I’ve got a little confession to make to you all… I’m a playgroup mum. Yep, I’m going to announce it to the world, loud and proud, I’ma playgroup mum, and that’s OK. It’s OK to be a playgroup mum, and I’m going to tell you why.
There’s been this stigma recently, particularly on social media (I’m looking at you Twitter) where going to play groups just isn’t a cool millennial mum thing to do. Play groups seem to get tarnished with the same brush, that they’re noisy and boisterous and all the mums do is drink coffee, and talk about poo and how little sleep they’ve had, or on the flip side, belittle each others parenting choices so we feel bad that we our kid ate chicken nuggets and chips for dinner last night, but Joyce’s trio of perfect children had quinoa and avocado (as you can tell, my kids are the former as I have no idea if quinoa and avocado even go together).
And sure, there are some playgroups and mums that do fit that stereotype. And there will be some mums that whether intentionally or not, will give the impression of having a far better grip on motherhood than yourself. But much like Instagram, many parenting stories shared, particularly the ones that seem too good to be true, are just that… too good to be true. Or there’s more to the story than meets the eyes. Sure the kid might be a great eater, but maybe she also takes three hours to go to bed and wakes at 3am.
But there’s also so many great things about playgroup, and much like social media, the negative things should be taken with a pinch of salt.
I’ve had so many great conversations that have left me feeling inspired, or less lonely, less anxious and put my mind at ease. I’ve also had many chats that have made me laugh so hard, and gained some amazing mum friends in the process. I’ve come out of group feeling motivated and happy, not just for the rest of the days motherhood trials, but in general, about life and work.
Plus there’s the side that you’re getting to socialise your children. And we all know that this is the main reason to go to playgroup in the first place. Seeing Henry in particular interact and play with other kids is so rewarding, especially as you don’t get to see it when they’re in nursery and pre-school.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve struggled with groups. Had to push myself into leaving the house to go to a playgroup session, for the good of my kids. Often it is worth it, and we all have a good time out of the house. Sometimes it’s really hard work and I leave frazzled and stressed out, but that’s a normal part of motherhood.
No, playgroups aren’t for everyone. And not all playgroups will be for you. We have two local groups. One I adore, that we go to often twice a week. The other I disliked. You have to find what works best for you and your little’s.
But don’t dismiss them straight away because they aren’t “cool” or because you don’t want to be a “playgroup mum”. Some of us rely on these groups for our main adult interactions for the week.
It’s OK to be a playgroup mum, because I’m one of them too!
Photos by the ever so talented Heather Lerryn Photography – gifted but with no obligation to share.