*In the name of full disclosure: I am not currently pregnant. But I do have three little people who were all born two years apart, and since my youngest is only 15-months-old, I can remember all too well the days of late pregnancy with a busy toddler (or two).
When you’re noticeably pregnant and chasing a toddler (or two… or three…) you can’t help but notice the first-time pregnant mamas around you and wistfully think of the good ‘ole days. Because, let’s face it, parenting a toddler is HARD. Add to that a giant uncomfortable belly, seemingly debilitating hip pain, and nausea, and it’s nigh impossible. Not to mention that while the employers or adults in your life might be sensitive to your “condition,” your other kids DO NOT CARE.
I was hyper-aware of my busy boys’ need to burn off some energy, and after a disastrous zoo trip at 34-weeks-pregnant, I decided my long-distance waddling days were over. I consulted with my husband and mom friends and came up with a list of practical ways to wear out my sons without sending myself into early labor.
- Indoor inflatable Play Centers. Some of these can be pricey while others are relatively inexpensive. This is obviously something you can’t do every day. But it’s definitely a viable (and effective!) option.
- Work on that independent play NOW. This will be invaluable for your toddler once their baby sibling arrives. My children had a scheduled “room time” every morning and I would set a timer. Now, my kids can play while I do a workout video, read a book, or catch up on chores.
- Indoor play places. I spent my fair share of afternoons sipping on Chick-Fil-A diet lemonade (don’t judge) while my toddler(s) ran amuck in the play area. It was contained and, if I timed it correctly, we had the place to ourselves.
- I was fortunate enough to have spring babies as well as a backyard, so we could do a lot outside. But my I was pregnant with my second baby while living in an apartment, so a backyard wasn’t part of my life. So, I spent some mornings at friends’ homes, coming up with creative ways to make my toddler run, run, run through their backyards. Here is a list of some outdoor ideas.
- Trade childcare with another mom friend. I happen to have a tribe of mama friends who are always taking turns being pregnant. This childcare trade has proved to be invaluable for all of us.
Remember, it’s a season. A difficult season. But, alas, a season. You can do it, Mama.
Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs at karagaris.com.