Welcoming a new Chicago play space (aka “Mom survival essential”): The Purple Monkey Playroom

Thank you to Jessica Roubitchek, the owner of Bucktown’s newest indoor play space, Purple Monkey Playroom, for this great article the importance of finding ways to relieve the isolation of new parenthood.

I read this article about a week back and I have revisited it in my mind many times since. It resonates on so many levels but the point I keep coming back to is that isolation can be the hardest part about new motherhood. As someone who has always relished time spent alone, I was shocked at how much I craved the company of other people when my daughter was first born, and how difficult it was to find.

Fisher eloquently recalls:

I invented errands and dawdled and took the long way home, but still had hours and hours to fill before I would hear my husband’s key in the door.

It was 22 months ago that I first experienced this, but I too recall it all too vividly. At 32, I was the only one of my close friends with a baby. And certainly the only person I knew who was home between 8 and 6 on a weekday. Drop-In play spaces were in their infancy when my child was in hers. I wasn’t connected enough to the mommy world to even know they existed. I spent hours alone, nursing my daughter in my bedroom chair. I craved companionship like air but had no idea where to find it. I can’t say my maternity leave was a particularly happy time.

One of my hopes, in opening Purple Monkey Playroom, is to help address this void for all parents and caregivers – but particularly new moms – in the greater Bucktown/Wicker Park/Ukranian Village/Humboldt Park and Logan Square areas. We’re reaching out to meet-up groups for new moms and even to pregnant women to try to combat the sense of isolation BEFORE it hits. We are a place where moms can venture out with an unpredictable infant, nurse as needed, and come and go as they please.

If you know a new mom or a mom to be, consider purchasing a Mini-Monkey membership for her shower gift or newborn welcome present. I already have gift cards written out for several of my pregnant friends. If you are a new mom, whether at Purple Monkey or elsewhere, be sure to seek out community while you’re redefining your life and learning the ropes.

Jessica Roubitchek, is the owner of Purple Monkey Playroom, a professional fundraiser, and the mom of an energetic toddler.  After having her daughter in 2010, she found it difficult to find nearby, unstructured activities for her little girl, particularly on rainy days and in winter. The introduction of drop-in play to Chicago fit the bill, yet all of the existing offerings required a trip in the car. She looks forward to welcoming children, parents and caregivers to a safe, relaxing indoor space for imaginative play within strolling distance of her home.  Please visit her website for more information. 

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