Included a photograph of the big paper from our discussion.

It was proposed that NCT, Children’s Centres and living in an actual village, (as one of us in the discussion did!) are all good starts. Later in the discussion we wondered if the issue there though might be that they are very child focussed situations and that they can be alienating for mothers too?

Then we talked about theatre organisations that our group members know of:
- Parents in Theatre: Project Ovation
- Mothers Who Make
- PIPA, (it was highlighted that this group are more a campaign group that a support group)
- Band of Mothers – performance with babies!

Then we spoke about some of our own personal experiences and how we manage ourselves.
- One member is part of a group of friends who will pick up the children of other members whilst some work. (Dubbed in my notes as “Super Mum Pick-Up Network!”)
- Having our children in rehearsal rooms. Not ideal as attention is completely split in two! BUT it feels great to be supported to do so if you’re stuck.

We spoke about performance situations we know of that are helping access for mothers of young children to theatre:
- Music Next at The Brunswick in Hove
- Not Now Collective already offer baby-friendly performances and are looking at organising a creche during their next show. It was noted that parents can still feel afraid to take advantage of such offers, for fear that their child will be the one who makes too much fuss. But the member from Not Now Collective stressed that nothing could stop the show, not even a child crawling across the stage as long as they are safe! They are having some teething issues with theatres and health and safety, organising the creche. We discussed that the creche might be more useful for older children or children who are already used to being left with another carer.
It was highlighted that “The Village” model can be a remedy to the guilt and shame we sometimes feel about very normal things as mothers and parents, (until we share our experiences with each other!)

One member spoke about a fantastic yoga retreat she had been on where children were welcome. I remembered that I had seen somewhere that there is a similar retreat for artists in America. Then we all fantasised about how amazing that would be in the UK!

We also fantasised about the idea of a Surrogate Grandparent Service!

One member mentioned Play Space in Hastings as being an ideal creative space for parents and children alike, owing to the quality stimulus and space that is offered.
We finished by asking how do we STAY in conversation with each other? There’s nothing better than face to face conversations.

Finally, it was decided that sometimes the best way to find your own village is to START ONE YOURSELF! 😊 Organise the play date, see who stays in touch. Keep talking. Keep saying hello. Keep inviting. It could take time, but you’ll find your tribe.