How I went from a lonely stay-at-home mom to a social one

I became a stay at home parent after the birth of my son. It was entirely my decision and I was well aware that it would be far from a cakewalk. When you are overseas with no family around, things can get doubly challenging. Not to mention resources are limited and expensive. But what irks me to no end is the nonchalance associated with stay-at-home parenting.

“Life must be so relaxed now … no more office politics, no more deadlines.”

“Good decision, now you can put your feet up and focus on your baby.”

Good or bad, will someone kindly tell me how does one put their feet up and focus on a tottering baby at the same time?

Anyway, coming back to the point, it does not matter if you are a full-time working mom, a stay at home one or even a work-from-home mom, each role comes with its own haves and have-nots. But to assume that stay-at-home moms have everything going in their favour is a huge misconception.

It is common knowledge that exhaustion, sleep regression and everything else that follows are part of the package when you’re a new parent. What many fail to understand and acknowledge, especially when you are a stay-at-home parent, is the isolation, boredom, and the loneliness that eventually creeps in.

In my case, my son was born in a foreign country. The grandparents were around to help out for the first few months and after that my husband and I were on our own. After a few hits and misses, we managed to get a routine in place with our tiniest member. Having said that, there were days I craved to meet some new faces. Or to find a creative outlet to break the monotony of the routine that I followed day in and day out. And I can tell you from experience that fixating on rigid routines and finding excuses to stay indoors only makes it worse. Silly as it may sound, being on foreign soil only added to my reluctance to make the first move. And when I did, I wish I had started earlier!

If you are a stay at home parent who recently moved overseas and are struggling to fill that social void, here are some pointers to help you break the jinx:

Join a club or an activity group: In my case, the easiest option was to join a fitness program.  A good workout routine not only enhances your fitness levels, but does wonders to your mood. For those interested in pursuits apart from fitness, options are aplenty these days. One quick search on the internet will give you leads to libraries, book clubs, interest-based Meet Up groups, social service organisations and the like. And for those mommas who prefer to be close to their babies, there is also the option of joining a mom’s guide club/group, mother-baby activity class or even a baby wearing library.

Use social media to your advantage: In my experience, it is also one of the best mediums to connect with other stay-at-home mothers. There are mom bloggers who even specialise in areas ranging from babywearing to babyweaning to sleep training. Reach out to those who strike a chord with you. Join the discussion, discuss your queries, ask for suggestions if you need to. I received some excellent tips on babywearing from one such momma whom I met online. That discussion also led to us meeting offline.

Take part in events: It may seem overwhelming at first, but this move will only increase your chances of meeting more people. Most cities these days hosts a lot of sporting and community events. There are marathons, community drives, even baby wearing flash mobs! Interestingly, I even stumbled across a buggy run last month!

Of course, there’s the million-dollar question: who will look after the baby while I am away? This is when you need to loop in your partner or a close friend. If you are lucky to find a reliable house-help /nanny who can step in when you are away, good for you. I also know of stay-at-home moms who drop their child to a day care for a couple of hours. Choose what works best for you and your little one.

Caring for your child 24/7 is immensely satisfying and heartwarming. Yet, there are days you feel like the loneliest person in the world. If that is not reason enough to call your girlfriends and enjoy a glass of wine, I don’t know what else is.

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