After months and months of planning, the first day of our Mummy Tribe retreat had arrived. It was a 6am start for the MT team, and we worked like crazy to get the house ready for our guests. A fully kitted out crèche, a pool warmed to bath-like temperatures, spaces around the house for the babies to play, baby sleeping room, baby changing room, snacks – lots of snacks, rows of pastel coloured high chairs, and (most importantly) beautiful gift bags for our lovely mums. This 19th century barn had never looked so good.
Our mums arrived around 10am and after a short welcome talk they were introduced to their personal nanny for the duration of their stay. Some babies went willingly, some needed a little more persuasion. Some immediately fell asleep in the middle of the crèche floor. No easy task when there was a music class going on around her! All of them enjoyed the morning though, which is good because whilst the Mini Tribe were happily occupied, our mums had a well deserved cup of tea and muffin (a super healthy one, obvs) and were signed off to exercise by our in-house physio, Helen O’Leary @ Complete Pilates.
Rest over, it was time for our trainers @bethefittest @earnyourroast to work their magic. Tyrone showed no mercy, Emily was a little kinder. Both of them put our mums through their paces though with some gentle meditation and then some not-so-gentle HIIT. A few very sensible mums chose to instead ease themselves in with a swim and sauna. And one went straight for a full body massage. We salute you.
After a lunch packed with everything we needed to recover from the morning and prepare for the afternoon, we were joined by Piccolo for a session on weaning and (something so many people struggle with) how to avoid having a fussy eater. Everybody learnt a huge amount but nothing was more surprising than finding out just how much the babies loved mustard!?! Mustard in a flapjack! Who knew!
Throughout the day, each mum had a one-one-one session with our in-house physio, so they knew where and how to build strength back into their bodies. It sounds simple, but it made a big difference to how the mums approached exercise, and it meant they could choose classes based on their needs.
One more circuit class in the afternoon and the exercise for the day was done. Mums warmed down with yoga and the babies calmed down with some baby massage. All of a sudden it was 5pm, which we all know is the witching hour, but it was made easier by being with other mums who are in it with you. Dinner/bath/bottle/bed, not necessarily in that order. But soon enough the babes were asleep in their beds, watched by their nannies, and the mums were sitting by the fire with a glass of wine in hand.
Dinner was sticky pork meatballs, mint and asparagus mash, kale and peas, closely followed by rhubarb and yoghurt which gave everybody a huge boost of energy, but tasted awesome as well.
Two MT team members had to be dragged away so everybody could sleep and as the MT team made their way to our accommodation up the road, we all shared a little smile that the first day had gone so well, and we had met such an awesome group of mums.
Up bright and early the next day with a morning meditation class, followed by some of our favourite childhood games, complete with a 90’s inspired soundtrack. It’s amazing how a game of tag doesn’t feel anything like exercise, just a lot of fun.
Throughout the day @theparentandbabycoach and her beautiful son Rupert met with each of our mums individually to discuss all things baby related, we’re big fans of Heidi at MT and she didn’t disappoint. She had advice to tackle every issue, along with a plan for how that advice can be implemented at home.
Through lunch, we were lucky enough to welcome @clemmie_telford with baby Greta and @steph_dontbuyherflowers with Frank as they talked about being kind to yourself in the period of change following the birth of your baby. It started slowly and quietly, but before we’d had a chance to fill our second prawn tacos, mums were engaging in honest conversations and trading stories about the reality of motherhood. It turns out, we’re all thinking and feeling a lot of the same things and talking about it just really helps.
With three more exercise classes to choose from that afternoon, everybody was ready to have a cuddle with the babes, a swim and a sit down.
Before we knew it, the babies were asleep, being looked after by their nanny, or playing happily on the floor and all the mums had gathered around the fire to continue the conversations started over lunch.
Dinner was served, and what happened after dinner that night will never be discussed on this blog. I think it’s safe to say bonds were formed, friends were made, and secrets were shared.
Day three started with a yoga session held by @theyogartist, followed by a largely modified game of five-a-side netball where the winner was allowed to ‘punish’ the losing team by making them dance. Tyrone’s rules, and he’s a stickler for them. There was more laughing in this session than anything else, but laughing is the best form of therapy and everybody had a hoot.
Our mums also got the chance to take in the panoramic views of Arundel on a guided hike with their babies strapped in their carriers. We didn’t quite make it to Arundel castle (note for next time, never rely on technology) but we walked off the days activities, the babies got to see the sights, and we talked. And talked. And talked.
A quick lunch, and the retreat was over. In many ways it felt like it had gone by in a flash, in other ways it felt like we had known each other forever. Our mums left with a spring in their step, some new friends made, and some exciting ideas to implement at home.
And the MT team left exhausted, but full of thoughts about what we can do next for our tribe of wonderful mummies.