Social connections and a strong support system are key to your happiness and success as a mum.
Amongst other things, it will save you from suffering needlessly from fatigue, stress-induced depression, and undue crankiness.
Looking for ways to build a strong support system as a mum? Here are 5 ways to go about it.
1. Know When To Be Independent And When To Seek Help
Whether out of necessity or preference, a few months into motherhood, you’ll probably be used to doing things yourself.
But strong mums are so-called because they know that there are times when they need to do it alone, and when they need to surround yourself with others just to get through the day.
It’s a simple case of being willing to help yourself.
Tap into your network.
You may be tempted to conclude there’s no one around to provide support and encouragement when you need it. But not so fast.
Take a good look around you, from co-workers to neighbours and old friends, there are networks of support there for you to tap into.
Take it from me, there is no glory in any pointless, solitary struggle.
In fact, you owe it to yourself and your children. Start with your neighbours.
Whether you particularly like them or not, neighbours can be your last-minute saviours.
They could be single, newlyweds, already parents, or grandparents, most of them won’t mind giving you a hand, by helping to grab the kids from the school bus if you are running late, or keep the kids for a bit if you need to quickly leave the house.
But if it still doesn’t work for you, it simply might be time for you to get a house help or a full-time nanny.
2. Live Around
Aim to set up your life in such a way that it is easy for you to navigate, and live more easily.
As much as you can, try to live around relatives, the daycare, your office, etc. They provide a great support system.
If you decided to go live as far as possible from your parents during your wild teenage years, (we all did) it’s now time to move back.
Living in Nigeria with extended family around is a luxury you should learn to make use of and appreciate. Many Nigerian mums abroad do not enjoy this luxury.
Older relatives usually have shorter or flexible work schedules and often love your kids, which allows them to babysit at different hours of the day and help out with other errands.
If you manage to live close to your parents, siblings, or aunt, you can exploit these benefits.
Also, the daycare next to your house has a high chance of being the next best thing.
Especially if you’re a mum that works long hours and need more babysitting time than a nanny alone can give.
You may also find our article on; How To Make Your Nanny More Productive helpful
You can start by dropping your kid(s) at daycare in the morning and having the nanny pick them up later until you are back home.
If the daycare is a walking distance from your house, a relative, neighbour.
Or nanny can pick your baby and walk to your house without the extra drive and need for a car seat.
3. Engage In Activities To Meet Other Families And Other Mums
Mums who face the same struggles as you are the most qualified to understand your needs, share ideas, and be a strong support system.
And in such a setting, it’s easy to ask for help, knowing you will undoubtedly give it back.
So, go to a nearby playground or start small discussions with other mums who are dropping their kids at daycare.
You never know- you may end up giving your kids playmates whilst also finding time for the mums to get other things done, or just chit-chat to destress.
Parks, playgrounds, and recreation gardens (if you live in Abuja or Lagos) are great places where you can meet and talk with other mums like you.
If you find a mum you really hit it off with, you can suggest meeting up again at the same time and place next week.
Doing so is less intimidating than inviting another mum to your home, which can sometimes feel like a commitment for a “long-term relationship.”
But you can never really tell. Weekly meetings at the park may just lead to a life-long friendship.
4. Use Technology To Boost Support System
Motherhood is the time of your life where you do not have a minute to waste.
You need to quickly grab some things from the grocery store, slot in a few minutes of exercise, buy a dress for that urgent work dinner, a gift for a friend’s birthday, cook, clean, do homework, and spend quality family time with your kids and spouse, all alongside running your business.
Have you read: Top Nanny Agencies In Nigeria
Most times, you won’t even have time to step out of the house for any of this, so go online.
Download educational apps, visit e-commerce sites where you can shop, and have them deliver them to your doorsteps. Join our online parenting communities FABMUMNG to meet new mum friends and for that e-support system, you need.
Find apps that make your life easier and more fun, and get them. Technology was invented to make your life easier in so many ways. Take advantage of it.
5. Build A Supportive Team
As blissful, fun, and fulfilling as it may be, the reality is that being a mother is tough, and you are going to need all the support you can possibly get.
The fact that you have been described as a strong independent black woman means little or nothing when you become a mum. This is cause everybody knows emergencies can happen anytime-your kids can fall sick unexpectedly and your nanny can decide to resign when you need her the most.
This is why you need to begin to set up a support system so strong that you will have fewer worries even if you are stuck with a sick kid at home or need to leave work early for a doctor’s appointment.
Also, don’t forget to involve your partner and have those difficult important conversations with him,
As a mother, doing the household chores and taking up parenting roles is exhausting. This is not something you should sign up for.
Do not take on all the tasks in a home. Learn to share some responsibilities with your partner.
When two parents divide the responsibilities in a home, it brings relief to them and enhances the productivity and longevity of both partners.
Here, are 5 ways you can involve your partner in parenting and household chores.
Get more resources on parenting here.