My Year of Rookie Mom Challenges

I am so humbled to present this guest post by reader Jenn. A first-time mom in Toronto, she completed the whole year’s worth of Rookie Mom Challenges. And she doesn’t even know us personally. Wow!


I don’t really know how I stumbled upon the Rookie Moms blog a few days before my due date with our son Sebastian, but I am sure glad I did. Like Whitney and Heather, I love lists and challenges, and when I saw their list of 52 Weekly Challenges for Rookie Moms, I knew I had found something great. I knew nothing about being a mom so the idea of someone giving me instructions for something to do each week for a year was very appealing.

What I love about these challenges is that it is impossible to complete this list on your own. For some of the challenges you must seek out other moms, spend time with your partner, meet up with your friends and family, or even (gasp!) spend time alone. Actually alone. Sans baby. We’ve heard motherhood is isolating, and this can be true, even on the very best of days, so it is essential to “get out of the house every day” and build connections with your family and friends, both old and new.

My favorite challenges:

#2 ”“ Go on a recon mission. One of my most proudest moments over the past year was the first time I took Sebastian somewhere on my own. He was just two weeks old, and we went (in the car!) to Indigo to get a latte and a cover for my new Kobo and quickly check out the children’s book area. We were maybe there 20 minutes, but it was a huge deal to me.

#9 ”“ Go to a mom and baby movie. We went to Movies for Mommies and saw the Great Exotic Marigold Hotel. Successful mom and baby outing.

#10 ”“ Plan a mom’s night out. One by one, many of the women in my book club are becoming mamas. We had one particularly lovely night out on a patio last July with great wine and wonderful company. We try to do this regularly and even did an overnight trip later in the year.

#20 ”“ Visit a farmer’s market. Along with grocery shopping, S. and I enjoy going to the farmer’s markets together. The first time we went, I picked up some zucchini, took it home, and tried out my Baby Bullet and voilà ”“ baby food.

#46 ”“ Host a clothing swap party. I wasn’t sure about this one, but it ended up being really fun! I can’t wait to host another one. I really think everyone who came went home with a few ‘new’ goodies.

#50 ”“ Launch Camp Grandma. I knew S. was in good hands and so my husband and I enjoyed a night (and morning) off.

#52 ”“ Celebrate the Big 0-1. Along with celebrating Sebastian’s birthday, my husband and I also celebrated making it through the first year.

I also loved the unique pictures we got of Sebastian on all of our photo excursions: finding some cool graffiti, taking a walk near the CN Tower, visiting the pumpkin patch, and making our Modern Family video and picture.

Baby Sebastian’s favorite challenges:

#5 ”“ Go to the grocery store for just one thing. Sebastian loves grocery shopping. He used to just make flirty smiles at everyone. Now he also enjoys taking things out of the cart and throwing them on the floor when I’m not watching.

#11 ”“ Visit spouse at work. It’s always fun to visit daddy at work.

#14 ”“ Host a breakfast club. While we didn’t begin a club, we did have 3 other mamas and their babes over for brunch. It was super fun to play with the babies together.

#27 ”“ Take your baby swimming. Sebastian loves swimming. Loves it. Loves it so much he can’t put his face under the water during the Humpty Dumpty song because he’s too busy laughing and squealing with excitement that his mouth never closes.

#32 ”“ Find bookstore events for babies. We did find a free storytime at a stay and play café near us over the March Break. Seb loves stories and really enjoyed the added bonus of finger puppets.

#39 ”“ Slide at the playground, baby style. S. has always enjoyed sliding at the playground and at Gymboree. However, when at the playground with a baby, swinging was always the biggest hit for us.

#41 ”“ Test-drive music and movement classes. I took Seb to Gymboree at 8 weeks old because I needed to get. out. of. the. house. Maybe 8 weeks is early, but we really liked it and kept going to Gymboree for the rest of his first year. We thought this could be much earlier on the challenge list.

#50 ”“ Launch Camp Grandma. My parents were delighted to have Sebastian for a sleepover. They kept him up (a bit) late to play, fed him chocolate ice cream, and I’m pretty certain he loved every minute of it.

#52 ”“ Celebrate the Big 0-1. Who doesn’t love a birthday party? We celebrated with family, friends, and yummy cupcakes.

A few challenges didn’t work for us as well as the ones above:

#4 ”“ Visit a fabric store. We received many a receiving blanket as gifts so, instead of a fabric store, we visited an art store and looked at all the future art projects we could do together.

#21 ”“ Talk about something besides sleep. Epic fail for me. I have talked and read and talked and read some more about sleep. I have been making serious efforts to relax in this area, but it is not easy.

#33 ”“ Get a free 8×10. Someone in one of our mommy groups was looking to get her name out there in the world of photography, so she took some photos of our little ones one day. Apart from that, I had trouble locating a place to get a free 8×10

#47 ”“ Join a children’s museum. There isn’t a children’s museum in Toronto so this one was tricky for us. Following the tip of another mom, we ended up at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Hands-On Centre for kids one afternoon.

Throughout the year, I kept a journal of my rookie mom challenges and wrote a short description each time we checked one off the list. For Sebastian’s first birthday, we put together a time capsule for him to hopes on his 18th birthday, and I’ve included this journal. I hope he will enjoy reading about the fun adventures we had together during this special year. In Canada, we have are eligible for a 52 week maternity leave so I had lots of time to complete all 52 weekly challenges. I send mad props to any mom who completes this list while working or with other children at home.

Thanks again to Whitney and Heather for their guidance during my first year as a mama. Now to search out how to keep a toddler busy….

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