I’m an expat, which doesn’t help the situation, but parenthood is a foreign land to anyone who hasn’t been there before so I’d say we are all in the same, unfamiliar boat. Here are five ways for new Mums to stay social.
There are many reasons Mothers today are more isolated today than ever; moving away from family, demanding careers, cultural pressure to do it all, and living more of our lives online.
Chances are, even if your family and friends are nearby, they are busy with their own lives, careers, and families. Maybe your people don’t have kids yet and simply don’t understand.
No matter the individual circumstances, it can feel like someone plonked you down in an alien land, handed you a baby, and took away your smartphone.
In the good-ole-days villages helped with child-rearing no questions asked but today we feel like we need to try and figure it all out ourselves. Then we do something really dumb and go to Pinterest for ideas (comparison is the theif of joy).
I propose we start creating our own villages!
Here are my Five Ways For new Mums To stay social and connected
1. Learn to ask for and accept help
When people offer to help all you need are two little words; “Yes” and “Please.” Ask them for what you REALLY need ie: Hold a baby while I nap or shower. Tell them to bring food. All the food. Don’t feel guilty, there will be many opportunities to pay it forward.
2. Go to your Mothers group
Keep an open mind. We’ve all heard stories about the judgey-mum, the extreme-nature-mum, or the annoyingly-perfect-mum. Take a moment to recognise that other Mums are in the same Amazing Race. Build alliances.
Take it from one who knows, the ones who look like they have it all together are often the ones struggling the most.
3. Find Some Regular, Dedicated Me Time
Look, I know creche or occasional care costs money but you NEED me time. See if you can swing it by cutting your grocery budget or make a sacrifice somewhere else. Perhaps you can swap babysitting duties with a friend or rely on a relative.
This might sound anti-social in a post about staying social but I believe downtime is invaluable for your mental health and wellbeing. You can always use it to take a class or interact with people if that’s what energises you. Or do something lovely for yourself like take a nap or see a movie. You’ll be better company even if just for yourself.
4. Make sure to keep in touch with your friends
Do this in whatever way you can manage best. I’m a big fan of group messages because there are several people on there and no one expects a speedy response. Don’t forget your childless friends (they always have better stories right?) Sometimes I just want to hear about someone else’s life even when I have no news of my own. Don’t loose touch.
5. Go online and meet local mums in your area IRL
Join a Facebook or meet-up group or go online with the intention of joining a face to face group. The Australian Breastfeeding Association have localised meetups, mindfulness workshops are popping up all over the place. There are growing mummy-matching groups like Hello Mamas you can join for free. There is no substitute for human interaction.
How do you stay social??