SAPS 136 – Tips for beating the isolation blues with Mummy Social during #SocialSeptember

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Show notes:

In this week’s episode: 

Tips for beating the isolation blues with Mummy Social during #SocialSeptember

  • Who says having children makes you happier — is it only when they move out?
  • Sue launches her NEW Primary2Secondary Programme for parents & children

plus

  • Sue in Conversation with Nir Eyal Stanford Lecturer & Author of ‘Indistractable’ – we explore the myths & truths surrounding smartphones, screen time & mental health.

You can listen to the full interview by clicking on the link below:
(only available to Members of Sue’s Parenting Club Online)

Sue in Conversation with Nir Eyal


Having children makes you happier — when they move out

Sue’s Tuppence Worth

Scientists have some good and bad news for parents. Having children makes you happier — but only after they leave home.

Babies may be welcomed into the world as bundles of joy, but research has long painted a very different picture. Parenthood tends to involve having less free time, less rest and less money to spare, contributing to a mountain of evidence suggesting that those who don’t have children are happier than those who do! 😊

Now, though, a large study has identified one group whose wellbeing does appear to be boosted by children: empty nesters.

German researchers analysed questionnaire data from 55,000 people aged 50 and over from 16 European countries. The subjects were asked about their mental health, their sense of wellbeing and their family and social life. Those with children tended to be more content — as long as their offspring had moved out.

By contrast, having children at home was linked to a lower quality of life and more depressive symptoms.

“There is no simple answer on whether children bring happiness,” Christoph Becker of the University of Heidelberg, who led the research, said. “It depends on which stage of life your children are at.”

The study was purely observational and could not determine cause and effect. However, Mr Becker and his colleagues suspect that absent children can help parents through stressful events, offering a sense of security without demanding constant care and attention.

“The role of children as a form of social support may become important in the later stages of a person’s life,” the researchers write in a study published in the journal PLOS One.

Overall, the research suggests that as one grows older, having a group of people in whom you can confide is critical. Being married and having a network with whom you can discuss troubles was linked to greater wellbeing. Absent children only boosted happiness if they maintained a good relationship with their parents, Mr Becker said.

Mothers, other studies have suggested, tend to be less happy than fathers. Single parents are more miserable still.

Sue Atkins was interviewed on Mike Graham Show on talkRADIO about this – Click to listen!


Disney Parenting Hacks Tea Party

☕️ Watch our special Parenting Hacks Tea Party! ☕️

Listen as we discuss Music 

Introducing music into your little one’s life can have so many positive effects. 🎵 As well as the pure enjoyment it provides, music also teaches them skills such as discipline and language development, and can strengthen the bond between parents and children. ❤️ What are the favourite songs in your house? 🎶 For lots more tips about easy ways to include music in your everyday life, watch the full video of TV star, and mum to two boys, Helen Skelton, talking to parenting expert Sue Atkins and musician and author Izzy Judd, on Disney Junior YouTube.


ABOUT NIR EYAL

 

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Mummy Social Campaign:  #SocialSeptember

Sue’s Article for the Campaign

Maternal loneliness is surprisingly common during motherhood. It is something that takes many Mums completely by surprise (how can you possibly feel lonely when you are rarely actually alone?)

Mummy Social is an app that supports and encourages mums to be brave and get social with other local mums providing a wonderful support network of ‘go-to’ mum friends that they can rely on so I am delighted to support the excellent campaign by Mummy Social.

Join the #SocialSeptember hashtag and let’s support each other, make friends and feel good about our parenting journey together.

Sometimes becoming a Mum can feel really lonely.

Sometimes, when you’re awake in the dead of night at 3am nursing your baby, or gently rocking them back to sleep, with your partner snoring loudly in the next room, your dog sprawled on his back contently fast asleep in his bed in the corner of the room & the silence of the moonlight or the hum of traffic gently going about its business, can make you feel like you’re the only person in the whole world who’s not asleep.

Guilt about feeling blessed & grateful play against feeling lonely & isolated.

Sometimes, you look in the mirror, and wonder where you’ve gone.

Feeling isolated when you first have children is very common, as you’ve probably left a job where there were always people around to chat to.

One simple way to combat loneliness is to get into a routine about getting up and getting dressed and having a few small things planned each day. Jot down the night before some simple things that you want to achieve the next day that will take you, and your baby out – simple things like going to the Post Office, getting some milk and a paper and have 3 simple things in your diary each week that gets you out meeting people.

The most obvious way to break the cycle of isolation that often comes with being a new parent is to go to places where there are other mums in the same situation, so look out for:

  • Story time at the library
  • Toddler Groups at local churches
  • Activities at sports centres – with ball pools, games, activities and informal get togethers
  • Musical classes where you child can learn new things and you can meet new friends
  • There are lots of free activities if you go to the library and look for them, or paid classes like Tumble Tots, Music Bugs and Talking Tots.

You will have something naturally in common with these mums straight away and can smile, strike up a conversation and if you attend regularly you build up a friendship over time – be patient, don’t be shy and just relax and you’ll find new friends.

It’s about getting into a routine too, and knowing that for example, every Thursday you go to a swimming group and on Wednesdays you meet some mums for coffee …… create your own simple diary of activities to get you out and about meeting and chatting to others.

Don’t be afraid to ASK!  It can be strange being at home and away from colleagues, and the buzz of conversations, so ask other mums in the same situation where they go and what they do and join in.

That’s where joining in on Mummy Social can really help.

Here are some other ideas:

  • “Me” Time. It’s important to find a little “me” time every day to keep your confidence. 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 out to Bingo, or go to the films or have a drink with a friend 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.
  • Leaving the house for even a short while every day can help to prevent isolation in new mums and 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.
  • Taking up a new hobby is another excellent way for new mums to not feel isolated and alone. Join a painting class, learn how to speak French or take a salsa class as these activities will keep you motivated and help you explore other interests in your life outside of your baby. But don’t join an aerobics class just to lose leftover baby weight as that can feel like a chore so do something, you’re truly passionate about or interested in.
  • Set up a babysitting network with your friends, neighbours and family; you can look after your sister’s baby when she takes a Pilates class on Fridays while she can care for your newborn while you do the weekly shop or whatever frees up some time for you to have a relaxing, fun time.
  • Think about your life before you had children. What made you happy before your days revolved around the kids? What was most important to you? What roles did you have in life? Make a list of the things that made you happiest before you became a Mum and try to bring those elements back into your life. Make time for things you used to enjoy.
  • Join an online parenting group as these are a wonderful way to feel connected to other parents in the same boat.
  • Let people help you – and give you time to rest or have a bath without worrying or feeling guilty! Let relatives or your partner look after the kids sometimes so you can have a rest or meet a friend to chat.
  • Keep the glow with your partner by going out once a week or turning off the telly to have a 10 minute chat every evening at a regular time, as this can work wonders for feeling connected again after having kids.

It can be quite a daunting experience handling the transition from working to staying at home or juggling your work/life balance so make simple plans, find a new routine that suits your family and relax.

Make a commitment to staying positive and deliberately mix with upbeat, like-minded people to lift your spirits, and remember a smile is a curve that puts a lot of things straight!


Sue Launches her Primary2Secondary Programme!

 


MESSAGE FROM SUE : ”I’ll be will be giving a talk in Hove about Resilience – if you’d like me to come and speak to your group or Club or organisation get in touch.”

admin@thesueatkins.com

 

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Don’t Stew – Ask Sue Parenting Q & A

Q. Dear Sue, I have just had my 2nd baby – he is gorgeous and I’m very lucky to have supportive family and friends BUT I feel really lonely sometimes when my partner is out at work, and a lot of my friends haven’t started having children yet. I’m quite shy but sociable. I’m not sure what to do really. I feel a bit guilty but I don’t think I’m depressed. I feel a bit ashamed too as we have a lovely little family as my daughter is 4. What’s your take on my situation? Clare Moggeridge from Fulham.
A.

Dear Clare,

I’m writing about this in this week’s featured Podcast.  Please see my response together with helpful links and tips to assist you with this issue.

Kind regards,

Sue

Tips for beating the isolation blues – https://sg.theasianparent.com/tips-for-beating-isolation-blues/

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