I took both girls to Playgroup for the first time today.
Bee was great, sleeping in the sling most of the time, unaware of all the cooing and clucking she was causing. JJ had a ball as well – as she always does. Someone had a brilliant idea of bringing a bucket of water and some large paint brushes outside and letting the kids paint the fence – fantastic for such a hot morning. That is, until I realised JJ had stripped down to her nah-nahs and was enjoying a leisurely bath. Ahem, time to put your nappy back on kiddo.
Being back at Playgroup made me realise how important these sorts of catch ups are for me as a mum. For my sense of community belonging, for my self esteem, for my kids. I volunteer to help run our Playgroup, because it is so important to me. I love that there are other people who volunteer (both formally and informally) because it is so important to them as well.
When we first moved up from Melbourne, JJ was 11 months old. Although I am “from” Sydney, I was quite lonely. Most of my friends who had kids lived on the other side of this big city, and most of my friends that live nearby were childless and working full time. I missed my Melbourne Mothers Group, but was told by my local early Childhood Nurse that it was too late to join a new one in Sydney. It took me months to establish a daily play routine of sorts – to work out which days the library held story-time, which parks were toddler friendly, which shops had play areas, which doctors are good with kids, where to go for swimming lessons, etc etc. The sort of questions that a Mothers Group could have really helped me with. And it’s not just logistical questions. Sometimes I just needed to connect with people who are going through the same issues as I was. People to share your daily struggles with, People to share your daily triumphs with.
I was warned that “they” (the local Early Childhood Nurses) would be reluctant to let me join a Mother’s Group for Bee because she is my second child. So when I was booking my first appointment, I pre-emptively asked about joining one, pleading the lack of a Sydney Mothers Group for JJ, and emphasizing the importance of support to prevent Post Natal Depression. I was indeed told that it wasn’t normally “allowed”, because there weren’t enough groups to include second-time mothers.
So my expectations were low when Vicki, an early childhood nurse I hadn’t met before, arrived for my first appointment.
And she was so lovely! She apologized that I wasn’t offered a Mother’s Group for JJ when we first moved up, and empathised how hard hat must have been. She said she could put me in contact with a Mothers Group for JJ now. AND she organised a Mothers Group for Bee. AND she’s given me contact details for a special Mothers Group for mothers of second children. So I’ve gone from no Mothers Groups to potentially three! I can now try all three out and see which fits best with my family dynamic.
So this post is a shout out to Vicki. Thank you for proving me with support options. Thank you for having my back. Thank you for not presuming that I’ll be OK on my own. Thank you.