It Takes a Village…
If you hadn’t already noticed, blogging doesn’t come too easily to me. I’m no good at talking about myself or my work and not great at talking about others either. But apparently, all my blogging inspiration comes to me when I shouldn’t be doing any work at all!
Tonight, I decided to have ‘me time’ as Stu is on the late shift. I ran a bath (with the kids bubblebath- because this is a very very very rare occurrence and I had none of my own!) with the aim of completely shutting off to the world- I left social media downstairs, I didn’t even want to read a book- something that I have been desperate to do! I just lay there in the bath listening to all the bubbles pop, attempting to relax.
And I realised just how exhausted I felt! Emily has been waking up at the crack of dawn, is absolutely shattered before she’s even got out of bed and doesn’t quite know what to do with herself before or after school because she is finding it very tiring! Edward is a typical 2 year old boy who is into everything, climbing on everything and trying to throw/push/eat/hide everything! Standard- but it’s pretty hard going, right?! And that’s all part of being a stay at home/ work from home/ working mummy or daddy and I accept that (though slightly less at 6am when I have been woken up to go and fetch a forky cuddly toy from downstairs that is absolutely, desperately 100% needed upstairs immediately!!).
But, in that moment, it hit me just how much I miss having family down the road who I can call to come round, just simply because its been a hard day! Everyone has heard the saying: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and I completely understand why that became a saying in the first place. Don’t get me wrong- I have a wonderful, supportive husband and we have a village- an incredibly supportive, helpful, would drop everything to be here village. Just none of them are local to us. My parents have been amazing- when both our children were born my parents were here all the time to help with anything they could. My mum came down every week and then every other for 3 years to help with childcare while I was still teaching- and although I definitely don’t tell her enough- she’s been amazing! And we see them a lot, considering.
But sometimes, when the day has been particularly chaotic/ busy/ stressful and Stu is in work, I’d love to call them up and get them round for a cup of tea, for a chat or even go really crazy and have a shower without Edward trying to smash the glass screen with a toy tractor!
I wanted to write this down, not only because I had a million things in my head that I wanted to dump, but also because I realised there are probably hundreds of new mummies and daddies out there, or mummies and daddies of toddlers/ pre-schoolers/ school children who may be feeling a little lonely because their village isn’t as near as they may like.
I can’t offer huge amounts of amazing advice, but I can offer a pat on the back, a well done, because it’s not easy bringing up a tiny human! And let you know what I did and how I’ve made things a little easier. I’ve listed the 5 things that made it so much easier not being near my family. It’s not rocket science but sometimes you need a little push to do something, the world becomes a lot more hectic once your little person enters it!
- Baby groups.
I am lucky to have made some amazing friends at these groups. There are so many out there to choose from and I’ve only had good experiences with them. Yes, its pretty daunting walking in for the first time but its nice just to have a chat with another adult sometimes, and do something a little different to the usual routine. Personally I can vouch for baby sensory (both of mine loved it! Shrewsbury and Telford classes are brilliant!), puddleducks swimming (which I would have continued but taking 2 children to 2 different swimming classes on your own is rather hard!), ready, steady, lets get messy (SO much fun!) and bumps and babies NCT Shrewsbury (lovely little group for mummies to be all the way through to mummies of toddlers!).
There are plenty of free meet ups too! NCT groups ask for a small donation and there are stay and play centres all around.
I will shortly be releasing a blog with baby groups in Shrewsbury and surrounding areas so check back here soon if you are looking for some.
- Mummy apps.
I’ll be honest, I’ve had mixed experiences of these! But the good ones were worth going to! Mush and mummy social are apps that I have used personally. They allow you to chat to other mummies in your area as well as arrange and attend organised meet ups in the area. They are free to use, and now also have lots of good info and advise in the way of blogs and newsletters etc.
- Get out!
The first few months with a new baby are crazy hard! Honestly, I spent most of the first 3 months with Emily sat on the sofa with her asleep on my chest watching Netflix. But there was only so much of that I could do before I felt a little stir crazy! I would try and get out everyday, even if it was just a walk around the village, feeding the ducks, popping the shops of going to a coffee shop. I always felt so much better after making myself get out of the house.
It can be hard not having family just down the road but I find having photos around really helps. Emily and Edward also love to stand and look at the photo wall in the hallway and point everyone out.
- Pick up the phone
I talk to my mum on the phone all the time. Sometimes just because I need adult conversation, sometimes to have a rant, sometimes just to chat. It certainly makes the distance easier. If you’re having a crazy day- you’re little one is on their 3rd outfit, they’re overtired and refused to go to sleep for hours- pick up the phone! I’ve been there, it definitely helps!
Vicki is a newborn, baby and family photographer based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Find out more about a photography session here.