Stop the Lonely Mummy Trap – my article in The Sun.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
I was delighted to have been asked for my tips for The Sun newspaper about feeling isolated as a Mum after Stacey Solomon finally left her house FOUR WEEKS after giving birth to baby Rex. She’s not alone as Adele also struggled with fears and anxieties about leaving the safety of home after having a new baby too.
If you struggle here’s my tips in The Sun to help.
WE’VE all been there. You love being a mum, but you feel as though your whole world revolves around taking care of your baby or toddler’s needs, and an endless cycle of washing, cooking and cleaning. You’d also like to talk to someone who doesn’t just speak toddlygook sometimes.
“Being a mum can be incredibly isolating,’ says parenting coach Sue Atkins.
“But if you get yourself and your little one out and about as often as possible, you’ll meet other mums and their children. Making new friends takes patience, but you have something in common already – you’re both parents.
“Smile, strike up a conversation and you’ll build up a friendship over time.
“Don’t be shy, just relax and you’ll soon make new friends.’
Here are Sue’s top tips for breaking the isolation trap:
Get into a routine
Get up, get dressed every morning as you would if you were going to work, and make sure you have a few things planned every day – even if it’s just going to the Post Office or the shops.
And have at least three simple things in your diary each week that gets you out meeting people.
Leaving the house for even a short while every day can really help to minimise the risk of depression.
Even simple activities like taking a walk in the park or around the block can be an uplifting experience. Plus, the fresh air and exercise will help you stay fit and healthy.
Go to places where there are other Mums in the same situation.
For example, story time at your library, toddler groups at local church halls, activities at sports centres. And if you can afford it, try going to a paid for class like Tumble Tots or Music Bugs – you’ll soon make new friends that way.
Try to find some ‘Me Time’
Exhausted mums suffer from low self esteem trying to do it all, and being at home without the need to dress up or pop on makeup can, over time, erode your self esteem.
Being with children is great but Mums also need adult company and to keep their own lives going as kids do eventually leave home one day!
So, go to the Bingo, to see a film or have a drink with a friend at least once a week – it helps you recharge your batteries, keep your perspective and your sense of humour so you come back to the hectic job of raising kids refreshed and upbeat.
And if paying for a babysitter is impossible, set up a babysitting network with your friends, neighbours and family so you can take it in turns to grab some Me Time.
Let people help you
Leaving your baby or toddler with someone else can be really hard – but for your wellbeing, and your child’s, you need to grab some time to yourself without feeling guilty.
So let relatives or your partner look after the kids sometimes so you can have a rest or meet a friend to chat.
Start something new
If you can afford it, take up a new hobby, for example a craft, a salsa class or if you have access to a computer, join an online network or create your own mummy blog (britishmummybloggers.ning.com).
Keep the glow with your partner
Going out once a week or turning off the telly to have a 10 minute chat every evening at a regular time, can work wonders for feeling connected again after having kids.
So what’s your experience of feeling isolated – do you have any tips to pass on to us? Please feel free to share them.
For more videos, articles and ways to chat with other Mums in the same boat.