A group of Donegal women have established a new monthly meet-up for local mothers to get a ‘wee bit of me time’.

These six Inishowen mothers have launched Tea & Toast, a new slice of the local mammy wellness movement inspired by Counsellor Sarah Barr. The group began in Buncrana last month and invites all local mothers to come to their next meeting on Wednesday 21st February.

Like the Letterkenny ‘Mama Squad’, the Tea & Toast group hosts casual meet-ups for mothers to get together and learn new tips and tools for taking care of their own mental well-being.

Co-organiser Caroline Doherty tells Donegal Woman how the group was formed to raise awareness for self care in mothers:

“Motherhood is a crazy happy, sad, emotional and joyful time, trying to juggle many chores and activities. However it can feel overwhelming at times. Mammies put everyone before themselves, but as the saying goes “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.

“The members understand that some new mammies feel isolated and some mammies are only new to the area and want to meet people in the community,” she said.

Tea & Toast meet-up organisers: Stephanie Porter, Emma Jayne O’Donnell, Caroline Doherty, Sarah Mc Loughlin, Clare Mc Gonagle. (Absent from photo: Jeanette Gill)

The group evolved from a Minding Mammy workshop facilitated by Counsellor Sarah Barr. The women had learned so many tips on good mental health that they wanted to carry on the message and turn the ‘me time’ into a regular event.

They will meet once a month for a friendly chat and to hear from guest speakers. The first meeting heard from Chartered Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor Jennifer Lavin and Counsellor Sarah Barr of New Beginnings.

This month, Glenda Dowling of Gutsy World will discuss nutrition and blogger Kate Thorburn ‘Honest to Kate’ will be coming from Dublin to talk about motherhood.

Mothers of every age and stage of life are welcome to come along to the next meet-up on Wednesday, 21st February, 7.30-9.30pm at Nutri Ki, Buncrana.

Caroline recalls how one mother came last month and was delighted to see the group beginning, because she had been going to a toddler group to maintain the connection with local mothers.

“It is open to mammies of all ages, no matter what stage of motherhood you’re at. Even grannies can come. They have so much more knowledge to share because they have lived through all the seasons of motherhood.

“It is about shared support and having a laugh over a cup of tea and a biscuit,” she said.

Caroline, who has seven children, has a lot of experience to share and can relate to a mothers’ need for time out to focus on themselves. Also through her work as a doula, she meets many women who experience isolation and loneliness after their baby is born.

“Motherhood is the best job in the world but it’s also physically, mentally and emotionally tough. Us mammies need a wee hour or two a month away from our children to relax and replenish,” she said.

Even the name ‘Tea & Toast’ relates to a share experience of new mothers, Caroline explains: “We were talking about how after we all gave birth to our babies in hospital the midwife came in with tea and toast and it was so lovely. It was the first meal any of us had after becoming a mother.”

“As the old saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”. Well our saying at tea and toast is similar: “It takes a village to nurture a mammy”. We are building that village with our tea and toast meetings.”

For more articles on motherhood and mental health, visit Counsellor Sarah Barr’s columnist page on Donegal Woman here: http://www.donegalwoman.ie/author/sarahbarr/