Needless to say, new moms face a ton of challenges (maybe in the past year more than ever). First and foremost, there are newborn care and physical recovery to consider. Then there’s adjusting to more time at home, and quite possibly juggling work commitments after some time has passed. On top of all of these challenges though, a feeling of social isolation can often be one of the main difficulties for a new mom (again, even more so in the past year!).
To some extent this is just part of the equation when you have a new baby. There’s going to be a different dynamic with friends and other social contacts, at least for a little while, and you’ll be spending the bulk of your time at home with the baby and anyone else in your family. At the same time though, it’s wise to find ways to level out a little bit, and mitigate isolation in small ways where you can.
Different women come up with different solutions, but one surprising option I want to talk about here is online gaming — and in particular, poker. It’s a game people get into for all kinds of reasons, and one that actually offers a number of intriguing benefits for new moms. For anyone who may have a new child (or may be having one soon) and who’s looking for a potential outlet for socializing or entertainment, I thought I’d cover a few of those benefits.
The Chance to Take a Beat
The most straightforward benefit of a poker hobby to a new mom is that it almost demands that one take a beat. Poker requires concentration, and while that doesn’t mean your brain has to be on overdrive to play, it does mean that you can only really get into a game if you sort of turn off your attention for everything else (except your newborn in this case, of course). Taking a bit of time to simply zone in on something specific — 15 minutes, an hour, or whatever you can spare — can be downright therapeutic during this time in your life. And poker sort of makes it happen naturally.
This point relates closely to the previous one. But it is worth noting that studies of stress and gaming have indicated that if you find the right game to “settle you down,” it can have a legitimate calming influence. Now, this is in a sense a good reason to try lots of games! You never know what may work for you, whether it be Tetris on your phone or a FIFA console game. Poker stands out as an option well worth trying though, because of the aforementioned tendency it has to get you to zone in. This invites that calming influence that some people find in certain games, and it can help you to de-stress from time to time.
Taking a beat and de-stressing can mitigate the effects of isolation (and general fatigue) when you’re caring for a newborn. But poker can also provide a direct social outlet if you have friends who will join you! While you may not find it easy to host people or go out for a meal or a drink just yet, playing poker online with friends is actually a simple prospect. You can choose a site, set up a room, and simply enjoy some virtual time with the people you most enjoy. It may not be quite the same as in-person socializing, but it can certainly be a refreshing boost when most of your time is spent with your new baby.
A Boost in Wellness
In another post here, the importance of focusing on wellness over weight loss was stressed, and it’s something new mothers would do well to keep in mind. While many are understandably focused on physical shape and the desire to return to a pre-pregnancy state of some kind, a more general focus on wellness often winds up being healthier. This goes beyond diet and exercise and has to do with managing stress, mood, and the anxieties of isolation as well. And here too — because of the points made above — poker can be beneficial. To be clear, we aren’t suggesting there are tangible health benefits involved. But a bit of time zoning in on a game, de-stressing, and possibly socializing can contribute to an overall effort to maintain personal wellness.
I’ll note again that different games will work for different moms. AND as single moms I know that money can often be tight so please be sure to only spend what you can afford to lose on any hobby or past time. The real idea here is to find something you can concentrate on during quick breaks, and ideally make it a game you can enjoy with some friends online. But for all the reasons above, poker can be a genuine comfort to a new mom juggling so much responsibility and so little time for friends or self-care.