It’s taboo – but it’s reality. Simple as that.
Think about it. A working mum one day; busy with meetings, deadlines, group lunches, after work drinks, office banter – suddenly finds herself pregnant.
The lead up to the impending arrival is half exciting and half a blur. You have your belly rubbed and everyone (including the Coles delivery man) is trying to guess the sex and tell you that you’re carrying high/low, big/small.
The abundance of advice is overwhelming. I remember actually taking notes – hilarious.
Then one day you leave skipping (or in my case waddling with back and pelvic pain) into the wilderness for the next adventure. The unknown is daunting. It’s bloody scary actually, but you think to yourself, it’s time right?! It’s what we are meant to do?
Once the hype dies down, the visitors start to stop and you pack away those congratulations cards – the life of a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) sinks in and reality strikes.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my children, but some days it gets lonely – it just does.
I only ever allow myself one full ‘home’ day per week, anymore and I’d need a referral to the nuthouse. It’s OK for some, but just not for me. I need to be out amongst it, to interact with others and breathe some fresh air. Obviously in situations where it isn’t possible, i.e. one of the team is down; I’ll do my best to alter my plans so it’s not the same mundane routine day in day out.
So, to save your sanity and ensure a happy well balanced life, here are my suggestions to overcoming the loneliness:
1. Mothers Group
One of the best decisions I made was walking into my Health Centre and starting Mothers Group. I remember ummming and ahhhing whether to walk through the doors.
The horror stories I’d heard, parents comparing their kids, making you feel inadequate if you were formula feeding or co-sleeping (or whatever you do) and the thought of just not connecting with anyone was enough to turn me off, well almost.
I thought, what the hell, I am just going to do it! Well I am so glad I did. I met 5 of the most wonderful Mums, 2 years on and we are still the greatest of mates. I know it’s not for everyone and not everyone connects, however just give it a crack you have nothing to lose but plenty to gain.
2. Reach Out
There is so much support out there. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming to be honest. Where do I go for this or for that? The Health Centre to the helplines, the forums to the online groups, it’s there in abundance if you look for it.
I always found the best place to start was my Mummy friends or the health centre – they will always guide you.
But honestly as a Mum we do need to trust our own gut, regardless of what anyone says. We know our babies better than anyone.
Don’t be scared to ask for help. Whether it’s a friend, family member, neighbour or a complete stranger … anything they can do to make your life a little easier is worth it in my opinion. Sometimes it’s hard as you have that overwhelming guilt you should be across everything, but we aren’t super heroes (well not all the time anyway).
3. Get Involved.
Aside from Mothers Group there are so many other groups. Just try and get involved as much as you can be bothered.
Councils run free Playgroups – I joined my local one. It gives me another outing, another group of Mums and bubs to interact with and a place to feel comfortable.
There are other low/no cost activities (because let’s be honest, one wage can make us tighten our spending), such as Library rhyme time and story time (sessions on the council websites) or paying activities such as Gymbaroo, Little Kickers, Mini Maestro to name a few.
4. Plan Ahead.
I am admittedly a little OCD with my organisation/planning. My husband calls me his very own personal assistant.
I’ll get the planner out the week prior and start booking in activities, catch ups and ‘me time’ just so I can be sure the week ahead is packed with things to keep everyone entertained and happy.
5. ME time.
Sometimes we forget that very important person… Ourselves!
We get so caught up in our kid’s activities, routines and development that we forget. So it’s extremely important to factor in ME time.
Whether it’s a night out with the girls or the hubby, an early morning or evening exercise class or something as simple as a walk around the block.
I always smile when I drive off alone in the car, the music blaring, me singing… the things I used to take for granted. Me time allows me to connect back with myself and in turn be a better Mum.
I am a happier person when I exercise. Fact. I’ll admit though, since having kids I’ve found it harder to find the time. Ok not harder, just once the kids are sleeping I always want to sleep too!
It can either mean getting up in the dark and working out before the kids wake or waiting until they are both asleep at night. Let’s be honest though, I’d rather sleep in the morning and sit down with hubby and a wine at night time.
Sometimes I just need to push myself and remember the feeling I’ll have once it’s done. The wine does win sometimes. A group exercise class is a massive win. Find one nearby where the kids are entertained with other kids; some even have a childminding service for a couple of extra dollars.
Otherwise my latest obsession is an app called “PT in your Pocket” created by The Hiit Mum. Get on it, it’s amazing. Heaps of different work outs, depending how much time and energy you have. All can be done in the comfort of your lounge room anytime of the day.
As my husband always says “Happy wife, happy life”… and its true.
Do you have any tips to add to this list? SHARE with us in the comments below.