It’s your turn to host your ante natal coffee group and the thought is sending you into a slight panic. Getting yourself and baby out the door in less than two hours is a big enough task – let along preparing your house and hosting a group of mums you don’t quite know yet.
Due to being an extrovert and a stay at home mum I have managed to have had some type of mums’ group in my house most weeks for the past 3 years. I’ve had a couple of great moments such as forgetting I had invited people over and arriving home to 3 mums with newborns sitting on the front step. But generally things run well and nothing makes me happier than my lounge full of mums drinking coffee and sharing life together (just yesterday I had 10 mums and 14 kids over and it was incredible!).
So as a mum who can now get a group going with a 3 year old and a baby in tow – here are a couple of tips I’ve picked up along the way that might help you out.
1. Don’t stress out
The goal is to have people feel comfortable in your home – not to impress them with your stunning hospitality and impeccable housework. If you’re relaxed when people walk in the door then they will be too.
2. Choose a time to host that suits your schedule
I’ve found there’s usually a time of day that my babies have been most settled and I try to have people over during this time. 10am tends to work well for me but I have also run groups in the afternoon when things have changed for us.
3. Prepare what you can the night before
Because, one thing is certain, if you have people coming around the baby will vomit all over you and have a nappy explosion about 20 minutes before they are due to arrive. Tidy the house, clean the bathroom and toilet and organise the food you are going to serve before you go to bed – the bonus is you’ll often have someone else around to help too.
4. Set out your lounge intentionally
Set out furniture so there are the right number of seats for those coming and plenty of room for car seats and nappy bags etc. If it’s going to be too tight you may need to get people to put unneeded things in the hall or a spare room when they arrive. Put tissues and/or wet wipes in easy reach – trust me on this one!
5. Think about the atmosphere of your room
Before people arrive check the temperature of the room and make sure it’s nice and warm in winter or cool in summer. Choose some music to put on quietly in the background as this will help give some atmosphere in the room (and help cover any awkward silences).
6. Ask people to bring food to share to take the pressure of you
People love to bring something to contribute so don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself. However, it is also nice to have something out when people arrive. Don’t worry if you’re not a baker either. Presenting a plate of shop brought food works just as well – especially if it’s chocolate!
7. Plan things out if you’re nervous
If playing host makes you nervous then plan when and how things are going to happen. But do keep in mind anything involving babies will be unpredictable – you may need to pass your baby over to someone to go and make drinks or help someone find something in the kitchen. You could even invite one of the other mums you know well to come early to help you out. This helps avoid the potentially awkward conversation with the first person to arrive and means that when people walk in the door the atmosphere is already comfortable.
8. If it’s not going to work think of another option
If your house is too small or having people over is just too much then don’t be afraid to suggest having your turn to host at a cafe or park. Some of the best groups I’ve run have been a picnic at the park or a trip to the museum. Just make sure you scout the place out first to make sure you can fit and get there early on the day.
And in the end keep in mind that people don’t remember how clean your carpet was but they do remember turning up sleep deprived to a group of mums who can sympathise and encourage them. So set up your lounge, relax and enjoy the craziness!