I love mornings when I can read something on the internet and it makes me feel inspired to write. Today is one of those mornings.
The post in essence was about creating a village for ourselves as mothers when our children are young, the key word for me in the post was Contribution.
I remember attending a few groups with Alex when he was little, play groups, coffee groups and although at the time I did enjoy them, or I enjoyed getting out of the house, there was always something missing. In a world where there are 100’s and 100’s of different programmes, mums groups and experiences that you can take your children to, many of them will not fill us up in a way that we feel good about ourselves as mothers and I think much of this is because we take from these groups but we don’t give back in the same way. It’s a little like paying for a service. Yes it’s good to get a job done, and we appreciate it but then we move on and don’t think about it again until next time, or maybe we wonder if we should have asked them to do something slightly different.
This mornings reading instantly made me think of Playcentre, a place where contribution is a key part of Playcentres survival. When I found our beautiful Playcentre in Napier, I found what I had been searching for after my children were born. A place where everyone contributes on some level, there was love, energy, compassion and consideration which you felt as soon as you walked into this beautiful setting. One of the wonderful components of Playcentre is that there are parents of all ages and stages of having children so you can learn something from everyone, children learn for older and younger children and mums learn from each other too.
Contribution is something that we as humans have to do, it’s an essential part of who we are as human beings and when we are not contributing we start suffering. These days many people think that the only way to contribute is by having a voice on social media, yes that is a way of contributing but it is by no means a way that will help you feel content, actually it’s probably going to make you feel less contented and sometimes even less connected, even if you have 1000’s of followers. Contributing in a meaningful way where you have a few friends say thank you to you in person will make you feel more connected long term than getting a 1000 likes on your Instagram page and a few shares on stories that will disappear in 24 hours. Contributing to a group where everyone’s voice is heard when making a decision will make you feel more connected than being unfollowed or trolled on social media because someone doesn’t like your opinion on a topic you share. Giving your time and energy to prepare food to share with your fellow mums and their children will help you feel more connected than sharing and tagging your café breakfast photos on Instagram.
Many of my best years of having young children were the years I was involved in Playcentre, we went a couple of times a week, helped with jobs, was part of planning and I made many friends from different backgrounds and ages. Some of these mums I would never have crossed paths with had we not met at Playcentre, and oddly even though many of them I don’t see now very often I still feel like I have a special bond and if in 20 years I met them on the street haven’t not seen them for that long, I think there would be one of those special connections you have with people like those that you go to primary school with, where you have each others backs and can connect on that deeper level of having gone though a time together that no one else but you all share.
If you a mum with pre school children, including babies searching for connection in your daily life, reach out to your local Playcentre, they are all slightly different so if you are lucky to have a few in your town or city, visit a few to get a feel for them. Playcentre gives back what you put in, so join in with the planning, join in with the education, join in with the everyday wonderful space that is not only for your children but also very much for mums, parents and caregivers. Here is a link to Playcentre and how to find a one local to you.
Link to original Instagram post I read this morning.