To think that parents with family and friends enjoy parenthood more?

(64 Posts)
Novillagehere Mon 08-Oct-12 02:50:22

Dh and I have one ds who is 16 months.

We both work part time and juggle most of the child care between each other (we are lucky to be able to do this but it has meant a cut in income).

Dh and i are pretty equal in sharing household chores as well. I still do more of the childcare though, as ds still wakes at night and is an early riser (dh struggles more when sleep deprived so this my domain).

I originally thought I would stay at home for a couple of years and try to have a second baby straight after the first, but I found life with a new baby unimaginably hard and lonely and was desperate to get back to work so I could have a break from it all. So when I went back (4 days a week) dh cut his work down to part time too so he could help out more, as he was working really long hours before.

We have virtually no support network where we live. No family at all. We have a few work related friends and that is it. I tried to make some baby group friends while on maternity leave and I did get to know a handful of nice women but they are so busy with work and family, it is hard to catch up with them and develop more of a friendship. That is one thing I didn't have in common with them, a busy life with family and friends nearby and grandparents to help with the baby.

We are pretty lonely and when we do get a chance to socialise we notice what a difference it makes to our lives and can't help but imagine what it must be like for others to have family and friends around when raising children.

Last week I managed to have a coffee with an old work friend, and the difference it made to all of us was amazing! How sad is that? But just getting a break away from dh and ds and work and housework made a huge difference to how I felt about everything. It also improved the way we felt about each other. It just lifted the relentlessness of it all.

We both love Ds but find the whole situation depressingly difficult. I feel guilty that he isn't surrounded by an extended family that love him as well. The guilt is also there about not giving him a brother or sister, but I found it so difficult with one baby, how would I cope with a baby and a toddler as well?

So I suspect people with family and friends around for socialising and even to help out with babysitting (dh and I have not been out without ds ever) have a very different view of parenthood. Aibu?

lisaro Mon 08-Oct-12 02:57:37

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

lisaro Mon 08-Oct-12 02:58:20

Sorry - I had no family nearby, I meant to say.

redandyellowbits Mon 08-Oct-12 03:04:32

How far do your family live? Can you go visit them occasionally?

I don't have any family near by, and whilst it would be lovely if I did, it's not the end if the world for me. Maternity leave with my eldest DD was a lonely time but I persevered with making friends and it paid off. I went to every (and I mean every baby group I couldn and made a huge effort to talk to people and invite them for coffee etc. I also arrange meet ups via netmums. It took a good year or so but I have some fantastic friends now.

As for babysitting, I pay a babysitter. Look up Childcare websites, interview a few people and find someone. We don't go out often together because of the cost of this bit it is an option. Otherwise take it in turns to go out, even if its to a fitness class or local book club.

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Mon 08-Oct-12 03:05:33

lisaro, maybe the OP feels differently to how you felt there is no need to be aggressive.

OP I think it's actually easier in terms of making friends when you have 2 DC, because you have two pools of people (the baby group mums and the pre-school/school mums) in which to find friends. Maybe try some different groups/classes or join a babysitting circle or something to meet new people.

redandyellowbits Mon 08-Oct-12 03:06:56

Ps. It is a difficult time with just one. Fwiw, I enjoyed having two much more. I was busier, and love watching them play and grow up together. The eldest two are 5 and 3 and I still love seeing how close they are. Two is doable even without family and friends to support you.

Softlysoftly Mon 08-Oct-12 03:12:14

I personally think you are right, I have DHs family here and some "mummy" friends and they are invaluable.

With DS1 I had/used less of the support system in the early days and found it much harder. It's good for my toddler to have friends around and for me to get that break/see her interact. I am miles away from my family and her many cousins and I miss that. But then I am used to a large extended family.

And yes although baby + toddler is flipping hard for us (not for everyone but we got a high needs baby) I think the first year of work will pay huge recompense when they can play together. I want number 3 so they can have lots of siblings like I did, DH not so keen.

I realise though a lot of people don't/won't agree as they prefer smaller family/friend units. It's each to their own. You sound like you need something though, could you do more groups/classes? Or join him to a hobby which is constant and increases your circle like horse riding or a team sport?

Softlysoftly Mon 08-Oct-12 03:17:48

Just read his age sorry, maybe hold off on the riding grin

It's absolutely the time as pp said to do every group and invite people you seem to get on with to yours to play. You would be surprised that there are a lot of other mums out there desperate to have their lo distracted too!

I started off talking to a few mums at a church play group my HV recommended, after a few weeks I suggested that a couple come to play at mine and I'd make lunch, it went from there. When they returned to work it did drop off a little but by the extended group I met others with the same days off as me and now we all meet up. Persevere.

Novillagehere Mon 08-Oct-12 03:17:51

The closest family lives more than 2000km away, so no there isnt really any possibilties for many visits.

I guess what I am saying is that we never considered that parenthood would make us become more isolated and lonely.

We liked living here before we were parents, we both have rewarding jobs so we were fulfilled by that I guess. Also we were very busy spending time together, going to the cinema, out for dinner, travelling etc, things that we still do now but not so easily with a little one.

Becoming parents has just opened up this hole in our lives that we didnt really notice before.

We hope to relocate a bit closer to some family members in the future but this is quite a long term plan and isnt easily done.

We are not comfortable leaving DS with a (stranger) babysitter at the moment, nursery is one thing, but leaving him alone with just the one person is another. We have a few trust issues with regard to that (history of child abuse etc), even putting DS in nursery was a huge step for us.

flow4 Mon 08-Oct-12 03:20:17

NVH, it is hard having small children, and it can be very lonely. I was on my own with DS1 from him being 6 months to about 3:6. I had no partner and no family nearby. I didn't know many people with children. I worked part-time to keep myself sane (and because I always have) and juggled child-care. For me, what was absolutely vital was going to a toddlers group with DS and meeting other parents. I literally arranged my working week around the times that the toddlers group met, because it was so important to me. The 'play-dates' that followed were at least as important for me as they were for him! Nothing complicated - just going round to someone's house, or having them to yours, or meeting at a play-gym, and having a cup of coffee and a chat while the kids played... smile A few real friendships grew out of these meetings, but even the casual acquaintanceships were incredibly important at the time. It also meant that I came to know other parents who could recommend babysitters... smile

You are right it makes a massive difference to have a bit of friendly, adult company. So much so that I wonder whether, if you and DH do not get it, you might be (or become) a bit depressed... Then of course socialising becomes even more difficult, and a vicious circle can begin. I think you'll find that if you can build some regular social contact into your lives, you'll feel much more positive about parenthood very soon smile

MollyMurphy Mon 08-Oct-12 03:23:11

I totally agree (and don't understand why that must be bullocks?). having family around to babysit and pitch in if your sick or if you have to work and kiddos sick....that can really make a big, big difference. Not everyone gets on with their family, but if you do - thank heavens for them.

Softlysoftly Mon 08-Oct-12 03:25:22

Is he walking yet? Once they are possibilities and activities open up! Maybe you need to readjust find things you can enjoy as a family?

Toddlers are transportable and more robust than you think, travelling needn't be curtailed, dinners out should be back on the menu albeit to nandos rather than fine dine! And with a bag full of crayons and an iPhone of apps. Walking, beach visits, zoos, exploring, everything is possible. Sometimes we can restrict our mindset that things are not possible with a child but actually everything is!

TroublesomeEx Mon 08-Oct-12 03:34:23

OP I completely agree with you.

calypso2008 Mon 08-Oct-12 03:39:16

novillage I feel exactly the same as you. I live in Spain and everyone I know, without exception, has family to help out or to meet up with. We have nobody here. I is so isolating. The few friends I have made I can't see at weekends because they are... with their extended family!

I also feel so guilty about DD being an only child, but the likelihood of having another is non-existent.

Just be strong, it will get easier when your baby is bigger and you will meet more people when your child goes to school but I totally understand where you are coming from.

So, no YANBU.

novillagehere Mon 08-Oct-12 03:53:06

Yes Calyso that is what Ive found too. It seems everyone I meet are too busy to meet up, yes they are busy with their family and friends!

Going back to work 4 days a week has curtailed my chance to do many baby group activities, but I do manage one playgroup. DH also does 2 groups on his days off as well, so we will keep trying.

It is good to hear holy and softly that 2 children are easier in some ways, I will just have to figure out if I can handle another few months off from work on maternity leave again.

ripsishere Mon 08-Oct-12 04:02:06

IMO, it will change a lot once your DC starts school. I had our DD abroad and we've stayed pretty much overseas, apart from a year when she and I we're in the UK.
It is lonely sometimes, but as I said, once yours starts school, you'll meet lots of other mums. Some you'll like, others you won't.

Longdistance Mon 08-Oct-12 04:33:04

I know exactly how you feel novillagehere.
I live in Oz, and would love my family and friends around me. I went home to the uk a few weeks back, and never felt so happy and calm that there were people around to help take our dd's off my hands for a few hours whilst I or things done, went out with friends and so on.
I have no outlet here for help with the dc, and my friends in the uk, have their parents and so on, to help, and are always out.
We were invited to a posh do for next week, but we can't go as have no one to take the girls from us. So, we're complete social outcasts. Although, dh does have friends at work.
I have joined every group going, and not met anyone, even though I've been here a year. I have two as well.
I'm a sahm, and my dh works long hours, so I'm quite lonely too sad

EugenesAxe Mon 08-Oct-12 04:49:08

Yes I agree (nice to see it getting personal/aggressive at the off hmm).

Agree, find a group and try to get chummy with other Mums, so you can hook up at external venues or at each others' houses. Just having someone there to talk to and a friend for your DC to mix with is great. I have one with whom I feel we are each others mutual crutches. I wouldn't be too afraid of two although it is tough; FWIW I'm just getting to the end of year one with two DCs and it has flown in comparison to DC1.

My MIL does and would do anything for DH/DSIL and even she told me how she'd need to get out of the house sometimes and abandon them with DFIL, for her sanity. She had a cleaner and DM who'd take the children for her for half a day every week, too. The cleaner I mention from POV that she had evenings/weekends that wouldn't be taken up with that.

SomersetONeil Mon 08-Oct-12 04:54:45

Oh my goodness, your thread has really struck a chord with me. YANBU - at all.

DH and I totally feel like this and talk about it a lot. How much nicer and easier life was for us when we had friends and family close by.

We recently emigrated back to my home country after 13 years of me being away. We originally moved to a city where we knew no-one for DH's job. We lasted a year there before fleeing in desperation - to the city we'd originally planned to come to where my best friend lives. Her DD is the same age as our DS. We also have a DD, 18 months younger. Most of my other old school and uni friends are dispersed around the country and the world.

It is markedly better here. But so far, not better enough. sad The worst part is we left a lovely life in London inundated with friends - DH went to school there and has a huge circle of old friends who are - without exception - lovely. Loads of them with kids, but all kindred spirits that we had such great craic with, and who just made living life fun.

While it's so lovely to have my old, best friend, her DH and DD close by - we can't depend solely on them. Catching up with them is always a highlight - but we had no idea how important all our other friendships were until they were 'gone'. Obviously not gone-gone, but out of reach on the other side of the world. We Skype them all all the time - either us or them taking turns to be on the wine or the brew due to the time difference.

It's now got to the point where we've decided to give ourselves another 18 months (which will be nearly two years of being in this city - the amount of time they say it takes to settle into a new place) before deciding if we stay or if we go.

We had no idea we'd miss our friends this much. Totally under estimated it. No idea how much sharing life with people important to you is just good for the soul. As much as here is an amazing place for kids to grow up and have their childhood, we also have to think about our own passing of life and happiness, and there's no reason they won't be equally as happy back there. Plus, going to school in London means they could end up have a life-long circle of friends like DH does!

So yeah. You are so not being unreasonable. But I think if you're a certain type of person who's gregarious, enjoys company, like to socialise, etc, then you will definitely feel this more. People who are a bit more insular, who are home-bodies probably won't really get what you're saying.

The hardest part is that making friends as adults - actual meaningful friendships with like-minded people who you genuinely enjoy spending time with, and don't just have children the same age as - is really, really tough. It's a very slow process. It takes ages to break into people's weekend lives, so to speak. There is no quick fix.

Which is sort of what makes it hard for us - we had all of that wrapped up and handed to us on a platter in our old life. It is so tempting to just give up now and return - but before we do that, if we ever do that - we want to be able to say we gave this our very best shot and did all we could to make it work.

Sorry for the essay!

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 05:32:10

We relocated and I had no idea how hard it would be to make friends round here. Granted I have been ill and working from home. We're in a rural area, and I wasn't prepared for how unfriendly the locals are.

My parents live abroad, DP's parents live on the other side of the country, so do my other relatives. DP is not DS's dad, and DS's dad is a bell-end and we never see him anyway.

It's a beautiful place, but sometimes I want to move back to where we came from, and go through phases of really hating it here. DS is 13, but he is going through a phase where he doesn't want to stay over at anyone's house.

Even with a teenager it's difficult. We have made a couple of good friends, so we're lucky really. But, I really miss living in a place where I grew up and new loads of people and had loads of mates and an active social life.

tittytittyhanghang Mon 08-Oct-12 06:07:07

YANBU. I appluad the fact that you are coping without any family/friends because i know for a fact I would really struggle. I have family and friends and even then sometimes i struggle a little, without their help, i cant imagine. It seems common sense to me, so i dont understand why anyone would say YABU.

cairnterrier Mon 08-Oct-12 06:17:15

Are you at all religious of any faith? Could you visit your local place of worship - particularly if there's something on for children? The last 2 times that I've bbee I've ended up with invites for playmates and it's another way to meet people outside work.

xxxresixxx Mon 08-Oct-12 06:21:37

Its def hard. We have no family close by and our DS had some health problems meaning we couldn't really ask friends to baby sit. However our childminder has been invaluable in providing baby sitting services. Have you considered asking the girls at nursery (LO's key worker etc) if they would looker to earn extra babysitting? Often they are keen to earn extra cash and it would be someone your child knows and who you presumably trust?

I think its also important to get out and do fun things as a family and try and meet with other mums on your days off. When we didn't want to leave DS we invited friends round for food and wine/catch up.hope things get easier for you..

Groovee Mon 08-Oct-12 06:22:44

We have close family and friends but when I had my second child I felt so lonely. He was quite a poorly baby with eczema and various allergies. Yet with dd I loved motherhood but nothing could have prepared me for a different and challenging child.

Now both children are older I feel differently.

xxxresixxx Mon 08-Oct-12 06:27:19

Also just to say, my friends who have family nearby experience a whole other set of problems- over bearing grandparents, comments about their parenting, guilt trips about visiting/not visiting or baby sitting/not babysitting, and dealing with flakypromises of childcare. Its not all positive!

Alligatorpie Mon 08-Oct-12 06:38:30

It is much harder without family around. When dd1 was small, we were a six hour dive from my family, so saw them once every month or so, and a nine hour flight from dh's, so we saw them 2-3 times per year.
I have huge guilt that we now live overseas and are a five hour flight from dh's family and 21 hours from my family. Dd2 is not getting to know anyone, and that is really hard.
We never used baby sitters either. We just never went out.
When we go home at Xmas and in the summer, I am amazed at how I can go to the grocery store by myself, or get a haircut or just have someone take dd to the park or swimming and I get a break. I never had that and often tell my parents or inlaws how amazing it must be to have this all the time. We choose to live way from family, but I still feel sad about it. But one of the main reasons we had a second child was to give dd1 sibling. If we are going to stay overseas, we thought she needed someone to grow up with and be able to share memories with when they are older.

OP, do you think the problem is that you are trading off childcare / work. Maybe if you had your son in daycare once or twice a week and went to work, you would have more family time and be able to do something together as a family. I met a lot of friends in baby group with dd1, but also swimming classes, library drop ins, ballet.... Once you have the consistency of a class, then you can go to the park afterwards, play dates, and start making friends that way.

Good luck, I hope things get better for you.

It depends, OP: if you are a total, antisocial, rude twit, you will probably not mind having no family and friends (which is fortunate, because, you know ...).

OTOH if you're not, of course meeting someone for a coffee will give you a big lift! You're normal.

I hope things get better for you too.

CaseyShraeger Mon 08-Oct-12 06:51:37

What are you doing for childcare? We made most of our local friends through the DCs' nursery (and that didn't really kick in until the children were around 2.5 and we'd all spent enough time standing around together at various functions). Then more friends through school.

janey68 Mon 08-Oct-12 06:55:57

I see where you're coming from op, but at the same time, thousands of us have no family nearby and get by ok.

What strikes me from your post is that you and your dh are doing an admirable job but you're trying to do everything alone: you go out to work, and then box and cox your childcare between you. That means you're not going to get those social interactions you get from the nursery/ child minder drop off. When you are new parents with no family around I think the one thing you have to do for your own sanity is find some local babysitters you can rely on so that your social life doesn't grind to a halt. You could also join an evening class/ book group- anything to get you out.

It sounds like its all getting a bit isolating for you. I don't really agree that the lack of family nearby is an issue though.

In fact I would almost say the opposite: having loads of family about may make things easier on a practical level for you but it could also prevent you from making your own friends and life. When we lived in a village, there was a stark contrast between the 'natives' who had lived in the village for generations and all had extended family around, and us 'incomers' . It was the incomers who got involved in initiatives, set up a book group, baby sitting circle etc and were generally proactive

I'm sure if you take on board some of the good advice here you'll feel less alone

Grumpla Mon 08-Oct-12 06:59:37

I agree completely OP.

We were the first out of our friendship group to have kids and it was a huge shock to me how many of my "friends" just melted away into the ether once I was no longer available to come to the pub three or four nights a week! I was very, very lonely.

It took a long time but I did make one very good friend in my NCT class. We then moved and I have been slowly building up a network of acquaintances here too. But by far the biggest difference with DS2 has been that my PILS have now moved much closer to us.

Having someone round the corner has made everything so much easier. Returning to work - I have someone who could be there to pick up a sick child in ten minutes. If my husband is away (travels a lot) my lovely MIL will often pop over for an hour or two to give me a hand getting them both fed bathed and into bed. If we have no plans for the weekend we can arrange to meet up at the last minute. I would honestly say that having that level of support on hand has really transformed the whole experience of having a baby. First time round I really struggled. This time round I am also coping with some other quite serious family issues and yet it still seems so much easier to ask for help!

However it has also made me realise that I was not very good at asking for help at all the first time round. My old friends from home - many of them, I now realise, would happily have jumped in the car and come to see me if I'd let slip to them how miserable I was! Similarly I wish I had been more open with my own family about how much I needed them. Once I had DS2 I felt more as though I was asking for help for DS1 IYSWIM and I was so touched by how many of my friends and family were happy to help me and would travel a long way to do so! But none of them were mind readers! I had to stop putting on six a front first smile

janey68 Mon 08-Oct-12 07:00:08

Ps- I have just re read and realised you and your dh have never got a babysitter and been out together since your ds was born 16 months ago!!

I too would have been climbing the walls in isolation and boredom if I'd done that! Get to know a reliable local older teenager who would welcome some extra income. Get out with your dh. I would also seriously consider other childcare at least some of the time... My childrens childminder has become a firm family friend and I've also got to know other parents through her other mindees

NapaCab Mon 08-Oct-12 07:10:03

We live abroad and have no family support and it is more tiring. You just never get that break to get refreshed. My in-laws are visiting at the moment and I have to say that it is so much easier to have another two people around who love DS as much as we do, who can play with him and teach him things that we wouldn't think of. It's lovely to see and it does make me feel guilty that DS doesn't have that interaction more regularly.

On the other hand, friends who do have family nearby seem to still struggle with parenting so family support isn't everything.

If we did live back home and had family nearby, the help would be there but it would probably come with strings attached. Friends who do have family nearby often complain that mothers / MILs are interfering or have a negative influence at times.

It is tough though - I am really burnt out now after 1 year of being DS's nearly sole carer as DH works long hours and travels a lot. I have stopped bothering with play groups recently because I'm fed up with competitive mothers and their milestone obsessions(!) but I am going to try and make an effort again soon as it does make life easier when you get out and talk to adults.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 08-Oct-12 07:14:33

OP, you ANBU!

When we only had one child we moved somewhere we knew no one to be closer to family. but, although they were able to help a huge amount with regular, weekday childcare, they weren't close enough to provide a social life. We found it really lonely and isolating (it's really really hard to make friends when you aren't there for 4-5 days in the day time during the week and that's when all the child focused stuff happens). In fact, it had such a negative impact on our relationship it was theonly time in 12 years that we considered counselling etc to help us through it.

We moved and now have great friends in our road. BUT we only got to know them when our children became classmates in the same school. You might not like all of the school gate mums, but it seems so much easier to make friends with them than toddler mums. And as children get older and start doing regular, organised things, eg rugby, football, cricket, there are always opportunities for parents to help out and make acquaintances, if not friends, that way.

I know what you mean, too, about guilt about not providing a sibling, and completely agree with the poster up thread who said that two can be easier than one - that's definitely the case here.

hope things get better for you soon

Ragwort Mon 08-Oct-12 07:25:58

I really agree with what janey68 (I wonder if we used to live in the same village grin) - DH and I moved just before our DS was born and we knew no one - we just had to make the effort to make friends, join clubs, go to Church, volunteer - yes, it does take time but you have to make an effort in life. I've now moved three more times, always to completely new places so I am quite assertive used to getting involved in new communities, in fact my neighbour (who has lived here all her life) recently told me I knew more people than she did grin. 'Local' people don't always make the effort to find out what is going on.

3duracellbunnies Mon 08-Oct-12 07:28:57

Life would be easier with a supportive nearby family, ours live over 2hrs away and are elderly and not able to babysit. We have left them with my parents, but only when the dc are asleep.

Having said that we have made lots of friends through toddler groups etc, we had no friends here before as always off commuting. We often swop babysitting with our friends, so it is free and the children know the person, and the person has children of the same age. We would love to go away for the night together, but that doesn't seem likely yet, but we live in hope!

It is hard work making friends, but it does really make life easier. Agree too that although a second baby can be hard work, the major transition is the one you have already had from 1 to 2, and now mine are older (7,5 and 3), they will play together both at home and on holiday and give us a bit of a break.

redwhiteandblueeyedsusan Mon 08-Oct-12 07:45:17

sorry you are feeling so grim, but it is more about personality than circumstances.

it takes time to adjust to the different situation

catgirl1976 Mon 08-Oct-12 07:56:22

I am very lucky to have excellent support with my family, although I don't have any "mummy" friends.

I don't know how I would cope without my family so YANBU. I hope the situation gets better for you and you find a support network

SOme good ideas on here on how to start building one

frenchfancy Mon 08-Oct-12 08:21:28

YANBU. It is much much harder if friends and family aren't around.

We probably get out without the kids about once a year (if that). It is getting easier as the DCs get older.

I am no longer lonely, but have taken a long time to build up a new support network. Like you say when others have their family neaby it is difficult for them to find time for you.

My advice would be for you to get a hobby, don't wait for DS to be old enough to get his own. Find an exercise class, join a music group do something for you.

I started riding (never done it before in my life) 3 years ago. I go to a class at 9am on Sunday morning while DH stays with the kids. It is time out for me, and gradually the group have become friends. We get invited to birthdays and have picnics together. It has made the world of difference.

Valdeeves Mon 08-Oct-12 08:29:54

Where do you live? I totally understand and could have written having just relocated x

I think it is much easier if you have family and friends around. DH's parents have just moved to the same town, and what an amazing difference it's made. For the children just being able to see granny and grandad after school for 10 minutes is great.

I think it does get better once they are at school because they really start to get their own friends, and your social network builds up then as well.

Sorry you're felling down about it. I'd agree with the others that it's easier with more than one child as well as you are so busy!

CailinDana Mon 08-Oct-12 08:52:06

I've moved around a lot, the last time being when DS was about 9 months old (he's now 21 months). When you move, making friends and building a social life takes effort - effort that a lot of people don't seem willing to put in. For the first 6 months or so it's very tough going, putting yourself out there, chatting constantly to new people, meeting a few duds and being let down a few times. But the fact is, in any place in the world there will be people you genuinely like. You just have to find them and that takes time, and a fair bit of looking. You absolutely have to put yourself out there.

Having lived here a year I now have a group of about 5 good friends who I could call on in an emergency. I'm not super close to all of them - two of them are becoming close friends (this takes time) and the others will stay good friends I think. I made these friends by going to toddler groups, meetups, work dos with DH (one of my close friends is the husband of his work colleague who is a SAHD), and talking to people. I am now on the committee of the fantastic local toddler group, which I was incredibly lucky to find, it's a lifeline, and my main job is as "meeter and greeter" - to get new people talking. Boy is it a hard bloody job. I assume the vast majority of parents go to toddler groups to meet people but you wouldn't know it by the demeanour of a good few of them. I am friendly and nice (this is why I've been chosen to meet and greet) but getting some people to talk and participate is like drawing blood from a stone. I do get there eventually - I'm persistent! - but I don't see how people think they're going to make any friends if they don't make an ounce of effort. I know people are shy but at some point you have to try to overcome that, especially when others are doing their best to help you, and just start talking.

CailinDana Mon 08-Oct-12 08:54:16

To add, I don't find life with DS a chore at all, in fact it's very social and busy. I go to toddler group twice a week, meet with my SAHD friend once a week, take a trip into the village for coffee with other mums once a week and spend the other day doing all the work I was supposed to be doing when I was gadding about smile DH and I don't get much opportunity to go out together, which is a shame, but we make an effort to socialise at home by having nice dinners together and downloading films to watch together.

YANBU but it depends on the type of family. We used to live near my family who were unhelpful,uninterested and critical. I only have one sister and few other relatives so a small family. We then moved across the country to be near DHs family, dh has 5 brothers and sisters and they all have children plus many aunts,uncles etc etc. Its fab, so many people around big get togethers and help when we need it.

Startailoforangeandgold Mon 08-Oct-12 09:01:52

My NCT friends were lovely to meet during the day and share experiences with.
However, I have no near by family or friends to easily baby sit.

I'm envy of those people who have family or Mummy friends at the same school who can do tea or evenings.

The freedom a friend gets from having mum round the corner from school is do helpful.

She doesn't have to be back at 3pm, she doesn't have to drag siblings to after school clubs, she and her DH have even had the odd meal out and night away.

Boomerwang Mon 08-Oct-12 09:06:55

I agree with you, OP. My partner and I live in the middle of nowhere and he works all week. Sometimes I feel I am going insane with nobody to talk to, just to pass the time of day. I recently visited my family in another country and it was fantastic to see them, much more so that they helped out with my baby.


However, I think you need to think about what childcare you could use in order for you and DH to have some time together, that you trust and feel comfortable with.

Do any of the staff at the nursery offer babysitting? I understand that you have anxieties about leaving DS, but that quality time as a couple is what is missing here and makes such a difference to your relationship.

UsingAPsuedonym Mon 08-Oct-12 09:27:08

Not read whole thread yet but yes I agree. My husband works away so I can't go out. I am so envious of all those around me who can nip to shops while dc are with granny or who plan afternoons with a group of friends. I would love a warm extended family and good friends. I would love to adopt a granny for my dc!

Mintyy Mon 08-Oct-12 09:31:51

Yadnbu. Going out to tea group with my NCT crowd was the highlight of my week for a couple of years. I would shower with my "best" shower gel on those days and put makeup on, like it was a special occasion! I am so grateful to have lived in a busy place with lots of people around me and lots of things to do, but it was tough never having a break from the children.

Hateful reply from Lisaro!

You haven't adjusted, that's all.

You're looking at all the things you can't do any more, instead of all the new opportunities.

You also sound like you could be suffering with a bit of depression, as depression is often linked to feeling disempowered, but you're not. You really aren't.

avivabeaver Mon 08-Oct-12 09:40:41

op- why don't you ask some of the staff at nursery if they do babysitting? most do- especially the younger ones who are glad of the extra money.

KellyElly Mon 08-Oct-12 10:19:16

I don't have a partner any more of family close to me. I do have a good circle of friends but everyone has their own little ones so not much babysitting help from them unfortunately and we tend to meet up in the day at the weekend, never the evenings because of the kids. I've been out once in 2012 smile At least you have your DH to keep you company x

ditzydrawers Mon 08-Oct-12 10:27:02

Totally agree OP. My family lives five hours away and DH's are scattered all over and we don't see them much. I have felt really isolated despite making nice mummy friends. Whenever my parents visit everything seems so much simpler. As soon as they leave I find my confidence dips again. It is tough. But lots are in this sitch so at least people understand. None of my mum friends have family nearby.

Treaclesmart Mon 08-Oct-12 10:45:03

I definitely agree OP. My family are only 2 hours away but I still missed them a lot when our kids were little. My sister lives in the same town as my parents and has it so much easier. I could probably count on 2 hands the number of nights out me and my husband have had together since our children arrived (8 years ago!!!).
I definitely think two is easier than one. And also that it opens up more opportunities. I didn't have that desperation about making mummy friends when my second came along so it happened more naturally. Also I think it is a big shock to the system having your first and you still miss your old lifestyle. It's different with another one as you're ina different groove by then..
I would also say ask for help. Get your work friends involved in the babysitting. They will want to. Most people love a) helping and b) gorgeous babies! Don't block them out. I did. There was a lady who lived near us who is lovely and her husband worked long hours at the time, her kids had just gone to uni and she was always offering to help. I used to think it would be taking advantage of her. Only now do I see that it would have been a benefit to her as well as us. Don't be proud. Think of the village raising a child saying...

catwomanlikesmeatballs Mon 08-Oct-12 11:03:18

I agree with you, I don't know how I would have coped without all the help and babysitting we get from family. There are times you just need a break to yourself, couple time or adult time with others.

CassandraApprentice Mon 08-Oct-12 11:06:25


We moved to new area with first but by time the wave of excitement at being a mum was waning I’d managed to surround myself with new supportive friends. It was one of the happiest times of my life.

Then we had to move. I’ve put years of effort into going out and trying to meet people and I know a lot of people to have quick chats to but not to offer support or to socialise outside of children’s stuff.

It's been a lot harder. When stuff happens and there is little or no support you get through but it takes longer to get over.

I still love the DC and enjoy them but I know if we’d stopped in first location it would have just been much more fun generally and bit easier.

All I can sugest is that you keep trying to meet people and keep the effort up and it will get easier as the DC get older.

Emsmaman Mon 08-Oct-12 11:48:43

OP YANBU. Our DD is 18mo, nearest family is in Europe. I understood the need to get paid help such as babysitters with no family nearby but my DH would not let other people look after her. I had my first night out on my own when DD was 16 mo, we have had 2 date nights since she was born. I recently had my first night away from DD for a work trip.

I enjoy my DD so much more now that we get time apart when I go to work 3 days a week. I would have felt far more "balanced" in the first year, even to have someone around to make me a cup of tea or hold the baby for five mins. I am scared of having a second DC as I don't want to go back to that all intensive state of newborn-ness with noone to help when DH is at work for long days.

kerala Mon 08-Oct-12 14:14:00

YANBU at all bless you. We moved to a new area when DD was 2 and I was pregnant. I didnt know anyone really the first few weeks here were awful - sitting in the park on my own (well with DD but 2 year olds not great company for the entire day). I went to parent and toddler group with the sole intention of making friends would spot women I thought looked my type with similar age kids and basically chat them up. Its abit like looking for a boyfriend in your twenties - chat to 4 maybe one will click. It takes a while - we moved here in 2008 now have a great gang of approx 7 local families with parents we genuinely like and DC who play brilliantly with our 2 we socialise after school and at weekends. I dont think people were designed to stay in little units with young children you need peer support. You do need to make it happen though and be robust enough for the knock backs but its worth it. Good luck x

lynniep Mon 08-Oct-12 14:31:52

I think life is always going to be easier with a support network, and that yes, that will affect parenthood as well. However as others say, I think having family around would bring in a whole other set of issues.

We moved to our current location when I was 5 months pregnant, knowing no-one, with family in the country but 3-4 hours away by car. Six years on, I have a large network of friends whom I've met in various situations (weightwatchers, swimming, just chatting in the park, nursery, work) as well as long-term friends who I don't see very often as they are too far away, but are always at the end of a phone. Ok thats a lie. I never phone them. I communicate through facebook and email. But theres still communication! We rarely go out together, because its too expensive to hire a babysitter, but I still try and make a life for myself outside work and home - I go to exercise classes (another place to meet folk) and to the pub with friends now and again. DH not so much but then he's always been less sociable.

We enjoy parenthood - to a point - the boys are great but bl**dy hard work but wouldnt change it. I enjoy it more because of the existence of a) nursery b) school as that is my break - when I go to work. On the odd occasion we get family visits its lovely, but I'm glad when they're gone

Everyone needs a break, of course they do. Can you afford a babysitter so at least you can get out with DH? or a couple of mornings at nursery (if not the free funding will kick in when she's 3. Book a manicure or something or just go for a coffee alone - sometimes just a break from constantly monitoring a small child or chatting to an adult lifts the spirits.

autumnlights12 Mon 08-Oct-12 14:43:36

and those of you saying that she is being unreasonable, and that life isn't harder with small children and no family support network... what rubbish.

marbleslost Mon 08-Oct-12 14:54:49

YANBU I often wonder the same. It is hard in the early years if you don't have a ready made support system. But you can build one up.

It takes time, a lot of time in my case, but five years later we have a few family friends with similar age dc in the area, whom we help out if they need a hand with something, and they help us.

There are special people in my dd's life - whether they be her childminder, her swimming teacher, a particular teacher at school who took a liking to her, parents of her friends. It does develop over time.

We don't have much of a social life, except with friends we knew before we had dc who visit for the weekend now and again. But it takes effort - you have to invite them and yes the difference it makes to our well being is huge.

Ephiny Mon 08-Oct-12 15:22:38

I think generally people with some social life and support network are happier than those without, regardless of whether they're parents or not.

It can depend on your individual personality type though, and what your family is actually like - for some people family involvement can feel like interference and loss of privacy/independence, or there can be conflict and unpleasantness that makes it all more trouble than it's worth.

I'm not sure you've much to gain by envying others and complaining about how difficult everything is for you (other people will have their problems too). Surely you knew before deciding to have a child that there would not be free babysitting available to you? If you won't use a paid babysitter, that again is your choice.

Emsmaman Mon 08-Oct-12 15:34:04

Ephiny can you genuinely say you knew how hard parenting would be before you had a child? I know I didn't, and many of my friends didn't either - although babies of course do vary in personality and difficulty. No-one could have predicted that my DH would refuse to let others look after DD. No-one could have predicted that my DD would refuse the bottle and breastfeed like a maniac so that for over six months I couldn't go out for more than an hour or she would be screaming the block of flats down. No-one could have predicted that at 18mo she would still not sleep through the night, making getting out in the evening difficult, particular using babysitters, and leaving us too shattered to do so after work even if we could.

marbleslost Mon 08-Oct-12 19:43:36

I would agree emsmaman. I just thought we'd get babysitters. Little realising that mine is so difficult to settle to sleep (now age 7) that I couldn't expect anybody to do it - paid or not. Neither could I have predicted that she'd spend two years waking up raring to go at 4am from age 2. Without any help or support it is extremely difficult.

LauraPashley Mon 08-Oct-12 20:11:57

Oh yes the non-settling non- sleeping baby, I own 2 of these and even with family nearby I can't get out at night! I have got to the point where i'm not even massively precious about leaving them to cry with dh, but I couldn't ask anyone else to do it, it wouldn't be fair.
Op YADNBU but it might not be as easy as just "get a babysitter". I would second all the advice re trying to make friends- the closest we've had to a night out has been where we get together with another family with kids, adults BBQ/get a takeaway or whatever, kids play till they collapse! You're talking approx 4-8pm but at least there is a modicum of alcohol and adult chat involved!

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