Playgroups are a great way to get your little ones mixing with other kids their age, and to wear them out with new games and toys. They’re also a great place for mums to socialise. The downside is that more often than not, playgroups meet during the week – which leaves working mums out of the loop.
When Sydney mum Kristy Di Nuzzo returned to work after six months of maternity leave she felt like she was missing out. “I envied all the mums enjoying their weekday playgroup. I searched Sydney wide for a weekend playgroup, but I couldn’t find anything,” she says.
Knowing there had to be other working mothers in the same boat, Kristy decided to take matters into her own hands. “I was convinced that there must be other mums out there just like me who would love the idea of a playgroup on a weekend,” she says. “Why should full-time working mums miss out on meeting new mums and socialising their children?”
Naming it the Business Mums Playgroup, Kristy started gauging interest via a Facebook group. When she attracted 130 local mums to the group in its first 48 hours she knew she was on to something.
So far the Sutherland Shire playgroup has had two meetings, and has been well received by attendees.
Natasha Nunez, who has been to the meetings, says that working mums often miss out on the opportunity to socalise with other mothers and their children, but that the Business Mums Playgroup gives them the opportunity the need.
“It can give us a feeling of not just being the ‘working mum’ but a great mum that spends quality time with her kids,” she says.
Similarly, Rachel Whitney enjoys being able to socialise with other mums who understand the challenges of working full time while having young children. "I love that we can chat not only about our lovely kids but the way we manage working full-time and juggling it all,” she says.
Kristy plans to continue running the Business Mums Playgroup for as long as it’s needed and wanted by the community. “I feel like it will just keep going and going,” she says.
“The great thing is that we’re getting mums who have had their second baby and are bringing along their older children. It means that the toddlers and preschoolers get to make new friends too,” Kristy says.
But while many working mothers say they would be keen to see a Saturday playgroup in their neighbourhood, others say that weekends are for family time.
“I wouldn’t go to a weekend playgroup,” says Niamh Mitchell, a mum who works full time. “After working all week I want to spend quality time with my family.”
Niamh also says that when working, the weekend is the only time she has to take her daughters to swimming lessons and to catch up on housework and grocery shopping.
“As nice as a weekend playgroup would be in theory, the reality is that for many working mums there are just other priorities on the weekend.”
But for mums such as Anna Clarke, a weekend playgroup would be a “godsend.”
“We recently moved to a new neighbourhood and I don’t have any friends locally. I work full-time and so don’t get to go to the local playgroup during the week,” she says.
“I would love a weekend playgroup – it would be the perfect way to connect with other families who are in the same boat.”