When I had my little girl, I didn’t realise my whole social circle would change.
Now almost a year on, not only do I have a group of brand new friends but I have become closer to some people I have known for years.
In the area I live, we are so lucky to have something called First Steps where the local health visiting team organises a meet up for mums whose babies have been born within a couple of weeks of one another.
It is the ideal chance to get acquainted with parents going through the exact same thoughts and anxieties as you.
Since those first days in a small church hall when the babies were tiny and lay peacefully in our arms, our group has met up numerous times, sometimes just for a coffee and a chat and other times at locally run kiddy groups.
And we are regularly in touch on our phones asking each other about what and how the wee ones are eating/sleeping/pooing (yes really!) as we all appreciate what each other is going through at exactly the same time.
It has certainly saved my sanity sometimes and one of the best pieces of advice I have been given from this group is just to enjoy the cuddles because they don’t stay small for long. This particular golden nugget has got me through some very tough nights! And I wouldn’t have been able to tap into this if it hadn’t been for First Steps so thank you whoever came up with this idea because it really works!
As mentioned, it’s not only the new friends I have made that I am so grateful for but also becoming closer to some of my existing friends. Those who have young children and those who have days off during the week have been so kind to include my daughter and I in their plans and it has been great to share some of this quality time with them. They may not agree as they pretty much get me quizzing them about how and when their child sleeps and eats etc. I’m sure you can see a pattern here of what my priorities are. I’m hoping though they are the same as most mums at my stage!
In addition, I want to pay tribute to the many groups which run across the country, quite often manned by compassionate volunteers, held in church halls and community centres aimed at giving kids time and space to burn off energy and making mums much-needed cups of tea and coffee.
From when my daughter was just a couple of weeks old, I have been attending a local toddler group and although, when we first went along and until very recently, she wasn’t able to really participate, she has loved watching other children throughout. And I have been able to get a hot coffee while she has sat mesmerised by the other kiddies.
I have also had the chance to chat with the other mums keeping me sane just by having someone to talk to. Maternity leave is great but it can be lonely at times and I have found such groups a real lifeline.
Now, at almost one (eek!) my girl is loving engaging with the youngsters at this group and playing with the toys which are out each and every week for them to enjoy. And I am still enjoying meeting the other parents and chatting about whatever stage our children are at, often picking up vital tips on various aspects of parenting.
To anyone who is struggling in the early days, weeks and months of motherhood and trying to motivate themselves to get out of the house, my advice is to find out what is happening in your area and go for it. It is a massive effort at the time but if your experience is anything like mine (and I hope it is!), you will be really grateful you did it.