We all need to feel part of a community, to feel connected with other humans. Although this may seem to be stating the obvious, unfortunately society today, and the way many of us live, means we rush from task to task and don’t prioritise quality time with others as much as we need.
As more families are made up of two working parents, or single parent families, there is less time and energy to stop and integrate with others, to share life together. We spend less time outdoors interacting with our neighbours. We walk to the shops less. Mums aren’t out and about walking in the neighbourhood with their baby in the pram much anymore. Years ago, I lived in Scotland for 3 years. My third child was born there. The tradition then was that when the baby was home from hospital, you were expected to walk the neighbourhood with your new bundle of joy tucked warmly in the pram so all the neighbours could meet the “wee bairn”. Tradition was they would slip one or two gold coins into the pram as a gift and for good luck, so it was definitely worth the walk!
Gone are the days when all the mothers in the street meet up for morning tea with their young ones and support each other through the ups and downs of motherhood. My own mother tells me that when I was a baby, the mums in the neighbourhood used to regularly meet together. They would have a routine of preparing or cooking their evening meal during the morning, and then meet up and enjoy socialising each other over a morning cuppa. This was a valuable time, when struggling mums could voice their challenges and get guidance, support or help from the other mums. They would share what works and what doesn’t work. They would share the joys too; connectedness.
Heavy reliance on social media as the main form of connecting with others has limitations. Face-to-face interactions provide so much more. Body language, tone of voice and facial expression can show a lot about how a mum is really feeling. It’s important to factor in face-to-face time with others.
Today, things are different, but it is still important that mums (and dads) seek out a way to connect with others, especially others at the same stage of life. It enhances mood and self-esteem and can benefit our overall health. Social isolation, loneliness, a relationship break up, or self- doubt can predispose us to depression and anxiety. Emotional support is vital. Seeking supportive and stable relationships is a key. Spend time with positive people. Join a community or interest group. Join a mothers group or start one.
Connectedness and support can be found through health care professionals, support groups, or common interest groups. There is often a variety to choose from, so choose one that fills your needs best. Try a few to find what suits.
So set yourself the goal to get better connected. Think of a couple of ways to get you started. Write them down. Revisit it in a week or two and see how you are going. You will enjoy the benefits!
Warmly in wellness,