My name is Lisa, I’m a Mum of two boys aged five and three and I live in Hemel Hempstead in Herts and I run an evening arts and crafts group for Mums called First Mummies’ Club.
First Mummies’ Club was born several years ago when my first son, Luca, was around six months old. I was a relative newbie to Hemel Hempstead. I knew people through my husband but in terms of my own meaningful friendships and connections locally, I had few. I’d shuffled in an out of baby groups, making small talks with others Mums and then politely excusing myself when Luca decided to have an almighty melt down. Having children can open up the world to so many possibilities but it can also shake your confidence, feel quite restrictive and isolating.
When I was on maternity leave, I had the time and head space to start getting creative again. I made some framed felt animal pictures for Luca’s room and started on a fabric family tree. I’d worked in the creative environments of Pink Lining and Cath Kidston’s Head office, lead by very inspiring Women entrepreneurs and I felt inspired to get stuck into something that tied in with my own values and the type of Mums only group that was much needed.
I still to this day remember sitting with my Mum in the tropical glass house at RHS Wisley in Surrey, Luca asleep in the buggy and saying….’So, I’ve had this idea.’ My vision was to create a fortnightly evening group for local Mums who were interested in arts, crafts, baking and vintage. Fortunately, she thought it was a good idea, she came up with the name, First Mummies’ Club and asked if she could help me with the sessions! Good job really as I’d probably get in a bit of a flap setting up, tidying up and assisting with her expert tea making and occasional cake-making services! She’s also a wonderful sound board for my ideas and has since gone onto take two floristry workshops, a valuable asset to have!
I think becoming a parent can give you time to realise what your strengths are and I felt mine were in organisation, planning, forward thinking and communication. I just had a feeling there must be like-minded Mums in the local community who shared the same interests as me and felt compelled to create. I also felt many Mums must have experienced feelings of never accomplishing much, I wanted First Mummies’ Club to offer them the opportunity to create something and feel proud of it.
I found a lovely, bright venue, created a Facebook page, went on a course to build my own website, designed a logo and got a load of flyers made, going house to house with Luca in the buggy to post flyers. I also started contacting artists and crafts people I admired, who I felt might like to come and visit us to share their skills and expertise.
The first meeting was in June 2013, it started off with six mums but it grew. It ran for a year and then I wound things down when expecting my second little boy, Robin. I genuinely thought as much as I’d loved it, I would not ever pick it up again, the idea of having two little boys under three and running a business
, just seemed impossible. However, when Robin was approaching his third birthday last year, I felt like the time was right and I needed that ‘something’ again in my life!
I found the perfect venue to re-launch the group at a canal side café. It was a little rustic, intimate, with miss-matching chairs and tables and with art works on the walls., completely different to the more clinical, airy feel of our previous venue. I started promoting again, the response was very positive and I soon filled all the places. The focus also changed slightly as I understood that the reason Mums really enjoyed the group was because it was time for them, creative self-care and ‘me-time.’ I’m also beginning to understand a lot more about how and why creativity can create a feeling of calm and boost mental well-being.
I promote the meetings as being a bit of a ‘retreat,’ an escape from the washing piles, Lego underfoot and general over whelm! I light a few candles, burn some Neals Yard Remedies, have nice music playing, flowers on tables and ensure we break mid-way for a hot drink and a piece of home made cake. The first three sessions
running through November and December, I ran myself, taking the ladies through a project which taught them a new skill, without being too ambitious for the two hour session. This year we’ve welcomed embroiderer, Sara Meanwell and local artist Paula Watkins who works hard with different groups in the community, teaching them art journaling and the benefits of creativity for your mental health. We’ve got some amazing local craftspeople booked to see us over the next few months.
First Mummies’ Club is like my third baby, I am so passionate about it and my brain is always on the go, considering ways I can improve the experience for the lovely Mums who are so deserving of this time just for them. I’m inspired by the wonderful, talented and varied personalities of the women who come to First Mummies’ Club … the buzz I get following the meetings when the women are so pleased and proud of what they’ve created, is like no other. I’m feeling so excited and positive about the future of First Mummies’ Club.
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