Monday, 12 March 2018

PARENTHOOD: Taking Charge of your own Happiness

I'm there, a new mummy to two children, very few friends in a similar position and now don't have my usual arsenal of days out to entertain Isabella. I felt lost and lonely. This time it just isn't as easy to even meet up with other mummies, let alone go to baby groups or classes. Finding friends that have both a toddler and baby is hard, but if there is even a slight difference in ages then it makes it even trickier. What babies/crawling babies/toddlers/older toddlers etc. want to do is so different at each of those stages. It has therefore been hard to know where to go or what to do if we do meet up. But I've felt determined not to be beaten by the fact I now have two children.

After chatting to a mummy from Isabella's nursery at a few Christmas parties I decided to 'bite the bullet' and organise a playdate. Her son is Isabella's best friend at nursery, so it seemed perfect. They'd entertain each other wherever we went and although his mummy doesn't have a second child I had hope I could make it work. A few months later a date was set and we were off to the farm for our first playdate, which really was the start of a much brighter time since having Poppy. Isabella and her little friend ran around the farm feeding the animals, played in the treehouse and made sandcastles in the sandpit. I had Poppy in the Ergobaby 360, so was able to feed on the go and get around the farm with ease. We chatted for hours and it felt like my world had just got that little bit bigger. A new friend to welcome in, share the good and bad times with, have playdates and enjoy watching our children grow up together.


There is also a weekly group in our village, which we had been going to since before Poppy was born. Although Isabella loved playing with all the toys and I enjoyed chatting with the other mummies I hadn't really made any 'friends'. That was until I suggested to one of the mummies that we swap numbers and organise a trip to the local park. She had a daughter a similar age to Isabella, so it was the perfect scenario. We could natter while the girls played together - win, win. I was nervous making the first move, but how was I ever going to make new friends without putting myself out there? Park trips and house playdates are perfect for the early trips out with two children because you're close to home, can leave at any time and you're keeping the older one entertained. 


Making those moves to organise a playdate really were the best decisions, even if I felt like a nervous teenager to begin with. If you're also feeling lonely, whether you are a first time parent or have more than one child, I would highly recommend being the one to make the move. For such a long time I would essentially sit around waiting for someone to talk to me or organise meeting up, but then I realised that it is only me that is responsible for my happiness. If I want to surround myself with positive, supportive and caring parents then only I can do that, no one else. It's not easy being brave enough to make the first move, but what is the worst that can happen?

I remember reading either a blog post or article from a mummy who said she was at soft play with her children and she wanted nothing more than another mummy to talk to her. However, on that day all the other mummies were chatting with their friends or perhaps also too scared to spark up a conversation with a stranger. That has really stuck in my mind because the idea of someone feeling so lonely, despite being surround by fellow parents, breaks my heart. Since reading that article I have made a conscious effort to chat to mothers that are by themselves or even simply throw a friendly smile their way. As someone who has been that lonely mother, it really can change that person's day. 

Sometimes you just have to put yourself outside of your comfort zone to make yourself and others happier. I wrote a blog post about relying on my children and that couldn't be more relevant here because if I was writing this in the context of work or anywhere I went without my children then I simply wouldn't be writing it. My children give me the confidence to chat to other parents, but without them I am the nervous, socially awkward person I was before them. I know what it is like to be that mum who wants to talk to someone but is too nervous and I now know what it's like to be the mum doing the talking. The second is a lot happier than the first. So next time you see a parent by themselves at a group/farm/soft play etc. then why not smile in their direction and if it is reciprocated then it may be a sign they would love to chat with you. Head over there and spark up a conversation, what is there to lose?

How do you take charge of your own happiness?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x
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23 comments

  1. Good for you! I made the first move a couple of times when Matilda was little - it was terrifying but completely worth it. I haven't had the chance yet with Alice, but hope I'd still be brave enough - I suspect most parents at these groups and activities are wishing they could connect and find friends.

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  2. Oh I really relate to this. I was lucky with my first that I did antenatal classes so had a group of friends with babies and some of us had our second around the same time too. Still - I always tried to talk to mums on their own and make sure no one felt lonely. It was so different when my third was born though because a lot of my friends from first and second time were back at work and the friends I made in pregnancy yoga were mostly first time mums whereas I had three of four and under so we could not do the same activities etc or if we met up they would be chatting and I'd be running round after my other two. It was so hard but as the older two went off to school I had to start talking to other mums and making friends and not being scared of 'making the first move'. x

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  3. Can so relate to this now I've just had Charlie. Fortunately the friends I made with Sophie have all gone on to have second children but none of them are quite as young so I am looking to make some new friends but it's so daunting! X

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  4. My mummy was lucky that she feel into a circle of NCT friends, however she’s noticed the loneliness creep in at the school playground as none of the other mums chat to her :( it’s all about making the first move x

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  5. Making the first move can be really tricky. I know I put myself out there with my post natal group. Invited them all round, made a cake - then never heard anything from any of them again! I had to dust myself off from that one but luckily I had my NCT friends to have a laugh with about it.

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  6. It took me such a long time to make a good group of 'mum friends' and involved a lot of me starting conversations with people who weren't interested in speaking to me and arranging things that never happened. I'm so glad I persevered though and now have such a wonderful group of supportive friends. I'm glad you have made some mum friends, it makes things seem a lot easier when there is someone who understands what you are going through.

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  7. I am so glad that you made a decision to organize a playdate and that ultimately it gave you a new friend. Dealing with loneliness is never easy but I am pleased that you took charge and worked out what you needed to do!

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  8. It can be so hard can't it. I had a lot of people who didn't get it when no.2 ended up being a pair of twins and we really struggled especially once they started to move....just not enough hands but a lot of judgement. However, I have now a very small, but wonderfully helpful group of mummy friends who without being asked would just chase one for me when we were out and catch it, meaning I was more confident heading out because I knew they were there for me :-)

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  9. Good for you! Making that first move is always daunting but it often pays off. I've been feeling quite isolated. If it wasn't for my neighbour I would crack up.

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  10. Definitely keep making the first move, I'll bet others are pleased you did.

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  11. I can totally relate to this! I'm a mother of 2, with my most recent addition being only 9 weeks old it has been difficult to get out and see friends! I have made it to some groups which is nice so hopefully I will make some friends there! I am very lucky that my SIL is currently on maternity but once she goes back to work in June I'm on my own! x #bloggerclubuk

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  12. I remember being in a similar situation when mine were young to you. It is great getting out and making play dates when you can. It does the children good mixing with new friends and it does you good making new friends too :)

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  13. Making the first move can be terrifying. I remember going to the baby group for the first time, Jesus, it felt like a first date :) Good luck with everything, you are amazing!

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  14. Well done on making that first move, that is not easy and not something that I've ever been brave enough to do!

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  15. Good you made the move. I like to take charge of my happiness. I follow my instincts and do what I love.

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  16. I bet you are so glad you made the first move and made new friends. Being a mum can sometimes be so lonely and I totally agree it is harder to make friends when you have two young children, I find it so hard at school as while all the parents are talking I am chasing my younger child around xx

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  17. It is all too easy to stay at home and wait for that invite to meet up, so good for you for chasing up and getting out and about

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  18. That's so good to hear. I must admit I'm a socially shy person and wouldn't dream of approaching someone I didn't know to start up a conversation. Why are we like that? I wish I'd had more confidence during my maternity leave year to make some mum friends as it was a lonely year!

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  19. I bet you are glad you made the first move! I struggled so much to make friends with other mums when my daughter was small - not helped by the fact that people were very judgemental about how young I was. This time round I feel a lot more confident so hopefully will be able to make the first move!

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  20. Well done for taking control. I was the opposite, too busy, too sociable and therefore exhausted and run down as I was so used to being busy. It's all about balance.

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  21. I can do relate to this post. When I had my first baby I found it much easier to make mum friends as everything was new and exciting and everyone else seemed to be a first time mum too. We relocated and I had another baby and since then I have felt really lonely at tines. I really struggle to make the first move, luckily I have made a couple of lovely friends but I definitely have room for a few more xx

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  22. When I had my twins I really struggled to fit in with groups, until I found a twin group. I made some very lovely friends who helped me through a lot of hard day's. It's lovely to have Mummy friends to be there for you.

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  23. It's not always easy to make the first move. Well done you!

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