When you become a mum, it seems that everyone is out to sell you something. There are so many activities you could be doing with your baby - sing and sign, massage, music group, gym class, salsa, yoga, you name it there's a class for it. And most of the time, you sign up for a term, shell out your £60+ fee and off you go. There is so much pressure to be doing something every day with your little one, and it can get seriously expensive!
So this post is really in praise of the people out there who give you the chance to do some activities with your baby that don't cost the earth, or are indeed free, because let's face it, we aren't all loaded yummy Bugaboo mummies who can afford all these fees.
Lewisham council run some fantastic free activities - every library has a storytime for under 5s and most have a baby bounce session for under 2s as well. These are completely free and offer you the chance to do some reading and singing with your baby/toddler. And let's face it, they don't care whether you spent £60+ for the sessions or not.
The other council-run activity that I have come across and make active use of is the Forster Park Playclub for under 5s. This is run from a portacabin in Forster Park and is free to use as well (with only a small fee for a cuppa or a snack). There are activities laid on at tables, you can eat a healthy snack with your little one, teaching them to sit at the table and eat with others. There is a fantastic wooden "kitchen/home" section and a chill-out area and a special fenced off area for under 2s to protect them from marauding toddlers (though at 21 months James does his fair share of marauding). The lady who runs it (at least on Tuesdays when I go) is lovely too and is always friendly and chatty.
There really is no need to spend a fortune on activities to do with your baby/toddler, but somehow when you become a mum there is so much pressure to do it. And everyone else seems to be doing all sorts when you struggle to get the kids washed and dressed every day, let alone yourself as well!
In these days of the "global financial crisis" we see so much about, I would highly recommend seeking out what free activities your local council has laid on for you. They are so underused, and that really is a crying shame.