One of the things I’ve found hardest to get used to since Tall Boy came along is not being able to do things for me without having to plan ahead or arrange childcare. Most of the time it’s easier if he comes with me, which inevitably limits the options.
Luckily, Manchester parents are well taken care of. If you know where to look, there are lots of things you can do to remind yourself of life BC (before child), where your baby is made to feel welcome too.
1. Go to a comedy club
Once a month, at The Edge Theatre in Chorlton, you can find comedians performing their weekend stand up routines to an unusual audience; parents and their babies.
Mum’s The Word Comedy Club is like a night out without the adult headache. There’s a strict ‘baby must be under 18 months’ policy here so the
frequent occasional ‘f’ words don’t get repeated.
Hosted by mum, Katie Mulgrew, you can expect stand ups from the tele’ performing shortened versions of their current routines. They are fully prepared for screaming, feeding, walking around to bounce your baby, and all the activities that would, in normal comedy circumstances, put you at risk of a joke or two.
2. Take a walking tour
Walking tours are not usually known for being child friendly, mainly due to their length and lack of material to keep the little ones occupied. In fact, it was only a few weeks ago that a couple of parents in Manchester were turned away from a city centre walking tour having been told that their children were not welcome, being a distraction, ‘like bringing a dog with you’.
Shortly after this made news I became aware of a baby friendly walking tour talking place in the Northern Quarter. (I don’t believe the two are connected.)
Hayley Flynn, creator of Skyliner, describes herself as a, “One woman mission to promote and preserve our region’s heritage and to explore urban issues.” It’s clear that she doesn’t consider babies to be a nuisance on her tours, but she does recognise the logistical difficulties of trying to keep them occupied in the pram for any length of time. To ensure that parents can enjoy the best experience of The Modern History of the Northern Quarter tour she organises mini versions, which last an hour and where everyone is encouraged to gather for coffee and baby feeding afterwards.
3. Catch a movie
When I was pregnant a friend told me to go to the cinema as much as possible, because baby noise is simply not welcome during a film. Whilst the idea of trying to keep a baby quiet for several hours is enough to fill any parent with dread, many Manchester cinemas have found a way to cater to the new parent market. Special parent and baby film screenings benefit from the sound being lowered to make it safe for tiny eardrums and the seats are filled with other parents and babies so no-one is going to complain if your little darling screams all the way through the film. It may sound like chaos but, surprisingly, you will find yourself perfectly capable of zoning out the noise of every baby in there – except your own!
Cinemas that offer parent/baby screenings in Manchester include:
Cinebabies: Alternate Mondays, Cineworld Didsbury
Newbies Cinema: Tuesdays, Trafford Centre Odeon Cinema
HOME Parent and Baby: Third Thursday of the month, HOME Manchester (Where you can linger for a lovely lunch in the restaurant after the film.)
4. Squeeze in some exercise
I accept that exercising wouldn’t make it on to everyone’s list but if, like me, you are terrible at motivating yourself to work out on your own, you will find it harder than your pregnant self imagined to fit in so much as a run in the evening.
There are lots of exciting options in Manchester for post natal exercise where baby is welcome to come with you. Instructors are usually willing to push a pram back and forth while you squat till your thighs burn.
Some classes my friends and I have tried include:
5. Indulge in Afternoon Tea
If you follow me on Instagram you will see photos of cake, hot chocolate and various other sweet treats generously sprinkled throughout my feed. Motherhood is notorious for providing opportunities for coffee and cake, but what about Afternoon Tea. It’s an occasion for decadence and luxury not usually associated with babies.
Many venues will come up with a high chair if you ask nicely but some have gone above and beyond, offering Afternoon Tea specially for children. Whilst I have no intention of loading Tall Boy up with sugar before his first birthday, I can’t help but feel that a place that encourages children will be accommodating of babies too.
Places I’ve found offering a bespoke children’s Afternoon Tea in Manchester include:
Great John Street Hotel: Children’s Afternoon Tea, £12.50 per child up to 13 years old
Just perusing the menus is making me hungry. I feel a mini blog series coming on. The only question is, do I have to wait until Tall Boy is old enough to eat cake…?
6. Join a bookclub
Yes, yes, I know I said 5, but this is a late addition and one that has forced me to carve out time to read for the first time since Tall Boy arrived, which I am really excited about.
The Rainy City Kids bloggers have established a book club just for mums. It’s very relaxed, with no pressure to finish the book – because we all know that our free time is entirely child willing, and it takes place in the daytime so baby can come too.
Are there any ‘me-time’ activities I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.