Mum life, whether you have a tribe of five or are expecting your first baby, can be a really lonely one.
Yes when you have a baby you’re inundated by visitors cooing over your sweet newborn and for many this continues; with weeks full of play dates and a well rounded lifestyle of seeing friends and having date nights; but for a lot of us mumas, it can soon become pretty isolating.
Personally I try and see someone every day, whether it’s going to Jasper’s gym class or swimming lesson, or popping into a friends or relatives for a cuppa. It keeps me sane; it allows me adult conversation and it gives me the chance to vent, gossip, plan and just be me – not mum me but me.
Even on the days I accomplish this though, I can still feel lonely, I work from home so as social as I may seem attending events and constantly spamming your social media feeds with pictures of our goings on; it’s also work. It’s me behind a camera, a computer screen, my phone. Yes I enjoy those moments but I then have to review, edit and ‘sell’ them and it can leave little time for much more of a social life. That’s my choice though, it’s my balance. Jasper has a fun schedule, I get to enjoy it all with him and still earn a living.
Some mums aren’t so lucky though. Aside from those suffering from postnatal depression and anxiety, many simply find it too difficult or daunting to get of the house with kids. Many find it overwhelming the thought of packing for every eventuality and being out in public with a potentially ticking time bomb of a tantrumming toddler. Sometimes it can just be easier to stay at home, save your friends carpet from your childs juice spillage; save your back from running after your toddler in a busy car park and save your sanity from running out of nappies and wipes mid poop explosion in the supermarket.
I thought I’d share some tips that help me on my money days. They help me to keep a balance, keep in touch and feel a little less like I’m only ‘mum me’.
Get out of the house once a day – Sometimes a duvet day sounds so tempting but I know if I stay in all day I’ll go mad. Yes it’s nice to make a den and watch a movie and it’s a great chance to get jobs done around the house but leaving that front door, even if just for half an hour just breaks up the day and can make you feel refreshed and accomplished.
Pop to the shop, the park, even for a walk; you may not actually speak to anyone besides the lady at the till but you’re getting out of the confinement of your house and that’s a fab start.
Pack in advance – If packing enough stuff for your day puts you off then try and do it in advance to save you rushing before you leave the door. Every night before bed I make sure that Jaspers bag has enough clean clothes, snacks, wipes and a little toy. If we have an activity the next day then I lay out his clothes or pack his extra bag and it makes for a much smoother start to our journey. It also means if plans change or I remember I need to add something it is just a case of grabbing a couple of bits rather than emptying a bag, and starting from scratch right before leaving the house.
Opt for visitors – If you aren’t ready to leave the house, ask friends to come over. Invite a friend back after baby group or arrange a little playdate feeling comfortable knowing that everything you need is with you and you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic or rushing off to get home. People understand, especially those with kids that it can be tough to get out and about and most of the time they’re more than happy to come to you.
Stay local – Don’t put pressure on yourself to trek an hour in a car to a theme park. Start small with your local park, church group or shop. Go somewhere you can get home easily; somewhere that’s accessible with a quick walk or parking nearby; that way if a meltdown or nappy explosion occurs, you’re not far from home.
Join forums – There are so many groups online that you can join; some for mums in your local area, some specific for types and stages of parenting e.g. breastfeeding support, attachment parenting, mum fitness groups etc. Even if you don’t physically meet up with them, it’s comforting to gain the support from others online and you’d be so surprised at how many others mumas are feeling the same as you.
You can find these on Facebook or on sites such as MumsNet, NetMums Emmas Diary and Made for Mums.
Another site that’s aimed at connecting women going through pregnancy and womens health issues including depression, cancer, eating disorders and weight issues is Brightbod – an alternative to Health Insurance for people who can’t afford Health Insurance or who opt out of purchasing Health Insurance.
Once signed up you can connect with women going through similar to you and video conference them instantly for advice and support. I personally put off calling the doctor as the long wait, rude staff and delayed appointments stress me out so signing up to this kind of thing is quick, free and easy and allows you to really connect with people that understand what you’re going through.
Bulk buy baby groups – Yes pay as you go groups are better if you don’t think you’ll attend a group every week but I really find that if I’ve paid for a bulk of classes up front I’m more likely to go. Some days Jasper isn’t himself or I’m simply exhausted but not wanting to waste money, I push us to go and we always enjoy it and get pulled out of our funk. Of course if he’s really poorly we wouldn’t go and sometimes we are just busy but it’s a good way to make you go regularly and get out of the house.
Keep in touch – This one I am terrible at. I’ve lost friends over it – how awful is that? I’m rubbish at replying to people and can sometimes take days. This is all due to my line of work; I’m not saying every blogger and vlogger is the same and I’m sure many are organised and keep on top of everything but I really struggle. With blogging and vlogging it’s never ending, it’s not a 9-5. You don’t switch off. 9 times out of 10 if I’m on Facebook I’m checking my Channel Mum support Group, sharing my posts on blogging and vlogging forums or posting on my blog page. If I’m on WhatsApp it’s to discuss collaborations with fellow vloggers. The amount of times I’ve had ‘ you were on Facebook five minutes ago but haven’t replied to my text’ when I’m desperately trying to schedule in a blog post before Jasper wakes up gets tiring. True friends get it; but it is something that I know people tire of and I do try to make time to stay connected with friends even if it is just on the phone.
Make time to text and call and see friends you had pre-kids. I’ve massively drifted apart from many of mine and it’s really sad but I am working on it.
Do you feel isolated since becoming a mum? How do you keep busy and stay sane? Have you found your social life has drastically changed since having a baby? I’d love to know your experiences!
Thanks for reading,
*This post was sponsored by Brightbod