Playgroup is awesome! My big boy is finally enjoying meeting up with his friends. Babies kinda sit along side each other on the picnic rugs and goo and gaa and look cute. The mummas chat, feed their babes and get to know each other. Then there’s this gap as they grow. Newbie toddlers sometimes watch other kids, but mostly toddle around wanting mummy to be nice and close while they explore. You don’t have much time to chat. The little treasures then start to be drawn to the spaces where other kids are, but with undeveloped relationship building skills, and an innocent self-indulgence, they snatch and bite and hit. Stick it out! ‘Cos they then finally start to remember the names of the other kids, talk about them during the week, and show excitement when playing WITH other children.
They still lack the capacity to be empathetic and considerate in moments of eagerness, so it’s not always smooth sailing, but for the most part, it’s high energy, loads of laughing and mud! Well it is at our playgroup. If there is dirt, or sand, or water, or heaven forbid all 3, our kids will make mud! I love that our Toowoomba playgroup is casual, unstructured, non-judgmental, supportive and fun, and no one really minds a bunch of messy, dirty, kinda feral looking sometimes, kids running-a-muck. United by all being breastfeeding mummas at one point, now bound together by shared muddy experiences!
As the kids played in the mud, we enjoyed their squeals of delight. We enjoyed connecting. Some mummas moaned about their sleepless night or challenges of the morning, others listened, knowing that although their night was restful or their morning was calm, the life of a parent comes in ebbs and flows. Some days you are the patient, other days you are the counsellor. Sharing, reminiscing, learning, relating. The interrupted conversations, still build up a mummas love cup in their heart. You know that place that we draw calm from when the baby drinks all its milk and still isn’t asleep, wants more comforting, gets more milk and it spews everywhere, so you calmly clean it up and start again. That place you draw your patience from when your toddler pees on the floor for the 15th time in one day after having no accidents the whole week before. The place you draw kindness from when your precious little one, draws you a special picture on the bathroom mirror, with your favourite lipstick! That place you draw love and compassion from when you feel like you have had the day from hell, with whingy children, messy house, a flat car battery and rain on your clean wash on the line ouside, then your husband comes home and says he his day at work wasn’t so great … You need that cup filled up – often.
It’s kind of like a merry-go-round, a constant give and take, a mutual concession. Love really does make the world go round, in the world of a parent. Filling up your love cup, surrounded by fun, like-minded mummas, for me means I can share the love at home with my boys. Happy calm boys means there’s time for relaxing catch up with hubby after the boys are asleep. Happy home life, means I am ready to share out some love to the mummas who need a hug (or a meal cook for them) within our circle of friends. And knowing that I have helped a mumma in need, adds a pint of satisfaction into my cup! Next time a link in the chain goes bust, I know there will be a mumma amongst us ready to lend me a hand.
Have you got a playgroup, or mothers group, or a few close friends that you can lean on and be the leaning post for, when needed? Until I was a mumma I didn’t even know I needed this. A tribe. A village. I thought they were for underdeveloped nations, how I was so wrong. Interdependence is where it’s at, not independence. If you don’t have yourself a support group, brave up and get searching for something local you can be a part of. Go along, meet a mumma or two and know you are making the world go round, when you are having a crappy day and you need drop around to a friend’s place with your little cherubs, and eat their food, mess up their playroom, use their nappies, drink their tea, have a hug, whine a little about your problems, then leave. One day you will return the favour, to her or to another mum, keep the love cups full and the world going round.
Anyways back to the mud, I should close off and pop my boys clothes in to soak. And if I remember correctly I did put a load of washing in the washing machine before we headed out to playgroup, that unfortunately hasn’t hung itself out. Where was my tribe this morning when my washing needed hanging out …