The Lonely Mums Club
“It must be great, not having a job” they say.
And it is, at first.
When you’re 37 weeks pregnant and waddling like a Emperor Penguin, you can’t wait to clock off.
Then your baby arrives and people come from all corners of the country for a viewing of your tiny human over coffee and cake.
It lasts for a few weeks; but then your husband goes back to work and the steady stream of wellwishers dries up, and you think; now what?
So you throw yourself into baby massage and swimming and sensory.
You sit drinking cups of tea with other women who never ask you your name.
You circumnavigate the local shopping centre on a weekly basis whilst resisting the temptation to spend any money.
If you’re lucky, your mates will have babies too. If you’re not, you try desperately to think of interesting adult conversation that doesn’t include intricate information about your kids bowel movements.
And as it turns out, living for the weekend isn’t just for those who go out to work, but those that stay in to work too.
Weekends mean company.
Weekends mean conversation.
Weekends mean someone to help break up the continuous cycle of the mundane.
That’s not to say you don’t love your baby; of course you do. But at 6 months, they are hardly the great conversationalist.
Feed, change, rock to sleep. Feed, change, rock to sleep. The days are long, the nights are longer.
This Morning becomes a companion. You find yourself talking to the bus driver, the barista, the librarian. They are the only person you’ve spoken to today that didn’t have dribble on their chin.
You go to the supermarket several times a week, resisting the urge to do a ‘big shop’ because leaving something on the shelves will mean that you have something to come back for tomorrow.
You start to unravel.
You start to forget who you used to be.
You start to think that you are alone in the world.
But you are not alone.
Here are some things that might help:
If in doubt, get out – This has helped me on SO MANY occasions. When it’s cold and rainy it can be tempting to spend the whole day inside but let me tell you; nothing sends you bat shit cabin fever crazy quite like 24 hours in a confined space with a baby. Get your coat on (and theirs) and go for a walk. Anywhere. Just get out.
Reconnect – A friend on Facebook I hadn’t seen for about 7 years contacted me when I was pregnant to say she was expecting too, and would I like to meet up once the babas arrived? I’ve seen her practically every week since and she has become a beacon of sanity for me. It doesn’t matter how long it has been, reach out.
Grow some balls – Walking into a baby group can be the most intimidating thing in the world, especially if you’re new and other mums have been going for weeks. But chances are you’ve got several things in common; you all own a tiny human, you’re all knackered and you all don’t mind talking about feces. Start there and you can’t go wrong.
Go to birthing classes/NCT – I learnt absolutely nothing useful AT ALL at my birthing classes. But what I did do was meet 8 other pregnant women who all lived within 10 miles of me who were expecting babies at the same time. Out of 8, I am still in contact with 1. That’s one more mate than I had before, so I count that as £200 well spent.
Get help – If you’re lucky like me, you’ve got an amazing family/friends/husband who support you. Schedule in days where they can look after the baby and you can spend a few hours being who you used to be. Remember; you can’t drink from an empty cup.
Use the time – The kid has to sleep some time. Instead of using nap time to wash up/hoover/sort the laundry, spend it doing something you love; like reading, blogging or knitting. I started my YouTube channel and blog as a way to connect with people, writing a blog and filming a video every week gives me a purpose.
Soak it in – Turn off Jeremy Kyle and spend half an hour sniffing your newborns head. Stare at their eyelashes, play peak-a-boo, make them laugh. It goes by in a flash and you’ll wish you appreciated this time more.
And just to make you feel better here are some actual texts I have sent my husband whilst on Maternity Leave:
“GREAT NEWS! We can now put plastic bottles in the black bin!”
“I swear the squirrel in our garden is staring me out. He’s taunting me the little bastard.”
“DRAMA ALERT! Next doors car has been clamped. That’s my afternoon entertainment sorted.”
“I’ve changed 3 poos today and it’s only 2 o’clock. Do you think it’s the bananas?’
‘Oooh we’re getting a new KFC. Exciting!’