9/10 mums feel lonely – lets just amplify that… 90 out of 100 mums feel lonely… Only 10 mums don’t. That isn’t just shocking, it’s heartbreaking! Motherhood is supposed to be the greatest time of our lives and to have it tainted by lonliness is really really sad. For me, Motherhood was the time when I suddenly NEEDED a support network and it breaks my heart to think of people without it. The thing is, I bet all mums probably feel the same, we are just too shy and conflicted by social boundaries to open ourselves up through fear of rejection.
Here are my top tips and the ways I found new mummies:
Get to baby groups. This was a really tough one for me, and still can be. My mum literally took Rory and I to our first baby group and she left when she saw I had “made a friend”. Honestly, I turned around and she was no longer there like it was my first day of school! If ever I miss a week of baby group or have had a rubbish night sleep, I feel a little bit of anxiety about walking into a room full of people, I always try and get there first so I can be sat and ready before anyone shows up. However, I have made some amazing friends and everyone has been the “new girl” once so people are usually really really kind. Baby groups are really good for your baby (as simple as that sounds) as they have messy play, footprint painiting, song time – lots of things that are designed around their social needs and you feel better for getting them out and interacting with other babies.
Reach out to people. As a new years resolution I decided it was time to make some mum friends, as great as my ‘normal friends’ are, it’s simply not the same anymore. Mums need mums around them too for additional support. I decided I was going to message anyone on my Facebook that I knew had a child a simiar age to Rory, I was so nervous about coming across as desperate, but people really appreciated it. Most mums feel the exact same way and are thankful for the gesture. My message was something along the lines of “please be my friend!” I have built some fantastic friends doing that. Also when I hear on the grapevine that other mums are feeling lonely I will always message them as I know how it feels.
Get online. Thank the lord for my online friends, I ‘met’ these girls 6 months ago and now they are my saving grace, we built a Wattsapp group and together we have seen 10 pregnancies and childbirths, supported tears and congratulated milestones. The joy of having a big online network? They are always there. No matter what time of day I can just pick up my phone and someone will be there for me. I found my “mum tribe” by chatting to girls on Twitter but there are tonnes of groups where I see people often forming friendships and meeting up. Bump, Baby and You and Channel Mum Group are a great source of mums in the same position.
Use the apps. There are loads of fantastic apps that have been branded ‘Tinder for Mums’ where the sole purpose of these is to meet local, like-minded mums with the same interests as you. I really like using Mush and Peanut, both are great for catching up on when your baby/child naps.
Be brave. This is a tip from my ultimate “mumspiration” – my own mother. My ‘Auntie Louise’ is someone that used to walk past our house with a pram and a toddler about my age every day, mum observed this and one day literally ran up to her, me in her arms and struck up a friendship. I am now 24 and Louise is still my mums best friend.
Don’t be put out. As with any group of people, there will be bitchiness and cliques, do no let the minorities knock your confidence! If you go to a baby group and everyone seems paired up, try again or go to a different one. I once went to baby group and felt really let out, I forced myself there another week and some different mums were there that had missed a week but were the nicest women I have ever met.