When I look at our little boy and his perfect little features, 10 gorgeous toes and blossoming personality; I am thankful. I thank the universe every morning for allowing this amazing little person to be brought into our lives, for allowing me to grow from a person into a mother and more importantly taking my marriage to the next step and turning us into a family. BUT…there is one thing that I really think needs addressing, something that I think gets pushed under the carpet a lot and hushed away – loneliness – let’s call it The Big L.
When I finished work for maternity leave it was an odd feeling. On one hand I was really looking forward to being at home and not commuting into work everyday but on the other hand I was absolutely petrified. I was going to lose a piece of me, it felt like my world immediately became smaller and I worried that when J came home I’d have nothing to talk about except still being pregnant. And the hot topics of the daytime tv I’d seen. Sure there were friends and family around but mostly they were at work and had their own lives to get on with too. That month off of work before The Boy came was a lonely period for sure. Then he came, turned my life upside down and took the feeling of being alone away but not the feeling of loneliness. I felt like my days merged into one haze of nappies, doctors and housework. My vocabulary consisted mostly of information about Reflux/Colic/Constipation/Wind in Babies and Baby Development. Oh my god, I’d become one of those mums. J went back to work and that was it, time to crack on with this whole “stay at home Mum” thing.
The Big L is brushed on in parenting books, baby magazines and at antenatal classes but never really discussed. We’re told how to make new Mum friends “meet at your local baby group” or “you’ll make friends for life at your NCT classes”. What if you don’t feel welcome at your local baby group or god forbid (whispering of course because you couldn’t possibly shout this from the rooftops), you didn’t go to NCT classes? What then? If like me you find it nerve wracking to enter a room of strangers where you feel the wings of your social butterfly folding back in then you too are suffering from Stay At Home Mum Syndrome. I’m a chatterbox and will happily talk to most people, I mean who doesn’t love an old person in the supermarket/bus/post office queue but there is just something about walking into a room of cliquey mums that makes me bleed awkwardness. I decided it was time, time to embrace the apps to meet other mums. Thankfully platforms like Instagram and Mush have made meeting other mums much easier, like everything else in 2018 it’s all digital, meaning that we can sit on our sofas with unwashed hair and a baby on our lap, possibly with a spot of sick on us too and make new friends. Who in the world thought that it would be possible to look like a hobo and still have people want to talk to you?! Well it turns out that there are other Mamas at home, looking like hobos, looking for Mum-Dates-Might-Become-Mum-Mates too.
With a partner at home and real life friends and family at the end of the phone it might seem strange to some as to why you would want to set up a profile and in effect, sell yourself, to other mums. For those of us in long term relationships (9.5 years for us – I know you legit do get less for murder) we’ve missed the boat of digital dating and all the swipe left shenanigans so the whole things seems weird to the older Millennial but I’ll explain; our loved ones usually endured all of worries/excitement/moans/fear/questions about babies during the pregnancy. Unless you’re very lucky and have people you already know around you with new babies, you can be assured that the most of them don’t really want to go out to eat with a screaming baby in tow or receive yet another photo of a poonami. So to spare them the inner secrets of your child’s bowel or the exciting schedule you keep of feeds, we look for other mamas. It’s even better if they aren’t too far away from you, you can take 2 screaming babies to a restaurant and not be judged!
Personally, I’ve met some fantastic women online that have been able to make me laugh when I’ve had a day filled with crap, sometimes literally, reassured me in those early days of the fact things really do get easier and kept me sane when it comes to talking about or looking at stuff that isn’t about babies. So to all of you new mamas or those about to go on maternity leave, don’t be scared to embrace the digital pond of Mama Connects, you’d be surprised just how many other ducks there are paddling away under the surface of The Big L, just like you.
Peace and Love