Wednesday, 18 April 2018

MOTHERHOOD: The Struggle of Staying Social as a Second Time Parent

MOTHERHOOD: The Struggle of Staying Social as a Second Time Parent
Life as a second time parent is different from the moment you find out your pregnant or at least it was for me. First time pregnancy was filled with shopping trips for tiny baby clothes, choosing paint for the nursery, a baby shower, spending hours packing and unpacking my hospital bag just to make sure I had everything we could possibly need, having long baths to ease back ache, going to weekly NCT classes to learn all about what was ahead of us and perhaps most importantly sharing our excitement with our friends and family. When we found out we were pregnant for the second time I naively entered into it expecting the same five star treatment and excitement levels from those around us.

Now it's not to say our loved ones weren't excited for us, of course they were, but there wasn't that almost giddy level of excitement as first time round. Certainly no baby shower or long baths easing back ache; second time pregnancy was all about simply surviving those first three months with a toddler in tow (if you're there right now then these five tips really helped me). Then for the second and third trimesters forgetting your pregnant for 95% of the time as you're spending your days chasing/looking after/negotiating with your toddler. No 'me time' or leisurely shopping for all the cute babygrows now, instead you're left with stinky nappies, a lot of struggling to pick up toys and dusting off all your 'already owned' baby items.
Fast forward to the birth of your second child and your world changes once more. Instead of one precious little human to care for, you have another and your hands (and heart) are well and truly full. After those first few weeks and months have passed and you're settled into life with two children....that is when it can hit you. How lonely life has become. When Poppy was around 3 months and all the visits had stopped, life had slowed down and I suddenly realised quite how small our world was now.

Initially going anywhere with two children isn't for the faint hearted and is definitely not what a sleep deprived, hormonal me wanted to be doing day in day out. I saw the world as one big intimidation, filled with challenges beyond my ability. However, I knew that to keep sane I would have to do what I didn't feel comfortable doing...go out. All but one of my NCT friends had another baby, so inevitably the dynamics changed. It wasn't as simple as it used to be to attend planned days out and there were many that I simply deemed 'impossible' now that I had two children, not to mention my driving related anxiety. The places I usually headed for days out with Isabella were suddenly seen in such a different light - the farm wasn't pushchair friendly, soft play would inevitably end up with me attempting to clamber up to the tallest slide with Poppy strapped to my front (I've done it. It's not easy.) and the various classes we went to weren't baby friendly anymore. So what do you do?
If this all rings true with you then why not actively search out the groups that welcome a mixture of ages? Once I felt more comfortable looking after two children by myself I started to look for suitable classes that they would both enjoy, so we signed up to Messy Senses, Hartbeeps and still went to the local village Mums & Tots group. All of which both girls love going to and they're the perfect chances to chat to other parents.

Making new friends isn't always easy and it will probably involve you going outside of your comfort zone slightly. But having someone in a similar position to you, that you can share the highs/lows and enjoy play dates with is surely worth that initial nervous feeling? I approached a few of the mummies at Isabella's nursery and at our weekly village group, organised a play date and the rest is history as they say. I've found that having mummy friends that are local is so handy now that I have two children because it means that we can go to each others houses (ideal if over nap time), to the park or any local attractions. That way you're never too far from home should you need to make a quick escape!

I've also written a blog post all about taking charge of your own happiness, which is closely linked to this blog post in many ways. Loneliness can hit any parent at any time, but its how to deal with it that matters. I was always the person waiting for others to spark up conversation, that was until I decided that I had to take charge of my own happiness. It's the best thing I did for myself, so why not give it a try too?

If you're a parent, how do you manage to stay social?

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

Helen x
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15 comments

  1. I only have one child so haven't had this challenge myself but I can imagine how difficult it must be to stay social with two littles in the mix!

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  2. Even with just one child I found life very lonely when our son came along. With no family or friends close by there were weeks I didn't speak to another adult from Monday to Friday unless I went to the shops. There were o baby groups close by and with my husband working away it was hard.

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  3. It is so hard, and when our twins arrived, I think it was the fact I had a three year old that made me get out the house and face it head on...oh and a dog I needed to walk!

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  4. I do not have any children, but I can only imagine how hard this is, as I struggle to fit everything in now x

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  5. I don't have children so I can't imagine how tough it must be, but I know from friends who have more than one kid it can be tougher with a second kid x

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  6. I have four and now just how hard it is! It's impossible for me to even leave the house at times, let alone be sociable!

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  7. I have had some issues with being social after my second child and I'm still that way 11 years later. I think for me though, as I get older I don't need to socialize as much. I have my group of online friends and I have two other mom friends that I occasionally have coffee with but I don't need to socialize much beyond that. I'm a bit of an introvert though

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  8. I struggled with my twins as I had an older child at the time who was 4 to fit everything in. But has he was at school I made friends with the school mums and would enjoy chatting to them in the mornings and afternoons. Then I would start meeting up for coffee when they were young enough to stay still and let me drink coffee! Harder once they were on the move!!

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  9. We don't live in a big town but there were lots of story and music groups for little ones. Some of the parents / kids we met there are now at the same school as our wee ones. The kids have now been friends for years! These little groups worked well for both the kids and the new parents :)

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  10. Oh I can so relate to this! I have a 2 year old and 3 month old and it has certainly been very different this time around! I kind of feel now I am getting into the swing of it but as you say, I am also not comfortable driving certain places! xxx

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  11. This is something we have not experienced yet. Mostly because my wife had to go through IVF just to have our daughter. As for making friends, I can relate to. We moved sometime ago and i know how hard it can be just to gain new friendships.

    Great post and thanks for sharing

    John M

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  12. It's incredibly difficult to stay social with #2 onwards... I'm practically a hermit because the idea of taking out 3 under 5 and the older two alone scares me senseless. Haha!

    I can totally relate to the reactions from friends and family too... #1 everyone and their uncle visited and bought gifts. #2 everyone visited and bought gifts #3 close friends and family #4 family #5 just close family. Haha

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  13. It is so different to when you just have one! I definitely found it hard in the early days trying to get out and do things they would all enjoy because of the age gaps.

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  14. I definitely found it quite difficult because first time mums were on a different journey and the first I already had were on a different journey. Most of my mum friends have a second (and in some cases 3rd) baby now, so we are all more or less back on the same page again now.

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  15. I had one..2 years later fell pregnant with twins. Really tough fortuntily I'm not a wallflower (Yep kids change you) I started talking to other people in the same position with me....anywhere. I met a few lovely mums in supermarkets..shouted snap s few times at mums with twins with varying results. Against my anxieties and bouts depression I made made myself...if I didn't do it who would. The kids now older (twins 6 1/2 older 9) they've learnt from me...everyone is potential friend, never judge I book by its cover. If they don't want to know it's there loss

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