Be cleverIf you still dread the playgroup and haven't managed to make any real friends, ditch it. There are loads of other things you can do instead which will be just as stimulating for your child. Story telling at your local library, baby gym, swimming and music are all on offer. But don't go over-board. You don't have to fill every day with activities geared towards your toddler.
Instead, do things you want to do too; shopping doesn't have to be a nightmare if you combine it with something fun for your toddler too. Shops like the Early Learning Centre have times every Tuesday morning when you can drop in and play with the toys without buying anything. Look on www.earlylearningcentre.co.uk for more information.
Find out what else is on in your area by going to www.directgov.org.uk or www.surestart.co.uk
Be realisticSometimes your child will have to fit in with your day and what you need to get done. The sooner they learn this, the better. But you can make it more enjoyable by letting your little one 'help' as much as possible. For example, give them a bowl of water and ask them to clean the vegetables. Give them a duster or a dustpan and brush when you're cleaning and praise their efforts to keep your child happy.
But be realistic. You won't be able to keep the house permanently tidy. However you don't have to spend the whole day playing with Lego either. It's all about getting the balance right.