When Cat Harris’s son was going through a stage of separation anxiety there was one thing on her mind.
“One night, after bedtime, I just thought I need a night out where there is no agenda where I can just talk to other parents,” she said.
Parents Connect gives mums and dads, with children of any age, the chance to meet, mingle, chat, laugh and share with others in the Brighton area.
“There are so many events where you go and someone tries to sell you something or there is a long talk,” she said, “when sometimes you just want to go out and chat with other parents who may be going through the same thing as you.”
The first event was held in March and was attended by 15 people, all of which found out about it through either Facebook or LinkedIn.
“It was brilliant,” Cat explained.
“It was really relaxed, and it great for those who are uncomfortable networking.”
A couple of parents who attended the event said:
“It was a super chilled evening and I have the chance to meet other parents from all walks of life for a natter and a glass of wine,” Hannah, mum of an 18 month old.
“The event, much like my beloved NCT group, was a great opportunity to talk to parents having the same experiences and sharing their life hacks in person rather than on a social media platform,” Kirstie, mum of a seven year old.
For the evenings Cat hires part of a bar and people just turn up and mingle.
“If people did want chats about sleep deprivation then I could maybe organise something.
“But I want parents to come and chat about all the things we are going through so you know you aren’t alone,” she said. “Being a parent can be really funny and your kids can be really funny so to be able to share those stories is also great.”
Post-natal depression is a common problem which affects more than one in every ten women within a year of giving birth, but post-natal depression can also affect fathers and partners.
“I want to reach out to dads,” explained Cat.
“Us mums are used to throwing ourselves into these groups with our kids, chatting to strangers about sleep.
“But dads don’t always go to these groups or feel overwhelmed if they do.”
Many parents also feel that once they have a child they lose their identity, this is something Cat has thought about to.
“If you want to be more than so and so’s mum at playgroup and enjoy a drink in an informal setting Parents Connect is perfect for that.”
Prior to having her son Herbie Cat was a leadership coach.
She set up Baby to Boardroom in 2018 with the intention to support working parents with their transition back to work.
“It is a great resource if you have had any gap from nine months, to a year to 20 years.
“Some companies are great at helping people back to work which is where I come in.”
The quarterly meet ups are held in Brighton and Cat says you can be in bed by 9.30pm.
“I feel guilty sometimes when I have a whinge as my son was conceived via IVF so I feel I shouldn’t feel like that but we all do sometimes.
“Mum or parent guilt is something we all feel but we really shouldn’t.”
The next Parents Connect will take place at Alcampo on London Road, on Thursday, July 18 at 7.30pm.