'I was lonely, so I found the perfect way to hit on other mums at the park.'

When I moved to Sydney eight years ago, I was well and truly in the trenches.

With a four-year-old and a one-year-old, I couldn't find work and my days were spent staring at the four walls and pushing a double pram up and down a very steep hill to the park. 

I had made one friend (who has now become like a sister) but, even with my lax boundaries, I knew you couldn't rely on one person to meet all your friendship needs. 

I was lonely. I would longingly look at other groups of mums at the park, idly standing at the periphery, just looking for an excuse to strike up a conversation — like the time Carrie Bradshaw moved to Paris and was caught staring through the window at the four girlfriends having brunch.

So I took to a local Facebook mums group and put up a post.

You can listen to Annaliese talk about building her village on this week's episode of This Glorious Mess. Post continues below.

"I have just moved from Melbourne two weeks ago, I am alone most of the time… I am missing my girlfriends and spent last Friday creeping on people at parks hoping they would talk to me," I wrote. 

"If anyone has been feeling a little isolated, likes toasting in the weekend and would care to join me and my little creeps, I would welcome that with open arms."

I gave a location and time and said I would be there with a six-pack in hand (of beer... I was postpartum, there never was and never will be the other kind of six-pack.) 

I had about 20 women rock up to the park that day and we continued to meet up for months on a Friday until I found work. But I still have a handful of friends I made from that cry for help, for connection. For a village. 


As the saying goes "it takes a village to raise a child" but the truth is so many of us are struggling in our own little bubbles and in those early years in the trenches, we are never alone, yet it can be the loneliest time.

I live on the opposite side of the country to my family and everyone I grew up with, so I had to build an urban family and village from the ground up. And I couldn't have predicted all those years ago that that very village would become my lifeline when my marriage ended, my closest confidants and the only way I can function as a single mum who works full time.  


Around the Facebook-post-cry-for-help era, there was a mum I used to always see at the park with her baby and dog. We would make small talk when we saw each other and something made me drawn to her. She was Irish and funny with a sharp wit and dry humour.

One day she looked particularly frazzled, she had food stains on her clothes and seemed on the brink, so l asked her if she was okay. She opened up and began to download about her conundrum. 

I don't even remember what it was, just a day where the minutiae of raising young children all became too much. I saw an opportunity to strike; she was low hanging fruit. So I asked if she wanted to exchange numbers and go for a drink sometime.

Eight years later, her and her husband and daughter are like family to me and my boys. We spend Christmas, Easter and Mothers Days together and see each other every week. I can't imagine a world without them in it and I am so glad I hit on her at the park that day, that I put myself out there.

Image: Supplied.


I am very blessed that I now have such a connected village. My house is commonly known and called "the commune". I have a roster of people who help take my kids to sport training, we help each other with pickups and drop offs and kid swaps. 

We often have "commune dinners" where everyone brings a plate and we feed the kids all together, or commonly gather on a Sunday with kids coming and going, and the adults share a tipple in the form of a mimosa. 

So I guess what I am trying to impart is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. To ask for help. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with people, we bring down the walls and open ourselves up for connection, which is a fundamental need for humans, as much as shelter, food and water.

So go to the park, strike up a convo at school drop off, look for other low hanging fruit and start hitting on other mums. You never know what gems you might bring into your village. 

Annaliese Todd is the host of Mamamia's parenting podcast, This Glorious Mess. You can listen here. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

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