The Important Practice of Making Playground Pals

The Important Practice of Making Playground Pals

By Alexandra Whiting   |  

Images courtesy of Bobby Clark

For lots of new families, it’s all hands on deck for the first few weeks. Usually both parents are home learning the whims of their new baby, meals are dropped off, midwives check in and friends come by to meet your new addition. After that time, when it’s just one parent at home, and the help lessens, as do the visits, the primary carer, often mum, can start to feel pretty lonely. We live very separately these days. In different cities or even countries than where we grew up. Rarely are we in the same suburbs as our friends and when you’re navigating nap schedules, distances can grow tremendously. This was never the way we were meant to raise children. We’re meant to have the village - numerous hands to help out, loved ones to hold the baby and care for you too. The village isn’t as obvious in modern society, but that just means we have to look a little harder to find it. Sometimes this means digging out your primary school skills of making friends in the playground, once again, in the playground. Or the coffee shop, or playgroup.

Melbourne-based photographer Bobby Clark and her friend, and business partner, Annika Hein fell pregnant two months apart. “We dreamt of going on big walks and adventures together and watching our babies grow,” she says. “Then COVID-19 hit and we were outside each other’s 5km limit so we missed the sweet newborn months together. Both being new mums, isolated without our families (mine in Scotland, Annika's in NSW) our conversations started to center around the importance of 'the village' when raising babies and the loneliness that comes with being a new mother.” Once restrictions were lifted, the two decided to start their own playgroup for like-minded parents, Beïge Bebe, focused around art, culture, creativity, community and good coffee.

For new parents, especially those without their family closeby, having other new parent friends gives so much more than companionship. “Having friends who are also new parents has really been my saving grace,” says Bobby. “I prefer to work things out as I go, through trial and error and listening to other people’s experiences instead of reading books or endless articles, so for me, having a community is the best way for me to learn.”

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