Back when Ethan (nearly three) was just a baby, the thought of going to a baby class or baby group was one that filled my mind with anxiety.
I've spent a lot of my life shying away from groups, preferring to keep a smaller amount of company. It's no secret that I'm an introvert, social situations can sometimes leave me feeling a little drained. I like to get to know someone and small talk is never really my thing. So going to a baby group where I knew I'd encounter these sorts of situations felt almost a little overwhelming.
But that was then, that was before I learnt the benefits that those sorts of groups and classes had to offer not only to my baby, but to me too.
Being a Mum on maternity leave can sometimes feel a little lonely, it can at times feel almost a little suffocating at home if you have no-where to go with your little one. There's only so much of shaking a rattle you can do before you feel the need to find to get out of the house for a bit.
It's the change of environment that I craved and the desire to find babies of the same age for my little one to play that drove me to my first group. Walking through the doors alone for the first time was scary, but at the same time I felt a new sense of confidence with my little boy in my arms - I felt like a team with him - I really wasn't on my own.
We've gone on to attend a few baby classes and groups over the years. Ethan now attends nursery two mornings a week, which he loves, so we no longer attend playgroup, but he still goes to his swim class every Tuesday morning and the confidence it has given him is amazing to see - you would never believe that he screamed so loud during his first swimming class that we actually got out of the water and went home early.
I take Logan to Baby Sensory every week and he absolutely loves it and I love that it gives us both a change of environment, that it fills some of our time during the day and that we've picked up a few little things we can do at home together from it.
Baby classes and groups for me went from being something I dreaded to something that actually became a bit of a saviour. I've spoken about my thoughts on baby classes and groups some more over on my youtube channel if you'd like to have a watch..