All in the same boat: the mind behind Koalamama

Sometimes baby groups aren’t just about the babies. As a new mum, getting out and about and feeling part of the parenting community is really important. And having easily-accessible information about what’s on in your area is a huge part of that. Local mum and business owner Leah Crawford tells all.

In December 2018 I had my daughter Ruby. I was a new mum and found it particularly hard to browse potential things to do with her in one place – I was trawling lots of different websites and social media pages as well as trying to look at all the notice boards and other paper work I was given… all this whilst really tired!

Some things I came across were out of date or had finished. Often I wasn’t sure what to expect or didn’t go because I knew I didn’t have the cash in my purse (the thought of stopping at a cash point with a baby in the car put me off). All these little things made me think… it had to be easier.

I set up Koalamama in the summer of 2019, a website that allows you to find, book and pay online for different classes. It has primarily started in Warwickshire but my plan is to roll it out to different cities every few months, for it to become a national brand and be the place to go if you want to get out of the house and not be lonely!

Personally, my favourite things to do in Warwickshire are: Rhythm Time (Rachel is amazing – she really makes it easy to socialise); stay-and-play groups; and fitness classes where you can take the baby. Exercise was so important to me before Ruby and I wanted to continue my workouts with her.

I also love coffee mornings where you can meet other mums – having had anxiety before I was very conscious that I didn’t want to feel lonely or isolated. I really do think it’s hard to meet new mums and this is a reason why I set up the site – I want people to realise there are things out there to do.

To begin with, I didn’t have a physical mum’s group in the area. I was lucky to have an amazing NCT network and I used to ask other mums to come with me to try stuff out. Organised sessions can be very intimidating, even when they are not meant to be.

Going to new groups, often you feel so vulnerable. If you’re hesitating, try and go solo – you may feel better even just talking to one new person. Everyone really is in the same boat. My tip to those in classes already, would be – make the effort with new people… remember how you felt and welcome everyone, even if it’s just with a smile. Support each other, it’s crucial.

And if I had to say just one thing to a new mum it would be – the time really does fly by. Even in those moments when it’s very stressful, scary, emotional and tiring, try to enjoy every moment.

You really are doing an amazing job.

Xylophone photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem (Unsplash), coffee photo by Nani Williams (Unsplash), and all other photos by Koalamama.