A birthday bash for 100 babies? Yes, a group of intrepid mums are planning this for their precious bundles who will turn one in January 2015. And since these ladies met on the Forum at SingaporeMotherhood (SMH), we’re feeling like proud parents as well, hehe.
But seriously, the introduction to motherhood can be daunting, particularly for new mothers. So it’s helpful to have support from fellow mums who are also experiencing the same ups and downs.
Today’s story is about a group of mums who have grown together from expectant ladies, anxious about the birth of their children, to mothers jointly planning their babies’ first birthday bash.
These mums met on the SingaporeMotherhood forum and formed a firm friendship with each other. Many also introduced their friends to the discussions. The common thread that bonded the mums? They were all due to give birth in January 2014.
Sharing & Learning on SMH
Underwriter Renee Tan, 32, who has an eight-month-old daughter, Alyssa, says, “SMH provides a platform for us to meet, share stories, and to give encouragement and support to each other. Articles on SMH have been useful; they give us an idea what to expect out of pregnancy and parenthood so that we will not feel alone.”
Juliana Toh, a preschool teacher, shares the same sentiments. “We refer to SMH to check on product reviews; it’s especially useful for first time mums when it comes to big purchases such as breast pumps, sterilisers, and toys like the Jumperoo. The articles are useful too as they provide very useful information and experience for us to learn,” says the 36-year-old who has two children, Jodie, five, and Jerome, eight months.
As a first-time mother, Amy Chua, mum of seven-month-old Mavis, appreciates the advice shared within the group, particularly those from mums with older children. The women also love sharing information about good deals such as diaper sales, baby fairs and clothings for babies. “And gossping!” laughs the 29-year-old engineer.
Building on Bonds
While the tendency for such threads to fizzle over time is high, especially after the babies grow older, this particular group has not only grown in strength, it has also formed its own ‘organising committee’ to plan a birthday bash for over 100 babies and their families.
The friendship within the group continues to grow strong, and more members are joining in on a regular basis. “This is probably due to the fact that our little ones are all the same age and we can share their milestones together. We went gaga over each other’s little ones’ first tooth, sitting for the first time, standing and walking,” shares Evangeline Seah, 34, a business owner and mum to Mireille, seven months.
Cindy Biling, a 33-year-old educator and mum to Kate, eight months, enjoys this strong bond of friendship that has been forged on support and trust, where everyone pulls in to offer support and encouragement whenever an issue or problem is shared within the group.
Over the time that the mums have known each other, their topics of discussion have changed based on the growth and milestones of their little ones.
During pregnancy, they discussed their pregnancy symptoms, differences in labour options, hospital fees and old wives’ tales. During their confinement month, they shared about how they coped with their newborns as well as breastfeeding difficulties and sleeping challenges.
Now they trade weaning recipes, share tips on caregiver options, safe-proofing their homes, PD recommendations, medical conditions and other baby milestones, and even seek advice on how to deal with differing views on bringing up baby with parents and in-laws. Their most recent discussion is on childcare or playschool recommendations.
“It is through encouragement and support from fellow mummies that we are able to persevere in giving the best to our little ones!” shares Evangeline.
When most of the mums were on maternity leave, they were able to hold big group gatherings at their homes. As most of the mothers have since returned to work, they now have lunch gatherings – a mum will occasionally post a date and time on the SMH forum, and whoever can make it will join in the gathering.
The group has split into sub-groups based on interest, and has had recent gatherings at baby gym and music classes, as well as a one-off class for infant CPR and weekly sessions of baby wearing ballet – these were all organised by fellow mums in the group.
Senior associate Koo See Lian, 32, attended trial classes together with the other mums and their babies. “We have tried out Kindermusik and Baby Gym. It’s not only beneficial for our babies as they are all first timers, but it’s also easier for the facilitators to handle a class where everyone is at the same pace” says the mum of Brayan, four, and Cheryl, eight months.
The group ethic has also helped these mums in other ways. Together, they have consolidated orders from overseas buyers to share reduced shipping charges. “And when the items arrive, we will take the chance, or excuse, to meet with each other!” laughs 42 year old senior operation executive Linda Loh, mum to Jovan, seven, Jovin, four, Jovest, three, and Jovelle, seven months.
Amy shares: “One of our mums is located in New Zealand and when she shared a picture of her daughter wearing a handmade bib that was sold by an online seller in New Zealand, we all went gaga over the cute design. So when the seller lauched her designs, they were all snapped up by our group within 10 minutes!”
The group continues to communicate through the SMH forum in the Jan 2014 mummy group on the SingaporeMotherhood Forum where they all first met, and frequent the WTB (want-to-buy) and WTS (want-to-sell) threads to look for or sell preloved baby items. Jesslyn Chia, 33, mum to six-year-old Nicole, three-year-old Nareen and nine-month-old Navis, finds the bulk purchase (BP) threads useful for getting interesting items that cannot be found locally, or for buying items at a cheaper rate.
Planning the Birthday Bash
“The idea of a big birthday bash was triggered by a proposal of holding a big party for all the January babies, their biggest get-together session yet,” shares Gwyn Low, a stay-at-home mum to seven-month-old Kate. “The difficulty of organising such an event is squeezing out time to plan it on top of their daily work commitments and mothering tasks,” says the former product manager.
They are targeting a party for 100 babies and their families so finding a suitable venue, as well as a date and time that works for everyone, is a big challenge, hence the decision to create an organising committee. In fact, this committee is so organised that it has several project leaders with well-defined responsibilities, including all matters pertaining to venue, RSVPs, project coordination, finance, as well as theme and décor!
The resourceful group has also sought sponsorship for goodie bag items, and have already secured some from Friso, Abbott, Curash, Combi, LoveSprings, Pediped, Redmart, Kao, and Goon.
All of us at SingaporeMotherhood wish you all the best in your planning, and happy birthday in advance, January 2014 babies!
Images: Courtesy of Richard Leong