We surveyed you last week to find out how you and your little ones were coping in lockdown. A staggering 800 of you replied- thank you so much for taking the time to tell us how it is going for you.
We wanted to find out what mums’ main concerns were when it came to the longer term effects of this continuing lockdown on their children. There is no precedent for this situation and of course no one knows what effects there will be, if any. Even scientists and psychologists are scratching their heads (though offering up words of encouragement!) By sharing the results below, we hope we can reassure you that you aren’t alone in wondering, worrying and considering these points, and we hope you find some comfort in that if nothing else.
Some mums had newborns, some babies under 1 and some with several kids over 2 so this is a general set of results around the mental health of you Mush mums and your little ones.
80% of you think that lockdown will have a long-term effect on your baby/ babies. A huge 90% of you said you were worried that not being exposed to new environments would have the biggest impact on their baby. 79% of you worry that your baby is not seeing extended family. 76% said that not playing with other babies would have an impact longer term and 72% are concerned that their babies aren’t trying new things beyond their home.
Here’s an anonymised selection of your answers when asked what they think is the main effect of lockdown on their baby:
- It will make the transition to childcare harder when I return to work
- I think there are positives too with dads working from home and seeing their babies
- More fussy with perceived strangers?
- Delayed development in some way
- More intimidated by new environments
- Fear of meeting new people and not learning to take risks
- It will take longer to build a relationship with family
- Increasingly clingy as we haven’t met new people
- Less social awareness and understanding of social cues
- Anxiety about going out
- Less socially confident
- Separation anxiety off the chart!
- More tantrums
- Delayed speech/ regression in language skills
- Stranger danger
- I think my baby will be fine it is more me who is struggling…
We had a great session on behaviour today with the child psychologist Olivia Gormally. It’s well worth a listen if you would like to understand how behaviour is learnt, and hearing her opinion about how they will all catch up in time.
The next part of our questionnaire was about YOU. How has lockdown affected you? And we were dismayed but not entirely surprised by the fact that three quarters of you feel less confident as a mum because of lockdown. The reasons for this are wide ranging:
- I am second guessing their decisions
- I’m not talking to enough people and therefore don’t know my experiences are most likely normal (and not that I am just a bad mum)
- I question everything they do
- I am out of practice seeing people
- I feel burnt out and have no time to recharge
- No support from family and friends
- I have no idea what to do with my baby outside of the home
- I feel constantly under pressure to interact with my baby (because no one else can)
- Constant stream of bad news is making me feel low and unmotivated
- I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing
- Less time to look after myself which makes it harder for me to look after him
- I’m impatient and a moody cow!
- There’s no natural social checks on my mood
When asked how they were feeling we had a lot of the same words come up time and time again. Some of these were: fragile, bored, low, anxious, stressed, tired, scared, impatient, down, depressed, sad, guilty, cut-off, hopeless, overwhelmed, frustrated, trapped and the one that came up time and time again? LONELY.
When we asked what we could do to help you more, a lot of you kindly said the support on Mush has been great already, but that having some open groups to chat over video would be a really nice addition.
So on Monday 15th at 10am, we will open a room for anyone to come along and chat. Look out for this in the home feed and newsletter. The more of you there are, the more we can group you into virtual rooms around the age of your child. Let’s see if we can start the week with a bang and bust some of that loneliness…. 👊