In the present day some parents are often spread far and wide across the globe, further away from their home communities and family. Whatever reason the distance may be, this isolation can make raising little ones lonely and at times incredibly difficult. Even despite distance from friends and family, building a support system to hold your hand in whatever way comforts and guides you best to navigate a new and tricky time can be both important and essential to mamas. Below we have listed a few helpful ideas and ways to build your physical support network with other parents and friends in a new or lonely place.
Getting out and about
Getting out of the house with your little ones to local parks, cafes, shops and libraries might all become an opportunity to connect to other parents who are in a similar circumstance to your own family. You might find yourself bumping into the same people weekly or even daily which is a really nice way to ease yourself to chatting and eventually sustaining a friendship.
Often one of the most isolating times for mums is when little one is first born, it is a time of great change and unknown. A really positive and impactful way to connect with someone could be at their most vulnerable time, so if you see a mum with a new baby out and about, it could be a lovely gesture and a great way to spark a friendship by striking up a conversation with them.
Local play groups
A really easy way to connect with other parents is searching and joining a local play group, or children’s activity time. These will be fun for both you and your wee one. There will likely be lots of activities happening around your local area, so you could go along to a few and just continue with your favourite ones. They might be baby sensory class, coffee groups, library story times and so on.
Antenatal or postnatal groups
Joining an antenatal group or taking part in any other activities for pregnant or new mothers is a nice way to build a network before or after you’ve had little one. Prenatal or postnatal yoga could find you some like-minded mama friends, or even Mums & Bubs Yoga which you could enjoy with your baby. Your antenatal group can hopefully support and empathise with you as you go through all the highs and lows as your little one grows.
Lending a hand
Once your new friendships are in their early stages, numbers have been exchanged and a coffee or two has been had together, one of the best ways we know to cement a friendship in motherhood is to lend a hand to your newfound friend when and where possible for you. Dropping food over, offering to watch their little ones, going for a walk or sharing stories over a coffee after a long night. No doubt will your helpfulness and care be reciprocated in equal measures. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support where needed from your new friends, even if it is just to have someone to talk to.
Online groups and forums
If you aren’t as comfortable reaching out to others in person, a good place to start could be looking into online groups or forums, or using social media platforms to connect with mums in your area. Once you have become comfortable with that space perhaps you could springboard into arranging a catch up with some of the other local mothers.
Just for you
To help build your own network, it can be really valuable to have some time out and about without your little one. If you can, leave baby with your partner or a babysitter to get out and mingle, maybe even once a week you could find a new hobby or spend an hour at your local cafe or restaurant.
And don't forget the power of video calling for when you just need to connect with your family or old friends! We hope these few ideas help you to build and sustain a support system with new friends. We understand that it’s such a tricky, foreign and vulnerable time, and reaching out for help or connect can seem incredibly difficult but may also be the very best thing you do, and for other parents too. xx Nb