At first, I was lucky – 6 of my best local girlfriends were all pregnant with me. We were our own instant playgroup. The babies arrived and, content with eating, pooping and sleeping just about anywhere, we gathered for weekly lunch dates, shared advice, laughs and helped maintain each other’s sanity. Then, maternity leaves ended, babies started to fall into their own routines, and scariest of all, get more active. Our weekly gatherings dwindled to smaller numbers and decreased in frequency. My then baby, big M, and I began to go stir crazy.
Over the next 18 months, I floundered my way through local Facebook pages, scattered and poorly maintained regional activity sites and newsletters, and the occasional tip from a fellow mom, to find regular activities in my community to engage my toddler and maintain my sanity. This was no easy feat – finding the perfect combination of age-appropriate, nap-schedule complementary, wallet-friendly, and sanitary took lots of trial and error. There were visits to places that I feared exposed my child to infectious disease, activities I had no business at with an infant or toddler, and places we ended up loving after being terrified at our first visit by other kids having major meltdowns. And did I mention the age-appropriateness and schedules change every 6 months?
At many of these outings, I met other parents in similar or in even worse shape than me – new to town, knowing no one and with few resources other than the internet. We all sought out the gurus – parents with older kids who had already tried and tested these waters. One key fact was consistent: there is no one like a fellow parent more willing to share what they know to help another parent out.
After an evening reading a kids’ activity newsletter for a neighboring county who’s reach didn’t extend to my town, made further frustrating by my toddler, and thus me, not sleeping half the night, my brain started racing. If I could create the perfect resource for parents to help them entertain their kids, share their local favorites with other parents, invite other kids along and better still, connect with others parents with kids the same age, what exactly would it look like?
That night, the beginning of Playground Parkbench was born. Over the following months, another child, lil’ M, and now years, I continued to brainstorm. I researched what was already available in the marketplace, what was great about them and what I didn’t like, and how I could make PPB better.
When my brainstorm struck, I was also 6 months pregnant with our second, lil’ M… and we were house hunting (and now, building!!!)… totally, the best time to start a new business, right? So turning all those ideas into reality has taken a little (a lot!) longer than anticipated, and continues to be an ever-evolving labor of love produced during nap time and post-bedtime hours. We hope you join us in this adventure, benefit from our successes as well as our learning-experiences, and contribute! Send us your feedback, share your ideas, ask us your questions, and tell your friends!