A couple of months ago I signed up to be the local ambassador for the well known online go-to website, Mumsnet. Not sure what I’d really agreed to, I was nervous that I’d committed to something I didn’t really have the time for . Baby R was only 6 months, Christmas was knocking on the door, my little spare time as a mum to 3 was spent writing and networking for my blog and I’d just had the provisional ok to set up my own out of school childcare business. Did I really have time for anything else? Gina, the Devon Mumsnet editor (and owner of the blog Cold Tea & Smelly Nappies,) was gentle on me and left the decision in my hands with no pressure.
Then it struck me, without Mumsnet, where would I be right now?
2013 had started full of optimism and excitement, on Christmas Day, Hubby & I had found out we were expecting our 3rd baby. Not wanting to reveal our good news to anyone until we had it confirmed, we kept it secret. Also, my sister was due any minute and I didn’t want to steal her thunder. Christmas and New passed without anyone suspecting a thing and then one Saturday night, everything came crashing down, by the end of the week, our baby had gone. In the short space of time thinking we were going to be parents to a baby again, our short-lived excitement came to an abrupt end. We’d already started making plans and our future was temporarily uncertain. We grieved behind closed doors, not wanting people to feel awkward while they celebrated the birth of my new niece. I was consumed by bitter-sweet emotions, happy to be an Auntie again but devastated at what I’d lost.
And then I found Mumnset.
At a time when I needed to talk but couldn’t confide in my trusted support network, I found solace in the company of strangers. The Mumsnet talk boards have a dedicated subject boards covering many topics and miscarriage was one of them. With out the ability to off load and encourage others while I dealt with the loss but for struggled to conceive again, I don’t know how I’d have coped without the end of the natters with people I didn’t even know by first name. And that’s why I sign up to be a local ambassador, bringing mums together to socialize and meet up, while spreading the Mumsnet word.
My first meet up was arranged at Pecorama , a local miniture railway, pleasure gardens and indoor soft play centre. I emailed them to let them know we’d be visiting for a Mumsnet meet up and asked for a cheeky discount to encourage a good attendance. Pecorama emailed back to say we could come along for free! Not only that, any mums attending would get a free cup of tea or coffee and 20% off annual membership. They’re renowned for supporting the local community but I certainly wasn’t expecting that level of generosity! Once word got around, people were signing up on the group event Facebook page and the turn out look very promising.
Although the gardens close in the Winter season, the Playstation, a newly built soft play centre, remains open and unlike some soft play centres I been to, everything is clean and very well maintained. We’ve spent many a gloomy day there drinking fresh coffee and indulging in the fresh cakes, with free wifi, it’s a win, win situation so I couldn’t think of any where better for my first Mumsnet meet up. For anyone visiting Devon this year, I’d absolutely recommend a day there. Thomas the tank engine fans will love the miniature ride on railway.
The idea of the Mumsnet meet up is for mums to get together and socialise, with or without the children. Each county has a Mumsnet editor who recruits local ambassadors to arrange the meet ups, it’s a handy online place to make friends in the virtual world via the Mumnet local pages and them meet the friendly faces for real. A few of the mums who came to the Peco meet up were’t aware of the talk forums so it was a perfect occasion to let them know about other places of support and advice as well as ideas for days out and things to do with your children.
For anyone with a few hours a month to spare, check out your Mumsnet Local site to see if your area is in need of a local ambassador. That’s really all you need, although you can do more if you’d like and help bring your community together.