BUILDING YOURSELF A VILLAGE IN EPSOM
If you're new to Epsom or are new to motherhood then below are all my tips to building yourself a village in the area.
Local Playgroups & Classes
Local playgroups and classes are an excellent way to meet other mums with little ones and also to get you and your little one out the house. They were a lifesaver for me!
The playgroups have the added benefit that you don't have to sign up for a whole term and just drop in on the days that work with your schedule, which can be ever changing when you have a baby.
I loved classes because they had a focus and someone else had it all planned out and did the entertaining, and you could see what things your child was interested in without having to get stuff/toys/instruments at home that might go unused if your child's just not that into them (which happened more than I care to remember).
I personally did a mix of playgroups and some classes. We tried Tinytalk, Messaroos, Baby Sensory and Hartbeeps all of which were fab.
Another option is to attend local meet ups. There are some run by NCT groups and there's also Surrey Mama that arranges meet ups locally. Of course you could always start your own (I'd be happy to advertise it on here if you get in touch), there's a list of baby friendly cafes & pubs as a starting point if it's something you'd like to try.
I mostly used playgroups and classes to break up my days and for both me and my daughter to get out meeting other people. We're both complete introverts so also I liked to mix it up with playdates at home (with people we met at classes/NCT).
As much as I love time alone, time alone with a baby day in and day out can feel very isolating. So if you're feeling at all isolated and feel like you could do with some adult company check out the classes/playgroups page for an array of options.
Also know that most other mums are probably in the same boat, so it's not like rocking up to an event where everyone knows each other. I was pleasantly surprised by how warm and welcoming all the groups and classes were and it's partly why I started up this website. I wanted other mums to have all the possible options at their fingertips, making life that little bit easier.
Along with getting out the house and meeting other mums & babies it's really useful to take advantage of all the amazing support that is available in the area.
I was astounded by the amount of breastfeeding support available. There are many drop-in clinics & helplines on top of what you receive from your health visitor.
There's also support available too if you'd like a little help around the house.
Postnatal doulas are not something I'd heard about until I was well past the point of needing one. They're still relatively unheard of but such an amazing support. They offer help with breastfeeding, housework, holding a baby while you go take a bath or a shower basically whatever YOU need to help you while you're getting to grips with being a new mum. I so wish I'd have known about them!
While we're on this topic if you think a cleaner would make your life infinitely easier or having meals delivered to your door would help you get better nutrition and you can afford it then really consider doing it.
There seems to be a lot of guilt/shame when it comes to motherhood (I know I used to feel it sometimes). There's this feeling that we should be doing it all. Especially for first time mums (I think those on baby number 3 or 4 have learnt not to put quite so much pressure on themselves).
Mums have SO much mental work going on and the emotional labour of being attentive and keeping a small baby alive it really is OK if your house is not quite so clean and tidy anymore. And it's OK if you can't be bothered to cook. The best thing I did was start getting our food shop delivered and it really doesn't cost too much at all, especially if you're in during the day as the delivery passes for the year are quite reasonable if you can do Tues-Thurs delivery dates.
I've heard some mothers say that the best gift they got as a family when their child was born was a cleaner for a month or a gift of COOK meals delivered (there's a shop in Banstead, Cheam & Ashtead!).
It's so important to remember that whilst our parents and grandparents may have done the cooking and cleaning they also had family nearby to help out, they got a break and they had support. All of the above is a way to try and bridge a little of the gap because as new mums we really do need plenty of support so that we can be the best version of ourselves for our precious little ones.
Finally a massive shout out to the local cafe owners in the area. Many of them are parents themselves and they offer great baby friendly facilities and a place for you to go to get out the house for a little while.