Social support as a safety net

3.10.2012

Our family has needed a lot of helping hands lately. We are lucky because we`ve been able to get help; My sisters and both grandparents have been Unna`s nannies because of my challenging pregnancy and work. Both grandmothers have made berry jellies and juice for us for the winter. For many weeks our friends did all our shopping because me and my husband were not able to pick up anything heavy. One evening our friends made us a dinner at home. The other evening our neighbor brought us blueberries for an evening snack.

All the help we`ve got has made me think how precious and important social support net is in life. 

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I`m teaching wellness tourism. My sister and mom were Unna`s nannies when I was preparing my lectures for this autumn.

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We stayed one week at the grandma`s place because it was a time to pick up red and black currants for the winter

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My mom is important support for me in my own motherhood

A strong social support net works as a safety net to all its members

A social support net means people who can help and support you. For some people it means a net of relatives, for some a net of friends and for some it is both.

Our family`s social support net is strong; Three of my siblings and many of our friends are living in a same town. Besides them my parents and my husband`s parents are living nearby. Possibility to have this support net was one reason why me and my husband wanted to settle down in our home region. We haven´t regret our decision. I know that we could live also elsewhere, hire nannies and survive with a smaller social support net. However it would not be the same. And I don`t say this only because we have got a lot of help lately from our friends and relatives. That is a situation now but many times it has also been, or it will be, us who are the helpers; like when my big sister has needed a nanny for her children or my siblings have needed a help with moving.

A strong social support net is a win-win net including benefits for all its members: 

  • Help from familiar people; You can always hire helpers or buy help. However if people could choose I would guess that most of them would like to have help from people who are familiar with them.
  • Help from people you trust; There is just a difference to leave your child (or pet, or your old relative) with  a person you are familiar with and who you trust rather than to a hired person. 
  • The bigger the net is, the bigger possibilities you have to get help when you need it; All people have their own lifes and schedules. No one can always be there for you. That`s why the bigger your social support net is, the better chances you have to have that someone to be available for you when needed.
  • The bigger the net is, the smaller are the possibilities for helpers to get tired of helping; Too much is too much for everyone. If your friend is asking for your help every week, I would guess that at some point you would not be that pleased to help him anymore. That`s why it is good that your friend has also other people to ask help from.
  • A two-way support makes relationships stronger; Both friendships and relationships with relatives tend to become stronger when they include giving and getting help from each other. The key is the balance – helping needs to work both ways.
  • Wellbeing benefit; Your possibilities to feel better and have less stress are bigger when you know that you are not alone and you have people who you can rely to when you need help or support.
  • Helping makes happy; Getting help is nice, but often even nicer is to give help.
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My childhood family is a bedrock for my safety

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One concrete help that our family is having every year; we don`t need to buy juice from the grocery because we are able to get some home-made juice from our grandparents

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We are able to get also red and black currants from our grandparents’ gardens. I appreciate that help a lot because otherwise we would eat a lot less berries during the winter.

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It`s a tent. Early morning at grandma`s place and Unna has already built a tent with her nanny, my little sister

Thank you so so much for all our helpers during the last couple of months; my mum and dad, Marianne, Minna, Raija, Risto,  Anne, Joonas, Noora, Juho, Netta, Kalle and Mari!

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