The Impact of a Healthy Social Life on Motherhood

In my last blog I discussed how easy it can be to feel isolated and lost as a busy mom, and today I will build on this topic with the importance of maintaining a healthy social life as a mom and how to achieve that. Motherhood can be so all-consuming that we’re not even sure what is happening around us due to all of the countless responsibilities. As a mom, it’s easy to become so overwhelmed with nurturing and caring for your children that you may inadvertently neglect your own social well-being. However, maintaining a healthy social life in motherhood is not only beneficial for your own mental and emotional well-being, but it also plays a crucial role in unlocking your vitality, overall happiness, and ability to be the best mom you can be. You can start by contacting me for more information or visiting my website at www.connectingmamas.com!

In this blog, we will explore the possible reasons some moms neglect their social lives, and the importance of a having healthy social life during motherhood. According to a study published in the journal “Social Science & Medicine” in 2017, maternal social isolation has been found to have significant implications for maternal health. The study highlighted that mothers who experience social isolation, often due to factors such as lack of social support or limited social interactions, are at an increased risk of experiencing stress, anxiety, and even postpartum depression. The findings emphasized the crucial role of social connections and support systems in promoting the well-being of mothers during the perinatal period. (Source: Falah-Hassani, K., Shiri, R., & Vigod, S. N. (2017). The prevalence of antenatal and postnatal co-morbid anxiety and depression: A meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, 251, 58-67. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.016)

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Moms, let’s take a moment to think back to when we first had that new baby in our arms, and what were the feelings that flooded you? I’m not going to assume for you that it was all happy roses and your heart expanded three-fold, because we each have our own experience.  Think about your own: as you were holding that baby for the first time, what were you feeling? For me, I was so relieved because after pitocin, an absentee anesthesiologist, and meconium, my son was rushed to the NICU, and I didn’t see him until the next morning.  I already felt lost and out of control and this was only the beginning of how my life would never be the same. 

It’s obvious that a baby is going to change everything, but what I didn’t notice was the extent to which I was neglecting my social life. I started to say, “No” for almost any reason I could find- for feeling too guilty leaving my son, being too tired, not trusting him in the care of others, or I simply felt like vegging on the couch. I was saying no to making plans that helped to foster connection and my own self-care, but I didn’t realize how over time it created a feeling of being lost and unsure of myself. 

Everyday I felt so tired, walking around almost feeling like a zombie, and when I did start to get free minutes where I could work on something of my own, I filled those moments with scrolling, TV, and even Candy Crush where I was able to get past level 5000. For me, the problem was how much more tired and irritable I felt after doing these things that was leading me to isolation. I also began to take these feelings out on loved ones around me. Truth be told, I wasn’t taking care of myself first because I thought I had to do everything for them first. It can be such a vicious cycle, so the question remains, What can be done to either prevent or reestablish what you want?    

Let’s first dive into examining the specific reasons why you may have said NO or neglected your social life. These points of reference will help you to identify why you might be feeling a bit lost or isolated. The first step is to see what pops out to you because once we identify the issue we can start to make changes. Some potential factors that could contribute to this phenomenon include:

Captured in a moment of solidarity and strength, this photo showcases a diverse group of women sitting in a circle during a support group session. Their expressions reflect a blend of empathy, understanding, and encouragement as they openly share their experiences and offer each other unwavering support. In this safe space, friendships are formed, barriers are broken, and the transformative power of shared stories shines brightly.
  • Time and Priorities: Raising children can be a demanding and time-consuming task. And we often prioritize our children’s needs and well-being first, which can leave you with less time and energy for socializing.  I also had that sinking feeling that I had to do this first which made it hard to have energy after all the things.  It is so much easier to just curl up and do nothing, but honestly, I never felt better when I did that.  Each morning I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to the day. 
  • Responsibilities and Caregiving: Can we say multitasking every moment of the day.  The responsibilities can be endless from child-rearing to household management to potentially work outside the home. These responsibilities can limit your time for social activities and especially your energy as you think it is really another load of laundry.  
  • Cultural and Societal Expectations: Societal norms and expectations can place a greater burden on mothers to fulfill certain roles and responsibilities, which might limit their ability to engage in social activities.  When you think about what you see on Facebook, TV, advertisements, others around you, what do you feel are things you feel you should do? Write a list of what you think a “good mom” should do.  When you look at that list do mark the ones that actually seem true for you and ones that feel like they came from somewhere else. 
  • Lack of Support: Motherhood can feel like you are in isolation and as you feel that way, you notice everyone around you having help with childcare, household tasks, and even emotional support.  It feels like you are the one who has to do everything and sometimes that feeling paralyzes you that you can’t do anything.  And so you don’t have anything left to give to anyone else in terms of socializing because it feels like more work. 
  • Personal Identity Shifts: Becoming a mother often brings about significant changes in a woman’s identity and priorities. This shift can lead some mothers to focus more on their family roles and responsibilities, temporarily deprioritizing their social lives.  Really each time we say No that creates a moment towards that shift.  And take a pause right now because none of this is good or bad.  You are taking a moment to identify where you are at and decide what you want to do about that.  So breathe into the possibilities because identification is the first step.  Keep going with me. 
  • Fatigue and Burnout: The constant demands of parenting, coupled with potential work commitments, can lead to fatigue and burnout. Is the thought I feel so overwhelmed circling through your mind but you can’t there are just too many things to pinpoint why.  In such situations, you might feel too exhausted or overwhelmed to have a desire for social activity.
  • Stress and Guilt: The guilt can come from many of the ideas above such as societal expectation or that feeling that you need to be the one to do it all.  You might experience stress and guilt if you perceive spending time away from your child as neglectful. This guilt can deter you from seeking social interactions.
  • Limited Resources: Financial constraints, lack of access to childcare services, and other limitations might hinder your ability to participate in social activities outside of your home.  This is when it’s time to get creative, remember you aren’t the only one feeling this way.  Children are a huge financial constraint on all of us. 
  • Personal Choices: You might consciously choose to prioritize your children and family life over your social lives, viewing this as a fulfilling and intentional decision.  However, if you are feeling like there is something missing keep in mind that women are biologically wired for connection.  When you think back to hunting and gathering, the women stayed together and talked as they gathered.  Women took clothes down to the river and worked next to each other as they talked. Today we have isolated ourselves to our individual cars driving kids around and so many of us are not talking to our neighbors.   
  • Transition Period: The early stages of motherhood simply can feel like survival mode as not much can prepare you for it and each baby is so different.  It is so demanding you need to adjust to new routines and responsibilities. And in the process this transition period can lead to a temporary neglect of social activities.  This is where we start saying “No” which can be so necessary at the moment, but the question remains if you are still reading, “Now what…”
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It’s important to recognize that every individual’s circumstances and choices are unique. Some mothers might continue to maintain active social lives despite their parenting responsibilities. Support from partners, family members, and friends, as well as efforts to find a balance between personal needs and family commitments, can all play a role in helping you maintain a fulfilling social life. If you feel like this is difficult, then try the following activities as a sure way to help enhance your social life as a mom:

  • Prioritize Self-Care: Before diving into expanding your social circle, remember that self-care is the foundation. When you take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, you’re better equipped to engage with others. Set aside time for activities that bring you joy, whether it’s reading, exercising, or simply relaxing with a cup of tea.
  • Embrace Technology: In today’s digital age, staying connected has never been easier. Utilize social media platforms, messaging apps, and video calls to stay in touch with old friends and family members. Virtual chats can be a lifeline for maintaining relationships when time is limited. You can even join a coaching and networking course through www.connectingmamas.com!
  • Explore Mom Groups: Seek out local or online mom groups where you can connect with other mothers who understand the unique challenges you face. These groups provide a safe space to share experiences, exchange advice, and maybe even plan get-togethers.
  • Schedule “Me” Time: Incorporate regular “me” time into your routine. This might involve hiring a babysitter, asking a family member for help, or syncing schedules with your partner. Use this time to engage in activities you love or to explore new hobbies.
  • Leverage Playdates: Organize playdates for your kids with their friends’ parents. This gives you a chance to socialize while supervising the children. These casual interactions can lead to meaningful connections and potential friendships.
  • Pursue Your Passions: Rediscover your passions and interests outside of motherhood. Whether it’s joining a book club, taking a cooking class, or participating in a hobby group, engaging in activities you’re passionate about can lead to new friendships.
  • Attend Family-Friendly Events: Look out for events in your community that cater to both parents and children. This way, you can enjoy social interactions while your kids have fun too.
  • Be Open to New Connections: Don’t hesitate to strike up conversations with other parents you meet at school, parks, or extracurricular activities. A simple “hello” can lead to meaningful connections.
  • Plan Ahead: As a busy mom, planning is your superpower. Schedule social activities in advance, just like you would with appointments or family commitments. This ensures that you prioritize your social life alongside other responsibilities.
  • Cultivate Patience: Building a social life takes time, especially when balancing a busy schedule. Be patient with yourself and the process. Not every connection will turn into a deep friendship, but every interaction is an opportunity to enrich your social circle.

In the midst of being a mom, building a healthy social life during motherhood might seem like a daunting task. However, with intention and creativity, it’s absolutely possible to nurture meaningful connections that add joy and balance to our lives. Remember, taking care of yourself and forging new relationships isn’t just a luxury—it’s a vital part of being the best mom you can be. Motherhood is undoubtedly a journey that demands immense dedication and selflessness. It is crucial to remember that nurturing your own social life is not a selfish act, but a vital component of being a well-rounded mother.

By maintaining a healthy social life in motherhood, sharing parenting wisdom, and seting a positive example for your children you can find the best version of yourself as a mom. Embrace the importance of a healthy social life during motherhood and watch it enrich your life and the lives of your loved ones.

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