Tag Archives: loneliness

Five savvy suggestions for surviving motherhood

Becoming a parent is one of the most wonderful things in the world, but it’s also incredibly hard work. It can be quite isolating and emotionally tough, which you could probably cope with if you’d had enough sleep, which you won’t have done. Last year my lovely friend Karen from That Lancashire Lass became a mum for the third time. In this guest post, she shares with us her tips for surviving motherhood.

Five savvy suggestions for surviving motherhood

It’s no secret that the first few weeks, months and years of parenting is hard work. The most beautiful and amazing thing in your life just happened, but it’s a shock to your body and your life changes drastically. Sometimes you feel like your kid is driving you up the wall and you need a bit of space, or even just a conversation with another grown up. Sometimes your four walls at home feel like they might start closing in on you and you need to get outside and get some air in your lungs. Other times you might need reassurance that your baby is doing just as well as all the other babies her age. And once in a while, you just need to know you’re doing okay.

I have always had good friends around me. When I had each of my babies my friends were there with gifts, baby cuddles and wine and they were a great source of support for me. The thing is though that once the initial visits wear off you find that your friends are at work, or busy with their own families and commitments. That’s the time you need to put yourself out there. Here are five things you can do to stave off the loneliness, isolation and general blues that can creep in when you have a new baby…

Make time for yourself

Whether it be painting your nails, going for a massage or simply having an early night while dad, sister or your mum watches the baby once a week, it’s really important to make time for yourself. I really struggled with this myself as I find it difficult to hand over the reins, but once I learned to let go a little bit I felt so much better in myself and I was a generally happier person. Which leads me onto point two…

Accept help

I promise you that nobody is going to judge you for letting other people help with the baby. If someone you trust offers to help, to watch the baby while you nap or take a bath, to take him out in the pram while you hoover round (or even better if they offer to hoover!) then honestly, just say yes. It will make them feel good for being able to help and they really wouldn’t offer unless they meant it. People generally love to lend a hand. I’m not saying pack your newborn off to Nana’s for a month but do welcome the opportunity to shower for more than 30 seconds at a time!

Make some mum friends

Since there were 696,271 live births in England and Wales in 2016, I’m certain there are mums with children of a similar age to yours nearby! Using an app like Mush makes a world of difference when you need some contact with the outside world. You can use the app to search for parents with children of a similar age, with similar interests to yours or who are in your local area. Where I live there are several meet-ups per week, all of which started off as a simple connection on Mush. I love the app and have made some lovely new friends through it. I’d definitely recommend it.

Five savvy suggestions for surviving motherhood

Sleep when you can

You know when midwives say ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ and you think it’s ridiculous because who is going to cook dinner, wash the pots and do the laundry? Well you’ll feel much better if you sack the housework off and get your head down. The laundry will get done eventually and nobody will starve to death. Just order a takeaway.

Don’t be pressured

Formula or breastmilk? Cloth nappies or disposables? Routine or baby led days?

It really, truly, honestly doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks you should do. Sure, listen to what they have to say and make up your own mind about it, but when all is said and done you are the one bringing up this tiny human and it is your decision on how to do that. As long as you and your baby are safe and happy, then you crack on. There is no ‘right’ way to be a parent and we’re all different. Ask for advice if you need to, but have faith in yourself!

Are you a parent already? What advice on surviving motherhood would you give to new mums?

I’ll take my headphones off to talk to you!

Today an article about how to approach women who have their headphones in has been the talk of social media. I’ve read some tweets about this and a couple of opposing articles and blog posts, so I thought I’d throw my two penneth in.

I don’t drive, so I walk everywhere or use public transport. I also like to listen to music. These days my iPod is how I listen to about 90% of the music in my life. I wear headphones a lot. 

I am also from the north, a wonderland of strangers who exchange pleasantries at the bus stop, humans who will talk to the person next to them on the tram, or make chit chat in the queue for the toilets or in a supermarket.

In short I am a northern woman and I get talked to a lot by complete and utter strangers. Often I will have my headphones in, see that someone wishes to say something to me and so I take my headphones out so I can converse with other human beings. Most of the time I do not mind this one tiny little bit, even when I’m listening to my most favourite song ever.

“Ah!” I hear you cry, “But what about men who want to speak to you?”

I’ve found that most men are fairly decent. Very few of them have clubbed me over the head, dragged me back to their man cave and started calling me wife without my permission. 

I’ve found that most men if they have felt the need to interrupt my listening to 90’s Indie music are entirely apologetic about that. Most men, if they had fallen head over heels in love with me (I have had to stop wearing Impulse) are capable of taking gentle rejection in their stride. 

I admit that sometimes (because I’m a raging introvert, despite my northern bus stop chatting tendencies) I use my headphones to block the world out and to isolate myself from social interaction. Fair doos. I think a lot of people do that.

headphones

But, and this is a big but. Often someone, maybe an old lady will talk to me, I’ll pop my headphones out, whatever mood I’m in I will do this, and I will chat to them for as long as they want or as long as I am able. I might be the only person they have spoken to all day. It’s a nice thing to feel that you may have brightened up a day for a stranger just by taking a few minutes interest in their lives.

Who says this rule should only apply to the over 70’s. If someone wants to chat to me I will chat to them if I can. Loneliness and isolation are a horrible curse, it probably affects the elderly a bit more, but there are plenty of people of all ages who are lonely.

It doesn’t take any time, effort or money to be kind, to exchange a few words with a stranger. Even a smile of understanding can go a long way to making someone’s day. Yes, don’t foist yourself upon someone who clearly doesn’t want to talk to you about the weather, but what’s 5 minutes of your time worth anyway?