The Voluntary Baby Group Leader

I run the local Baby and Toddler Group. It’s a voluntary position but I feel very passionately that we need a local meeting place like this in the village. There are some high points, but it is often a thankless task…

I See You

I see you getting frustrated that the toys aren’t set up ready for opening time

…but please remember I’m only voluntary.

I see you rolling your eyes that this weeks’ craft is colouring…again!

…but please remember I’m only voluntary.

I see you complaining that your child doesn’t like any of the snacks on offer

…but please remember I’m only voluntary.

I see you turning your nose up at the toy house with the window shutter missing

…but please remember I’m only voluntary.

I see you tutting that a couple of dolls have strayed into the ‘Vehicles’ box

…but please remember I’m only voluntary.

I see you checking your watch because song time should’ve started by now

…but please remember I’m only voluntary.

I see you groaning when I hand out another letter about fundraising

…but please remember I’m only voluntary.

I see you pointing out the book that has been ripped

…but please remember I’m only voluntary.

Voluntary Painting Equipment

But You Don’t See Me

You don’t see me running to group after school drop-off so that I can set the room up in time

…and please remember I’m only voluntary.

You don’t see me pouring over the accounts, wondering if we’ll be able to pay the rent

…and please remember I’m only voluntary.

You don’t see me planning the term’s programme and recruiting volunteers

…and please remember I’m only voluntary.

You don’t see me emailing toy shop after toy shop, asking for donations

…and please remember I’m only voluntary.

You don’t see me trawling the internet for craft ideas and resources

…and please remember I’m only voluntary.

You don’t see me scheduling the Facebook posts to remind you what’s going on

…and please remember I’m only voluntary.

You don’t see me researching the insurance we need to cover the group

…and please remember I’m only voluntary.

You don’t see me texting the lady who’s confided in me that she’s got Post Natal Depression

…and please remember I’m only voluntary.

You don’t see me comforting the overworked mummy who’s considering an abortion

…and please remember I’m only voluntary.

You don’t see me crying on the way home because the session just didn’t go as I’d planned

…So please, please, PLEASE remember…I’m only voluntary.

Voluntary Many Hands Needing Help

Cuddle Fairy


Diary of an imperfect mum

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Dear Bear and Beany


Add yours
  1. 1

    Fantastic post. Don’t worry about the judgy mums, they aren’t the ones you run this for. When I had my first I lived in an isolated place, I had no mummy friends, no social outlet, I was completely lonely and miserable. When we moved (he was 9months) I started going to the group at the local children’s centre, where I learned about volunteer-led groups near me also. Those groups have been lifelines, they have provided me with the social support I needed. I now have a really close-knit, supportive group of mummy friends I wouldn’t have found without these groups. These groups are so much more than the odd broken toy or boring craft, and the volunteers who run them are amazing xxxxx #bloggerclubuk

    • 2
      Lucy At Home

      Oh Claire, thank you so much!!!! It is so nice to hear somebody say this! I was the same – I was so isolated when I had my first baby and I felt like I didn’t have any other mummy friends, so going to baby groups made the world of difference to me. That’s why I stepped in to keep this one running when it was supposed to close. I want to support the other mums in the area, just like I was supported when I needed it. Thank you for your encouraging comment!!

  2. 3

    I run a toddler group too and I get so annoyed by people pointing out ripped books, or dolls with funny hairstyles (‘I think you should have a go at sorting out this dolls hair’ – yes I don’t have anything better to do with my time) and toys in the wrong place. I love this, people definitely need to remember this! #Familyfun

    • 4
      Lucy At Home

      Oh yes I get this all the time. I think they’re probably trying to be helpful but it would actually be much more helpful if they said, “I’ll take that doll home and wash it for you” or “I’d like to donate this doll to the group to replace that one that’s looking a bit shabby”. Ah well! Thank you for taking time to comment. L

  3. 5

    Oh this is brilliant, my friend runs a baby and toddler group and I know how much goes into it. It really is so much work and a constant worry about finding, planning, activities etc. I don’t think many people realise! Yet these groups are a life line to so many and without them we, I know I would, be lost. You’re doing a fantastic job and provide so many mums with support, I take my hat off to you xxx thank you for hearing at #familyfun

    • 6
      Lucy At Home

      Yeah I certainly had no idea how much went into it when I volunteered! I don’t really blame the other parents because I’d probably be the same if I didn’t know the full picture like I do now. But at the same time, it can be very disheartening when you’re trying your very hardest and people are still complaining. There are lots of mums that enjoy the group, though, and that makes it all worthwhile 🙂

  4. 7
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    There is so much behind the scenes work involved with being a mum. I agree with the other comments, don’t let anyone get you down – you are doing the best you can, as we all are! And you never know the struggles others are having behind the scenes. Thanks so much for joining us at #BloggerClubUK x

    • 8
      Lucy At Home

      Thank you. That’s one of the reasons I’m determined to keep the group open – because so many mums have already said what a lifeline it has been for them. Some weeks I absolutely love it, and some weeks I’m ready to pack it all in! Haha. Thank you for your encouragement. L

  5. 9
    Karen | TwoTinyHands

    Oh I feel for you I do. I volunteered as a Brownie leader for 10 years and know exactly what you mean about it being a thankless task. I gave it up when I had my son and taking a well earned break. I toyed with setting up a toddler group but reading this I think it would be too much for me with my little man in my life! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

    • 10
      Lucy At Home

      I’ve done youth groups and things before, but I’ve always had someone higher up than me before. This time, I’m the chairman, so having to deal with bills and insurance and lots of stuff that I totally have no idea about! I do enjoy it and I think it’s really important (because new mums especially can be very vulnerable) so that’s what keeps me going. And there are lots of mums that are very grateful for the group too 🙂

  6. 11
    Jo from Organised Jo

    Thank you for reminding everyone what hard work and how much time is needed to run voluntary groups. We all, and I know I do, sometimes go around in our own life bubble and don’t stop to see what hard work others are doing for them. Thank you for doing this for others. #sharingthebloglove

    • 12
      Lucy At Home

      It’s so easy to only think about how stuff is impacting on you, and not about what has been going on around the scenes. I totally get that. I had no idea what went on behind the scenes at a baby group until I took over, so I know it’s not fair to expect other people to appreciate it either. But thank you for your kind words. It really means a lot. L

  7. 13
    An imperfect mum (Catie)

    This is a brilliant post hun. I used to help out at baby group too but we had a group of us as I think its too much for one person. Keep up the great work! I just wish people would be kinder to each other and less judgmental! Sounds to me like you are doing a fabulous job! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  8. 15
    Rhyming with Wine

    I can absolutely relate to this. I’ve been volunteering alongside a local children’s centre for a couple of years now and we ran a number of sessions independently over the summer. The sheer volume of planning and organising and red tape involved behind the scenes is overwhelming. Total respect to you for providing such a valuable resource for your community. X #Ablogginggoodtime

    • 16
      Lucy At Home

      Yes I was totally shocked how much stuff goes on behind the scenes when I took it on. That’s what I remind myself when people are being a little ungrateful – I’m sure they just genuinely have no idea how much effort it takes. Thank you for leaving a comment. L

  9. 17
    Cherry @ The Newby Tribe

    Absolute hats off to you for taking this on and running it. Just ignore all those judging mums – they wouldn’t put themselves out to run it themselves but think they can critise when it doesn’t go as they would expect! It sounds like you are doing an incredible job! #BrilliantBlogPosts

  10. 19
    not just phoebe

    I love this so much, as I also help run toddler sessions as well as being trained breast feeding peer supporter, and I’m always helping people out and making sure everyone enjoying themselves but sometimes its just not enough and unfortunately you’ll always get the eye rolls and tuts but i honestly don’t care and neither should you, you should be silently high living yourself. volunteering rocks! #ablogginggoodtime

  11. 21
    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    Thanks for reminding everyone what hard work goes into running these groups. I think you’re amazing to take this on – I only went to one of these groups a few times, but it’s obvious the work that goes on behind the scenes in running them. I’m sorry that there are always some people who just don’t appreciate that. Thanks so much for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • 22
      Lucy At Home

      I think a lot of people don’t realise what goes into it. But the hardest bit isn’t the planning, it’s trying to chat to everybody and make them feel welcome. It can be exhausting! But I’m hoping this post will help opens people’s eyes a bit. Thank you for commenting. L

  12. 23
    Laura - dear bear and beany

    Groups like this are so important and can be the only life line for some mum’s. Well done you for volunteering to run the group, it’s not easy. And well done you for continuing to run the group, even though you have to deal with judgy mum’s. I think it’s amazing what you and other mum’s that run these volunteer groups. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove X

    • 24
      Lucy At Home

      Aaaaw thank you, Laura! I found my local group to be invaluable when I had my first, so I want to be able to help other mummies (and daddies, grandparents, etc) too by giving them somewhere to go like I had. Thank you for your kind words. L

  13. 25

    Hi Lucy, what a fantastic thing to do and I am so sorry that your hard work often goes unacknowledged. Maybe you should ask for one Mum a week to help out (voluntarily of course), and hopefully they’ll learn to respect what you do! Keep up the good work!


    • 26
      Lucy At Home

      There are a few mums that help out but it’s more on a if-I’m-there-I’ll-do-it, which makes it hard for planning purposes and things. I do really enjoy the group (although this was written after a particularly bad session!), and I know I’ve not really put that across in the post. Maybe I’ll have to write another post about all the good points to balance it out! Thank you for your encouragement, though. L

    • 28
      Lucy At Home

      Thank you. I know that lots of people just don’t know how much goes into these things but it is frustrating when they can seem so very ungrateful sometimes. Thank you for commenting, Fran. L

  14. 29

    Such an important post. I am in awe of the parent-volunteers at my local toddler group. They never complain about having to buy and set out the snacks, order the toys, clean up, ask for funding, etc. Amazing women and men. Well dine for contributing in such an important way to your community! #MarvMondays

  15. 31
    You've Changed; Are We Still Compatible? — Lucy At Home

    […] have my children, my husband, my home, my friends, my role in the community, my blog, my daily tasks, my school mums, my favourite coffee shops, my must-watch TV […]

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