What to Expect
The group: Singing Mamas is a women-only song sharing group, primarily but not exclusively aimed at mothers (in recognition that most if not all women have some kind of caring responsibility!). We have women of ALL ages, stages and life phases; some bring their young ones with them to the session and some have kids at school/university. We sit on chairs in a circle with a mat for babies in the middle and a few toys scattered about to keep them occupied. Older children can set up a table to have their own activities if they choose.
The singing: Singers, non-singers and shy-singers alike are completely welcome! We learn our songs by ear, which means there is no sheet music or even words written down; no musical experience is necessary. We sing in order to lift our spirits and connect with one another, and there is no expectation that we should sound a certain way. No-one will ever be asked to sing on their own, we will always sing together so our voices blend and no-one feels uncomfortable.
The tea and cake: Essential! For half an hour after singing you’re welcome to hang about, chat, drink hot tea and eat cake. You can also help yourself throughout the session too. Gluten-free and vegan catered for. Please let me know if you/your child have any dietary requirements I should be aware of.
The leader: I (Georgia) am a mum of three and live in Streatham. Singing Mamas is a relatively new pursuit for me; I discovered it when attending the Streatham group with my youngest child but never imagined I'd be running it a few years later! My first career is in public health, but after the pandemic I felt the need for a change and did further training as a doula and song-sharer. I now combine all three jobs with the three kids: it can definitely get chaotic but Singing Mamas always works its magic and helps keep me grounded!
The WhatsApp group: we have a WhatsApp group where I share the songs we have covered each week. It's not a chatty group but is useful for remembering those ear worms or to drop a message if you are running late or can't make it/need to swap to a different group that week. It’s a lovely way for us to know if you’re away for a week as we will miss you! If you'd like to join the group, please click this link.
Dates and Times
There are two groups running in South London:
Tuesdays 10-1130 Streatham The Vestry Room, adjoining Holy Redeemer Church, Streatham Vale SW16
Thursdays 10-1130 Herne Hill The Coffee Lounge, Herne Hill Baptist Church, Half Moon Lane SE24
Groups run during Lambeth term times. If you're running late, just arrive when you can - we all know how an unexpected nappy change can change everything...
The Streatham group takes place in a small room adjoining the Holy Redeemer Church on Streatham Vale - ie not in the church itself. The Vestry is a short walk from Streatham Common station, and a slightly longer but still manageable walk from Mitcham Eastfields station. There is free parking in the surrounding residential streets.
The Herne Hill group takes place in the Coffee Lounge at Herne Hill Baptist Church, entrance on Half Moon Lane (a short walk from both Herne Hill and North Dulwich stations). There is free parking in the surrounding residential streets.
Taster session - if this is your first session and you'd like to try it out to see if it suits you, you can attend a taster session for the bargain price of £6.50
Drop-in fee - if life makes it hard to commit to regular sessions and you don't think you'll be able to attend very often, you can pay per session instead - the cost for this is £13
Monthly membership fee - This will set up a direct debit for £32 a month across the calendar year, which will cover your attendance at a South London Singing Mamas session each week that the groups run. This works out as the cheapest way to attend, and takes the admin out of having to remember to book and pay for a session each time. If for some reason you can't make a session one week, you can make it up at a later session (e.g. if you missed the Tuesday session in Streatham, you can attend the session in Herne Hill for no extra charge).
Please note that although the groups run during term time only, the costs are spread across the calendar year so your account will be debited the same amount each month, even if there are fewer sessions that month owing to school holidays. It is your responsibility to cancel the direct debit if you leave the group; refunds of extra payments cannot be not guaranteed.
In addition to the three above options, I also offer:
Pregnancy taster sessions - sessions are free for women who are 36 weeks + pregnant. This is to help you build your community before baby arrives so that you know that you have a set of friendly faces to support and welcome you when your baby is here. It also means you'll have a few tunes up your sleeve that your baby will recognise from you singing them in the womb - singing these songs when the baby is then earthside can prove remarkably soothing for both of you! Just let me know that you'll be coming along so I can be sure to have enough cake 🙂
Lean On Me fee - I feel strongly that nobody should be prevented from singing owing to their financial situation, so if you are interested in attending Singing Mamas but the costs are prohibitive, please do get in touch.
We ask everyone to do the following things to keep the environment as safe as can be:
All hot drinks will be cooled with water or milk to avoid the risk of scalding.
You will not share photos of other people's children on social media without their parents consent
No toys with small parts that present choking hazards should be brought to the group
If you bring extra snacks or drinks for your child please supervise them to make sure they do not contain nuts and that they are not shared without the child's mother's/carer's permission (other children may have allergies etc).
You should not attend if you or your child has had sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48hrs.
Whilst you're at the group your baby might cry and your toddler might shout or scream, and that is fine. Everyone understands. It's also likely that older children will take toys from one another, and that's fine too. We tend to let them work out this for themselves wherever we can, and only intervene if they get physical with pushing, pulling, hitting one another. Learning to manage relationships and disappointment is great for their development, and not having to referee every 5 minutes is great for our energy levels! Often the toddlers are intrigued by the small babies and will approach the mat where they are lying with their mum. Sometimes it feels lovely to see your baby meeting an older child, and other times it becomes too stressful to have a bigger child near your baby. Because the adults can't always move around the space as freely, we ask that mums of small babies simply alert the mum of the toddler if they would like them to be moved away.
Don't worry about remembering all of this; I am around to remind you of the safety stuff and answer any questions you have. In the meantime, if there's anything further you'd like to know, just drop me an email. Thank you and I look forward to singing with you soon!
With best wishes,