We all need help sometimes, whether that’s practical help to get something done, or emotional support because life happens and can get on top of us. But for many people, asking for help is difficult, for a whole host of reasons. It might be that there isn’t anyone to ask, it might be that you feel like asking for help is admitting you can’t cope or it might be that you’re just so overwhelmed that you’re not even sure what help you might need.
You see, the thing is, being a parent is bloody hard work. I’m a mum to 3 gorgeous little Mumblers, who I love dearly, but they do have a tendency to consume my time and sanity on a regular basis. As parents, we all have that never ending to do list. Whether it be cooking, general life admin, doing the big shop, helping with homework….. and the list goes on. In fact, it never ends. Throw in a job, or any major life event, it can become a little hard to see the wood for the trees. It can be completely overwhelming and difficult to even prioritise what to do first.
There is ALWAYS someone who needs something in our house. Which is fine, I’m a mum, responding to needs is what I do. And my husband is the same. But at the end of the day (literally!), that never leaves much time for anything else. The things that get pushed further and further down your list – self care, admin stuff, even sleep can begin to cause anxiety and stress. So when I heard about Coffee, Chill and Spill and the work Vik does, I needed to know more!
Coffee Chill and Spill began as a maternal wellbeing group, running every Thursday morning at Heaton Norris Pavillion. It’s grown phenomenally since it started, attended by mums, with their babies and toddlers, but where the focus is on them as mum and a woman. Vik, who runs the group and that ‘at home’ service, is really honest about why she set the group up – because when she was lost in the fog and overwhelm after having her second child, she really could have done with a regular, welcoming, friendly and non judgemental place to go, with other mums who were feeling just the same. Whilst running the group, she’s heard countless mums explain that they sometimes just need that extra pair of hands. Someone to hold the baby whilst they sleep, take a shower longer then 10 seconds, or play with the toddler whilst they get some stuff done off that never ending list. This sparked something, and Coffee, Chill and Spill at home was born. Vik, being qualified in Early Years Childcare and subject to a full DBS check, could be that extra pair of hands. She understands from personal experience how that can lift a weight from a mums shoulders, just to let them fell like they’ve had some time where they have chosen how to spend it. It’s a massive boost for maternal wellbeing to feel like you’ve invested some time in yourself.
So, thinking ‘I could do with a bit of that!’, I contacted Vik. We arranged an informal half an hour session so we could talk though what I wanted to get out of the time. I also mentioned it to my husband, unsure of the response I would get. Would he think I wasn’t coping? Was I admitting that I wasn’t coping? Is that a bad thing? Am I coping? I feel like I am, but that’s not to say it doesn’t feel relentless sometimes. Thankfully, my Husband’s response was really positive. I don’t know why I thought it wouldn’t be, but I guess it’s to do with the stigmas of seeking support or practical help from someone that isn’t him.
Vik offers two hour sessions and it’s really important to her to understand and help you get the most out of that time. For me, it was to get some things off my list, but she explained that for others it might just be time to catch up on much needed sleep. One mum wanted time to clear out her Kitchen cupboards because it had been getting her down for ages .It’s whatever YOU need. There is no prescription and every session is different. We agreed that Vik would look after my miniest Mumbler whilst I get on with what I need to, without any interruptions. She’s happy to hang out at your house to do that, but we agreed that she would take Charlie for a walk on the day – weather permitting. We agreed a date and time and I was already looking forward to it.
The day came, and Vik came as agreed. She took the mini one out to the local library and for a walk around the park. At the end of the two hours, I felt like I had accomplished something and it gave me a spring in my step for the rest of the day, if not week!
So mamas, if you need some help/support but aren’t sure where to turn, I urge you to put your concerns aside and get in touch with Vik. There is a cost for the At Home Service, but it is very reasonable and through the sponsorship and support of local businesses, Vik is often able to offer the sessions at a reduced rate. And the way I look at it, many people will spend money on themselves in other ways like getting your eyebrows or nails done ,or buying a new top or having meal out, but how often do we spend a bit of time and money on our own emotional wellbeing? I always say, if I could buy time, I would. Well now I can! You can even buy a gift voucher for a friend or loved one who you think might benefit from a bit of time. And if you’re not sure the At Home Service is for you, details of the group are below.