Support Network

Last week we found ourselves attending a first birthday BBQ. It was one of these events where many different friend and family circles were brought together and the only people I knew were the hosts. So me being me went about making conversation with a group of women similar ages to myself. As is the way now the twins broke the ice, and I was inundated with the usual twin questions: Do twins run in your family? Was it a surprise to find out you were having twins? How do you cope? And so on. Once all the twin niciestes were out of the way I got chatting to a first time mummy to be. One of the first questions I found myself asking her was “Do you have any close friends with young babies?”  The sense of relief I felt when she told me her next door neighbour has a young baby. It made me happy to know she wouldn’t be on her own. 
But why? Why did I care so much that people around her had babies? Because being a mother can be lonley, especially becoming a mummy for the first time. 

Reflecting back to my experience on maternity leave with Finlay (our first born) compared to that with the twins, I was lonely. At the time I wouldn’t have said I was lonely. I went to visit my mum every other day and busied myself with walks to the park or household chores. But I lacked “mummy” friends. Women who also had a baby. Women who were going through the same thing as me. Women who I could bring my baby related questions to. It came as no surprise that I enjoyed returning to work (after I got over my initial guilt of leaving him!) I enjoyed having adult company and conversation. 

Fast forward three years to when the twins were born. Life was fuller and busier as I now had three young children to look after. The early days were purely survival and they blurred into one as David and I were like robots, programmed to follow the same daily pattern. I didn’t have time to be lonley or even time to reflect on my mothering techniques. But as the months flew by I decided to push myself out a little more and along with my mum, I attended  a baby massage class. 
I throughly enjoyed the classes, as did the twins! There I could chat to other mums and the nice thing about it was most of them were second time mums like me. After the class ended we set up a Facebook group to keep in touch and began arranging baby play dates. 

This support network has to be one of the things I miss most since our family moved. It’s hard moving to a new area, building a new routine and leaving all those who supported you behind. I didn’t realise how fortunate I was to have both my mother and mother in law living 5 minutes away. To have my sister pop in on her way home from work. To have our good friend Andrew who was willing to babysit once a week and to have such like minded mummies to moan to. All of these made parenting three young children much easier. 

As I journey through motherhood, entering new phases and stages of development each one poses it’s own set of trials and challenges. The challenges of this phase: making sure David and I spend time together away from our children, juggling appointments and necessities while being each other’s babysitter and making new friends. 

How do I plan to tackle these challenges? By settling myself “support” goals:

  1. To push myself out and attend more baby classes with the twins 
  2. To spend time cultivating the friendships I’ve already created. 
  3. Be a bit forthcoming with brothers (who live near us) and ask them to babysit, even just once a month would make a massive difference! 
  4. Sit down with David and sync our diaries. That way we both can participate in extra curricular activities while also managing to spend time together watching our latest boxset. 
  5. Make sure our family visit as much as they can, as travelling “home” is too long and expensive a journey at this time of year with 3 young children. We now have a spare room! 

I shall begin with these goals and see how I get on. It’s not going to be as easy or comfortable as it was but I’ve found from the past that the times I am pushed out of my comfort zone are those when I grow the most. 

Here’s to our support networks. The people who don’t even know they are making a difference in our lives. Here’s to trying our hardest not to take them for granted as you never know the day when circumstances will change! 

A selection of friends and family who have been part of our support network

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