Setting up a support network. Not everybody has a support network to hand. The majority of people, by the time they are beginning a programme, do not have many friends around them. Play dates have become too hard, meeting other mums for a coffee a distant memory and going out either with or without children something in the distant future. I have met mums and dads who can go their whole week without having any adult contact and some without leaving their house at all. Our relationship with our spouse is often the first thing to be sacrificed as evenings are spent researching or clearing up after the day and weekends seeming chaos.
Many of our families don’t have the luxury of having family members close by who are actually able to help. By actually being able to help, I mean somebody to come and spend an hour or so at your house so as you can attend a support group/go for a coffee. If your child is asleep when they are at your home, have them tidy up (they will like to help – honestly!). Sometimes we need to establish a whole new support and social network, and that is fine.
Firstly, make a list of the type of people you would want in your life. It is important that you surround yourself with people who will shape you and influence you in a positive way.
Secondly, start slow – choose one adult only activity and one child activity to layer into your life on a weekly basis. Attending the same group regularly will be very important.
Thirdly, do your research – if you do not have a babysitter for an adult only activity, you will need to find somewhere which is at a time that does not conflict with bed times and has a crèche. Ring around a few places and tell them your requirements. Have three or four points and be very open about your child’s needs. We have made some fantastic links with local church toddler groups so do feel free to drop us a line for further info. Having an hour or so away from your child will not harm him or her and will ultimately be of huge benefit for you both, although of course we do realise it is hard in the beginning.
Fourthly, try three different adult only activities and child and adult activities over the course of three weeks and then make a decision as to which is best suited to you.
Five, stick at it. Over time, you will make friends at these groups. It may take a long time, but it will work.
Sixthly, we strongly recommend some professional help such as we are able provide for you. Once a month having a face to face or a skype chat over a coffee to help you to set and stick with goals to set up your personalised support network plan will prove successful.