Are you a stay-at-home-mum (or dad!) who doesn’t really like to… well, stay at home?
Like most stay-at-home-mums I love spending most of my time playing with and caring for Little M. But I’m also a very sociable person and to begin with I felt a little isolated being at home alone with him.
On top of that I was a recent expat in a new country and didn’t have much of a social network to lean on. So perhaps you are in a similar situation and wondering how you can be a sociable stay-at-home-mum?
Here are a few tips that I found helped me to be sociable, make new friends and feel more balanced as a stay-at-home-mummy.
1. Get out and about
It sounds obvious, but is sometimes hard to do – especially if you have a new baby. Try and make an effort to get out of the house once every day. Even just a short walk around the block (which is sometimes enough with a newborn baby) can be enough to give you a pick me up and stop you from feeling stale. When baby is a few months, or with a toddler, head to one of your local playgrounds as often as you can. Playgrounds are a great place to meet other parents in a relaxed atmosphere and it’s sociable for your little one too. Little M is always making new little buddies at the playground!
2. Join a mummy group
Find a local mummy group in your area. This is especially a great thing to do when you have a new baby to meet other new mummies. Later, baby and toddler groups are a fun way to meet other parents and provide some social interaction for your child too. In the UK find a local group through netmums – a great online resource for mummies. In the US, try the mommies network, or search for a group on meetup. If you live elsewhere, a google search will always give you a good starting point.
3. Sign up to a baby or toddler class
Find a baby or toddler class in your area. A quick google search, or a look on yelp will give you lots of options to consider. You could also ask for ideas at your mummy group. I found an amazing music class in our area, which I started taking Little M to at just 3 months. Classes are a great way to be sociable – for you and your child. They also provide new stimulation for your little one in a different environment.
4. Make new mummy friends
If lots of your friends are already mummies then you are already a step ahead. But if not then making new mummy friends can feel a bit daunting. It doesn’t need to be though. Making new mummy friends is a bit like dating – you just have to be brave and make a move! It’s always scary putting yourself out there, but a little bit of risk can really pay off – and afterwards you’ll wonder what you worried about! If you meet another mummy that you really get on with then go ahead and ask them if they would like to meet up some time. If you are a bit nervous, then you can use the excuse of meeting up for a ‘playdate’.
I got on really well with another mum at a class I took Little M to and eventually plucked up the courage to arrange meeting up outside of the class. Now she’s a good friend and we meet up regularly with our little ones. Try to make a specific arrangement, rather than just a vague, “oh we should meet up sometime.” That way you will keep to the arrangement. Alternatively, ask for their contact details, so you can arrange a get together (which sometimes feels more natural) – then contact them via text or email, to arrange something.
5. Be sociable on your own too
To stay balanced as a stay-at-home-mum it’s important to have some social time on your own too. This can help you feel like your ‘old self’ again, especially if you worked full time before having your baby. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the time or help to do this, but it doesn’t take much. Even just having a partner watch your baby once in a while so you can meet up with friends or do something sociable, can make a real difference.
Since we live abroad and don’t have any family help, this is difficult for us too. However, if nothing else I always make the effort to go to a Book Club once a month, while The Hubster looks after Little M. It is lovely to have a date every month to look forward to where I can laugh, eat and gossip with the girls. I also have a part-time job on a Saturday, while The Hubster and Little M have a boys day. It’s a sociable, fun job and it’s nice to have another role in my life outside of being a mummy and wife (much as I love those roles!)
You might also consider starting a blog of your own – it’s a great way for stay-at-home-parents to develop a creative outlet and meet other parents through the online world. Here’s a great post on how blogging can change our lives that you might like to read.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mum by choice, or just because it doesn’t make financial sense for you to go back to work, I hope that these tips have shown you some ways that you can also be a sociable stay-at-home-mum. Or perhaps I should say a sociable-at-home-mum?!
Are you a stay-at-home-mum? How do you stay sociable and balanced in your life?