Guest Blog Post from Hazel Archer - class leader in Chilterns
US mums need the fun and socialising aspect of the Musical Minis sessions just as much as the children do!
My daughter was born in June 2008; by the following February I was back at work as a Wedding and Conference Co-ordinator. I thought returning back to work to be a good way to try and regain the ‘old’ me, but I quickly found that the pressures of work and parenthood were very difficult to juggle. I had elected to go back to work for 3 days a week, but I felt as though the work load was exactly the same as my full-time job of 5-6 days a week! Leaving my daughter behind every day was also a lot harder than I thought it would be, but luckily the child-minder was absolutely fantastic and my daughter really enjoyed herself there.
That April we moved house and I suddenly realised that due to going back to work and not knowing the area very well, I had no ‘mummy friends’ and started to feel quite isolated. I tried hard to go to various playgroups and play centres on my days off, but is was very difficult going on my own and trying not to look as though I was desperate to meet and make friends with the other mums (who were already attending these places with friends of their own). This situation gradually became worse and combined with difficulties at my place of work my husband and I were considering moving away to start a fresh. I eventually handed in my notice at work and my last day there was December 31st 2009. At the beginning of 2010 I vowed to really put in a last big effort to join as many groups as possible with my 18 month old, before throwing in the towel and moving away.
After a few disastrous visits to a couple of playgroups, I decided to try Musical Minis in Heath and Reach, Leighton Buzzard (Bedfordshire). I really didn’t know what to expect, but my daughter absolutely loved dancing and music so I was sure she would enjoy herself…. even if I didn’t.
After just the first session things felt as though they were on the ‘up’! All the mums (plus one Dad) were all so friendly and my daughter hit it off immediately with Paula who ran the class. At the end of our first session one of the mums approached me to say that if I was interested there was a playgroup at the same venue every Monday afternoon. She said she would be going and hoped to see me there. Well I went to that playgroup…and gradually started making friends. The more I attended these groups the happier and more confident I started to feel.
That following summer Paula approached me to ask whether I would consider doing some summer school holiday sessions for her, and I nervously agreed. It’s now almost a year on and I am now running that very same Musical Minis group. I absolutely love it! I always aim to have a really happy class, even if the little ones and their mums are having a rough day, and 95% of the time I get a smile from everybody! It really is an escape for Mums and toddlers combined, and as it’s always such a relaxed atmosphere it’s a great socialising tool!
I am now about to move into Heath Reach, about 5 mins down the road from the Musical Minis venue and closer to my daughter’s friends and mine. The woman that invited me to the local playgroup well over a year ago is now a good friend of mine, and my daughter and I have made so many more friends as a direct result of joining Musical Minis. Running the sessions has given me a sense of achievement that I thought I had given up on after I left my job, but now I am back to my old self again…if not better.