20 years of Chiswick Working Mothers Group
Two decades celebrated by past and present members at a birthday party
Thursday saw the 20th birthday party of the Chiswick Working Mothers Group. About 40 former and present members, along with friends and past speakers celebrated two decades of the group, with a buffet supper provided, of course, by the members and a magnificent cake, washed down with champagne and wine.
The group’s strength lies in its organisation, which is done with a minimum of fuss by a small group of its own members. This offshoot of the Chiswick branch of the National Childbirth Trust was originally set up to bring together mothers returning to work soon after having a baby. “I moved to Chiswick with a new baby and I knew no other mothers in the area,” said one member of ten years’ standing. “It is really important but impossible to get to know other mothers, because each day we all rush off to work and there’s no chance for a chat over a coffee, so the WMG were my first friends in Chiswick.”
“Being a working mother is stressful and it’s easy to feel remote from the Chiswick your children know,” said another member, who works in Greenford, “so I really value being in a local group with similar interests and concerns. There’s this nice feeling that we’re all on the same team,”
One of the organisers outlined how the group works, “We meet one evening a month, usually at someone’s house. The year’s programme will find a balance between informative meetings, occasionally with a speaker, outings for fun like bowling and social evenings for the important business of, well, talking. Some of our founder members are just getting their children off to university and into first jobs, and we also have newly-returning working mothers who are anxiously looking ahead to the mysteries of the school years. The group is great for mixing and networking, but also for mutual support”
“I shan’t forget turning up at the Christmas Dinner on the day I discovered I was having twins” said one member “I flopped down to eat thinking it would be the end of life as I know it, but by the end of the evening, I felt I could even have coped with three!” “I first joined in order to find out the low-down on local schools” said another member, who works in the City, “but I stayed because I made new friends in the group. Many of us communicate by email, and not a week goes by without someone sending out a round robin along the lines of ‘Help! anyone know of a good plumber/babysitter for tomorrow/cleaner/entertainer for the children’s party?’”
The membership of the group work in many fields; teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, BBC personnel, administrators, secretaries, accountants, publishers, fund managers, public relations, arts administrators and the list goes on. The programme for the year will include serious topics like emergency first aid, child safety, financial planning, childcare options and education issues. It covers less serious but useful topics like children’s outings, and parties, and members share their knowledge and experience of nurseries, schools, extra-curricular clubs, sports activities, music, dancing and riding lessons etc. There are non-child orientated topics such as books, and talks on local history, local voluntary projects and distant countries. Sometimes we simply have fun and go bowling, racing (dog or horse), or out for drinks and a meal.
September 23, 2003