If so, you are not alone as more and more parents admit they often feel isolated.
In fact, research by COMRES* found that 3 in 10 British adults report to feeling lonely some of the time. This is especially true for new mums and dads who may feel they are missing out on the social interaction for their pre-baby social life.
But what can you do if you are a parent to avoid isolation? Annie Drewry a parent and founder of the Big Red Bus Club offers her five top tips.
Identify your loneliness
Parenthood is all about change. This sounds obvious – but the truth is even the simplest thing like enjoying a few hours in the cinema with friends or going out on a Friday night with work colleagues just disappears.
Loneliness is made up of social loneliness, missing that large group of friends to socialise with and emotional loneliness, like the loss of a confidant.
This type of loneliness is different from wondering how you will fill your day with just your baby and not having someone to share the highs and lows of your day with.
Find others that share your interest
Step back and take a moment to think about you. What do you really enjoy? Is it running? Is it knitting? Your day to day activities might have changed but the things that make you- you haven’t.
To find hobby groups with others that share your interest, look to social media or ask at local events. Don’t forget to check the old-fashioned notices on community boards, the local paper and when in the waiting room at the doctors – they are a great source of information.
If you are struggling with finding childcare, it’s worth checking with others who maybe in the same situation to share these duties and free up an hour.
Finding others that share your situation
Remember that first day at school? Well welcome back. Walking solo into your fist play group, baby event or children’s centre is equally daunting.
Every under-fives group is unique so look for ones where you can find others that are facing the same changes – when you have a lively four year old and a babe in arms you might be attracted to groups that wear the eldest out.
What’s important is persistence in attempting to strike up conversation and make new friends and the confidence to walk away if the group just isn’t for you.
Know your strengths
It’s not uncommon for parents to have had their confidence knocked in the job market, in their relationships, in their physical wellbeing. Finding the strength to pick yourself up after a knock takes work, time and it isn’t easy. But it can get easier. Maybe write down the great things about yourself and what makes you a great friend.
Having the confidence to make new friends and inner strength to try starts with recognising your value. You have an amazing amount to offer – it just may have slipped your mind.
Making friends - Dive in and say something
The hardest thing some people face is making conversation with strangers. In the corporate world people pay thousands of pounds for courses to learn how to network. Start a conversation by sharing common ground. The one thing all parents share is they love it if you compliment their child – it’s conversation starter gold dust.
So, next time you are next to another parent and don’t know how to start a conversation just try it out. It might lead you to the friend you have been looking for.
Article by Annie Drewry founder of the Big Red Bus Club, Greenwich London – a group for under-fives and their families funded through The Health Lottery.
With money raised through The Health Lottery, People’s Health Trust has awarded £52 million to projects which identify as addressing social isolation amongst other things.
* The findings are based on a survey by COMRES of over 2,000 adults
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