chase, sit, crawl and grab – and not be so fancy that you cry when someone else’s kid sprays you with something terrible. (Oh yeah, it’s not always your own kid that drools or pees on you …!)
Feet are a thing. In every single class I’ve been in there’s been a no shoes policy for parents and babies. Have socks ready to go because most places want the adults in socks because they feel that’s more sanitary. On a personal note if I know I’m going to be barefoot I do try to get a pedicure so I’m not all Struggle-Toe on people, but that’s more of a me relieving my own foot anxiety thing than an ew you’re gross if you don’t thing.
Leave with enough time for a surprise poop or a necessary outfit change in your budget – but try to avoid going too early or risk having to entertain the baby while waiting. At the same time, everyone is dealing with some issue with their own kid and getting to class – so don’t panic if you’re late! Everyone’s got stuff going on so lateness is expected. Take your time and get there safely with your gear. Most moms use the car seat as a carrier and lug the babies into class that way at first. It’s a good way to get a sleeping baby to a class too, you can just put the blanket over the car seat and let the nap continue.
2) Have Realistic Expectations
A LOT of first-timers are shocked to find out that these babies just blob and drool and eat and lick and bop and run around and that class does not appear organized at all. That’s because until age 3 they really can’t take much instruction so the classes are more about free play and exploring. What that means is, let the kid go and follow the teacher’s lead. If you hear the teacher stopping the kids from opening a door or if you notice the teacher wants all the kids to sit on one wall, help the teacher and follow the teacher’s commands. Stop your kid (or the kid you’re watching) from going to the door or whatever, but don’t get upset if your baby isn’t executing the teacher’s move flawlessly. Help where you can, stand back let the kid explore when you can and read the room: if all the moms are chillin on the back wall and letting the babies have space go ahead and let your little genius explore!
1) Just GO!
99.9% of the classes we’ve taken offer a free trial class. One class made us pay $5 for the trial. Fight the intimidation of going or the ease of walking to the park and try something new. You might surprise yourself by liking it. Non-primary caretakers, grandparents and some working parents might be more intimidated by a class because they feel like it’s a SAHmom-zone. That’s so not true. Grandparents and Dads and Aunts etc ALL populate these classes and they all love the extra bonding time. Moms in these classes have all been welcoming and will commiserate with you when you forget the diaper or the bottle and help you out. I wanted to bail on classes all the time at first because I wanted to stay comfortable at home, and every time we get there I’m glad we came.
Lastly, some classes we’ve loved in the LA area have been great but didn’t work with our nap schedule. I have learned the hard way that a tired baby is not a happy participant. There are times when she has random nap that goes through a class and I’ve learned it’s better to let her take the nap than wake her up to be on time. It’s not worth her hollering and carrying on the entire class because she’s tired. If you’ve come to rely on a class for your own social stimulation and your baby sleeps through it whip out your phone and line up a last minute play date. Don’t let a random nap take you down, but don’t wake a sleeping baby either!