Being a new mother I never realized this whole culture that existed regarding the isolation a lot of moms feel. Even ones that used to be outdoorsy and active, once the first months of excitement of a new baby die down, they are overwhelmed with loneliness.
What IS This Momsolation?
Well it comes from trying to take a few months to get in the swing of things with your baby and kids, declining invitations to go out and do things with friends because it’s either not baby friendly, too late, or you’re afraid of dealing with a screaming child in public and embarrassing others as well as yourself.
This leads to you making daily choices of saying “no, ” “next time,” “I can’t.” Which then leads to people no longer calling you. No longer inviting you out and honestly for those friends without kids… maybe it’s not something they have in common with you anymore.
How Do I fix This?
How Do I fix This?
Well, I can’t speak FOR you but here are some tips on how I have moved forward with maintaining a mom- life balance so I don’t get too “momsolated.”
1. Manage Your Expectations
You’re not the woman you once were. It’s okay…. actually it’s great! You’re even BETTER! You’ve evolved into this amazing creature that has brought a human into this world that will someday make the world a better place- because of you. You’re basically a Unicorn.
Once you truly let that sink in, you can now start fresh. Sure, you may have used to hit the gym 3 days a week, go to yoga, have abs of steel, run 10k daily, and now you feel like you can’t do that – you can barely put pants on.
I started off by setting myself realistic, safe and attainable goals. I found when I looked at how strong I used to be and what I needed to do to get there, it would often deflate me and in the end it resulted in me not doing anything. I realized I had to change my state of mind, my expectations of myself.
This is why I came up with the rule of thirds. Divide all your previous ability by a third. If you ran 10k before, you can now try run 3k. If you hiked for 3hrs before, not aim for 1hr. If you used to dress to impress, aim for getting on a shirt and pants.
This doesn’t mean you’re 1/3 less of an amazing woman. It’s simply accounting for the extra something-something that is now being invested in growing a human. Basically you’re twice as awesome now because two thirds of you, are now manifested in your mini human!
Honestly, give this tip a try and cut your expectations down to 1/3. It’s always better for your soul to increase your goals rather than have to downsize them.
2. Don’t Stop Your Passions and Hobbies
Over the years of studying people, this is the biggest mistake I have seen people commit time and time again. They stop participating in their passions. This doesn’t necessarily have to apply to new moms but I find that moms are the most guilty of this.
It also goes back to the first point about managing expectations. Women think they can go back to what they used to do, and when they try… and realize they can’t, they give up. They don’t try again, they don’t tone down their expectations. They just quit and slowly “having kids,” becomes an excuse.”
You CANNOT quit, you’re a unicorn now! For myself accepted that there would be changes. Since I love to climb, I accepted that initially I would only climb easy things. Not only that but I accepted that if we just made it outside to the mountains, THAT, was a win. I also try hard to not use my baby as an excuse not to do things. If I don’t want to do things it’s because of MYSELF not because my child prevents me from doing so. I avoid saying “we have to go because of baby.” Instead I might say “I’m tired, its MY bed time.”
I knew I wasn’t going to be climbing 5.12’s after giving birth. Maybe never again let alone right away. What I did that helped me was accept that I had given two thirds of my mojo to my new little human and she would grow up to be awesome because of this, with the caveat that I didn’t stop what my pursuit for growth.
My biggest motivation, even before Basia was born. Was to stay healthy, strong and continually grow so that I may bring a good human into this world. It has not changed. I accept that I have my slow days, days that I just want to squirrel and stay indoors, but I also tell myself NOW it is more important than ever to set that example for my little one.
3. Say “Yes.” (And actually do it)
The easy this is to say “No.” I get it. It means you don’t have to make an effort and you can avoid all the scary things the world has to offer. However, this is the one thing you MUST do for yourself. You must at the very minimum say “YES,” to yourself.
When you ask yourself “should I go for a walk today?” Just say “YES.” When your friends invite you to go for a coffee, a walk a climb. Just say “YES.” They KNOW you have kids, they KNOW what they are signing up for. Don’t worry about how people will feel if your baby cries when you’re out or if your cramping your friends style. They asked you to do stuff because they want to do stuff with you. Make yourself a “YES Friend.” (Check out this post if you need some more inspiration!
Most Importantly…It’s Not Weird to Ask for Numbers.
We’re all in this together. More than likely that mom across from you is just as equally alone and excited to be your friend. Its hard enough as an adult to make friends let alone a new mom or any mom. Most parents I have met in this journey are just as stoked to meet some other parents that are trying to do the same thing – do stuff with their kids. Be brave, if not for yourself then for your little human. Make friends, take baby steps and celebrate the small wins.
Today… I put pants on. Melba 1: Momsolation 0.
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Written for @radmumsyyc