Before having my first child, my life was full of work and school. The week after having my first baby, my husband went back to work, and I started my new life as a stay-at-home mom. After years of hearing stories about busy stay-at-home parents, I was surprised when I found myself with nothing to do. After all, babies can't walk, talk or play, and they spend upwards of 18 hours a day sleeping. That doesn't leave you with a lot of interaction.
If you're looking for ways to pass your days with a baby, there are options other than Facebook and Netflix. Consider these 20 ways to make the most of every day with an infant.
1. Get outside
Many babies find stroller rides soothing. You'll also benefit from fresh air and sunshine.
2. Start a mommy group
It's awkward to attend play groups with a child who's too young to play, so find or start a group specifically for mothers of infants.
3. Pick up a book
Now is prime time to catch up on your reading list. Get book suggestions from friends. Then, hit the library.
4. Try a new hobby
Have you always wanted to learn to bake, sew or crochet? How about something less typical like book binding, photography or painting? Baby's nap time is the perfect time to try something new.
Get out of the house and out of your head by doing something for someone else. Visit an elderly neighbor or help out another young mother.
6. Listen to books on tape
Books on tape are the perfect solution to keep your mind busy during play time.
7. Read a stack of board books
It's never too soon to read with your baby.
8. Start a journal
Record all the great memories you're making for future posterity. Commit to writing at least a few sentences in a journal each day.
9. Get fit
There are many exercise videos and workout routines you can do with a baby in the room - no trips to the gym required.
10. Exercise your brain
Puzzles such as Sudoku and crosswords keep your mind sharp, and some research suggests they can ward off memory loss.
11. Try out a new recipe
Have some fun in the kitchen and surprise your significant other with a special dinner.
12. Sing some silly songs
Another way to engage even the youngest infant is through song. You don't need a fabulous voice for "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."
13. Tackle the chores
Staying on top of chores and laundry helps you feel productive each day.
14. Contact loved ones
If you're living away from family, calling, e-mailing or using an online video service are great ways to stay in touch and brighten your day.
15. Try your hand at DIY
You can make your home fabulous with a little money and a lot of elbow grease. Pick a project to brighten up the space where you spend most of your day.
16. Get down on the floor
Join baby on the floor during tummy time. Acting silly is one of the perks of parenthood.
17. Turn on some music
Dance out a bad day, and introduce your baby to all your favorite music from a young age.
18. Organize something
Chances are you have a few projects left on that pre-baby to-do list. Creating an organized space is a fulfilling way to spend an afternoon nap time.
19. Run errands
Pick a time when baby is usually happy and hit the bank or grocery store and pick up any needed items.
20. Hold your baby
The single most important thing you can do now is snuggle your little one.
Rest assured that someday, very soon, life will get busy again. Sleeping babies turn into rambunctious toddlers, and finding ways to fill your day won't be a problem anymore. Enjoy this precious and short time in your life because babies are only babies for a very small season.