Meeting Mums, Marsh Farm and A Few Challenges

Last week was a week of meeting new people, trying new things and challenging times.

three siblings cuddled together for the camera

Where are all the mums?

Last week I took advantage of Little being at nursery in the mornings to go out and meet some new people. I spent two mornings chatting with other mums, total strangers who I potentially shared nothing in common other than being a mum and our location. It’s common for mums to feel lonely, especially new mums on maternity leave, but there were relatively low numbers of people at the meet ups which left me wondering, where are they all?

On Tuesday I headed to a baby group I loved when my youngest daughter was a baby. It turns out it hadn’t started back after Easter yet, but as Baby boy needed a feed I got some water and sat down. Shortly after a lady with a pushchair came in looking a bit lost, she spoke to a member of staff who must have told her the group wasn’t on so while she was looking around the cafe I waved her over and invited her to stay and chat. Two more mums came in and the four of us stayed and talked. There was one first time mum, but the rest of us had two to five children. There had been nothing on the website or social media to suggest the group wasn’t on so it’s only if people had been to one of the last groups before Easter they would have known it wasn't on.

On Thursday I went to a Mush mums meet up. These were organised across the country as part of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day. There were about eight mums I think in total at the Loughton one and we ended up dividing into two groups: those with smaller babies sitting around a table and those with little ones on the move who could enjoy the toys in a play pen. I didn’t get to speak to everyone, but of those I did talk to the majority weren’t first time mums.

So where are the first time mums? Do they not know how to find the baby groups and meet up opportunities? Are they at other groups? Or are they at home? I know it takes confidence to get out the house and to meet people but when so many say they are lonely meeting them should be easier.

When my eldest was a baby the NHS ran a group for babies under six months near by which was a lifeline for me.  There were also several baby sessions at our children’s centres, but funding cuts mean the first has gone completely (although I don’t really understand why as it didn’t need much facilitation), a children centre has closed and the sessions reduced at the other. I know how much I would have struggled without those resources in place.

The Greatest Show at Marsh Farm #gifted

On Saturday we went to Marsh Farm in Chelmsford with press tickets. We were there only last month after we were invited to their Easter Grotto, but we had seen the promotions for the Greatest Show event so when we received an invite to visit again I knew my girls would have a great time. Unfortunately we were there on another showery day, but this time the showers were both rain and hail! Fortunately there are plenty of inside activities so it wasn’t a big problem.

The themed weekend meant that there were performances on throughout the day where actors/ dancers/ singers performed a tribute to the Greatest Showman film. My 7 and 3 year old were both captivated by the show and Baby Boy was mesmerised by the lights and music. Every hour there was also the opportunity to go to a circus skills workshop (again undercover). Everyone was shown how to spin plates, get started on the diabolo and given a few suggestions for activities with scarfs. We all (except the baby) had a go and I’m not sure who had most fun, it was great.

The girls enjoyed the play area and the soft play, but we only got to the second hole on crazy golf before it started to rain again. Fortunately as all these activities are included in the entrance price it didn’t matter.

On our first visit we hadn’t had the time to do any of the animal activities so this time we were going to walk with Llamas, but the starting rain put us off. We did manage to make it to a meet the chick session in the Hatchery at the end of the day which was lovely. The girls both got to stroke the chicks and find out more about them and G got peed on by one!

We are definitely testing the claim that you can have a fun day out at Marsh Farm  on a wet day, but I would love to have to visit on a day that stayed sunny too!

A child on monkey bars and toddler on a swing bridge at Marsh Farm

A child stroking a yellow chick at Marsh Farm

Throwing a Diabolo circus toy in the air

Toddler spinning a diabolo at Marsh Farm Circus Skills session

Another Tough Week for Baby Boy

Baby Boy has had another fussy week. Possibly a knock on affect of his immunisations and the start of a cold which hit with full force at the weekend. Baby Boy has had many colds in his first few months, but this is the first time his nose has been so blocked he has struggled to feed. The last week has seen him spend far too much time crying and I hate it.

Baby Boy on a white sheet looking at the camera

Siblings Needing Attention

It’s been a hard week with Little as well. I think she has been struggling with a combination of tiredness from nursery and lack of attention. My normally happy girl has spent a lot of time grizzling because she sees her siblings getting attention for similar behaviour. She has also drawn all over herself on a couple of occasions. 

We have been working hard on trying to help her, rewarding her for happy behaviour rather than sad. I spent Wednesday afternoon doing what she wanted to do, which happened to be going to a “cafĂ© and playground” where her brother decided to do a poonami no where near changing facilities. On Sunday her Dad took her out scooting and they made a castle out of cut grass. 

My eldest also talked to me at the weekend, telling me she missed me and wanted a day with just me. Having a baby who needs a lot of attention is hard on all of us.

a toddler leg covered in biro drawing

Becoming Frugal

We have finally had to face facts that our finances aren’t what they once were and that we need to spend less. A huge amount of our money goes on groceries and while we can save money on some things we are spending a lot on nappies, cat food and washing liquid due to sensitive skin and a fussy cat. I planned a big shop from Ocado to come Friday morning so we wouldn’t need to visit the shops over the weekend, but frustratingly an item got lost before delivery which happened to be what the girls had asked for dinner that day. I had to go to the supermarket to replace it where, as expected, I ended up buying much more than the missing item through lack of control.

While we aren’t on the bread line we are having to think a lot harder about what we buy and how we use our money after many years of having the luxury of spare income. It’s going to be an interesting journey, especially while I can only earn a minimal income at the moment because Baby Boy doesn’t give me much spare time. I am once again grateful that blogging both provides some income, but also treats that we couldn’t afford at the moment such as the day out at Marsh Farm.

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