Why you should go to a sling meet if you haven’t yet.
Motherhood is tough. We read that all the time on blog posts, on social media and we hear it through the champions of motherhood such as my new found inspirational people; January Harshe and Constance Hall. No one told the enormity of motherhood before I embarked on it and probably best they didn’t. Can you imagine telling your former self what childbirth is really like and how you would feel when a baby was terrorising your nipple for hours on end? And all of the other millions of challenges that come in the weeks and months after that.
What I wish people had told me (persistently and repeatedly) are...
- You can’t spoil a baby with cuddles
- A sling can cure pretty much anything as it’s just a cuddle with support
- Babies don’t have to go in buggies
- You can sleep in bed with your baby safely
- What the forth trimester is all about
- Sit down whenever you can and rest, seriously because you never will again
It’s taken me two babies to learn what works for me. Hopefully now I pass on this information to any of my friends who are expecting their first. If it’s not their bag then I respect that but I feel it’s my duty to impart the tiny bit of knowledge I feel I can, when I can, to make anyone’s first few months of motherhood easier.
I am so so lucky with my motherhood support network. It started with just my Mum and a girl who I met down the road because I thought she looked cool and she had a baby. Luckily I was right, she was cool and thankfully she wanted to be my friend and support me through those hazy first weeks.
From humble beginnings I am now lucky enough to boast a huge support network of amazing and inspirational women. Woman who I know I can count on for anything. They help me everyday. How did I meet all of these people? Well, mainly through slings. Sling libraries and sling socials and sling Facebook pages.
The term ‘find your village’ is becoming increasingly popular and I’m on board. 100%. Finding a village and a support network to get you through what is the best but scariest and loneliest and most amazing time of your life is the best thing to do. Not everyone’s is going to be at a sling library but if you’re still looking it’s a good place to start.
If you’re just starting out in this parenting game or you’ve been in it for a while but you’ve lost your mojo then get out and find some support. It’s there, you wont have to look far and there are people who want to support and not make you feel inadequate. It may be at a toddler group where you bond over walking around with your newly walking toddler talking about the time when you used to command the attention of children and now you mainly just police your child whilst they are climbing on the dining room table. It may be sharing a walk and putting the world to rights with a like minded soul. Wherever you find it, these moments, that pass in an instant will be the times you remember forever. Don’t let them be lonely moments. Make them moments shared with people who get you and you get them.
Naturally Happy Families provides a sanctuary for families. Whatever your preconceptions of the ‘hippie types’ that use slings and carriers are, forget them. It’s not about that. At the sling meets and socials it’s just about support. It’s supporting women and families in whatever their choices are in parenthood. It’s about finding a place to drink tea, eat cake and chat to people about what you’ve been through. It’s about woman coming together and sharing tales of woe and strength. It’s not just about slings and carriers.
Why would you want to go through the journey of motherhood alone? I know I would be a totally different mother than I am today without my support network. I’ve changed, I’m growing and I’m learning. I hope my girls see that and I hope that others can gain something from my knowledge when I peer support at sling meets. Sharing our experiences and being part of something makes for a better and more fulfilling life with each other.
The world is full of advice and information that influences us and what we do. Not just as mothers and fathers but in everything. Having places to escape from judgement is important. It’s important to nurture ourselves before we can nurture anyone else. So today, I encourage you to take the plunge and find your village. It might be at a sling meet or it might be at the playgroup down the road. But whatever you do, find somewhere that you feel inspired to be a better parent after having been there.
And if you don’t find your village you can at least eye up the carriers and eat some bloody good cake.
The next sling meet is on Friday in `Witham and then the following Friday in Chelmsford. You'll be very welcome x