Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Being a Stay at Home Mom Doesn't Mean You Have to Stay at Home

When I think back to how isolated I was when I only had one kid, I feel so sorry for my former self.  I want to reach back in time and force us out of the house and into a playgroup.  I had one close local friend who had kids, back then, and she worked full time.  From the time BJ left for work until he got home, it was pretty much the Amy and Mary Grace Show.  Grandpa Bob didn't live here until later.

It was really hard.

Now I have a bunch of moms around me.  We pick each others' kids up for school and activities (as I was writing this post one of my friends called and said she'd pick MG up for scouts this afternoon!).  We chat in the pick up line or at drop off.  We go out for coffee or wine and we talk about everything (Literally.  Everything).  We babysit for each other.  We pick up odds and ends for each other at the store when someone gets sick.  We make each other casseroles when someone has a baby or needs a helping hand.  We look out for each other.  It's SO MUCH BETTER than those early days of being all on my own.

My sister is pregnant with her first.  She and one of her best friends had the foresight to marry into the same family (a pair of cousins), and they are having their first kids within a month of each other.  They have several other friends who are also new parents, or getting ready to be new parents.  I'm so happy for them, that they have each other.  I'm relieved that my sister will never (hopefully) experience that social isolation that comes from being a new mom.

If I could go back, I would force myself to join a playgroup.  I didn't realize until MG was in school that the playgroups are more for moms than for kids.  Duh.  I just found it all so overwhelming back then.  The kids were all bigger and stronger and all the other moms seemed to have their act so much more together than mine was!  I wish I could take a do-over, though.  I think I would have been a better mom to her, then, and I know I would have been a better wife to BJ if I had been a little more social.

It was better by the time Claire came along.  By then I had found quite a few mom friends, and I had a much better support system, in general.  Plus, I knew what I was doing with her, which really helped.  Oh, and she slept like a normal baby.  That really helped.

I need to work on getting us out of the house in the afternoon.  I'm beginning to think that a weekly schedule (library Monday, museum Tuesday, gym Wednesday, etc.) would be good for us.  I just wish I could think of 5 outings that we could do regardless of weather that don't cost a lot of money.  Suggestions?

This time of year, when the weather sucks and it's such a pain to get out of the house, is so hard on parents of little kids.  Do you have someone in your village who might need some company?  Do you need to push yourself a little more to reach out?  Have you joined the La Leche League, or MOPS, or MOMS Club, or one of those?  How do you keep your sanity with little kids?


rovingrose said...

This is SO true! Getting out of the house has been a key to my sanity since my oldest was born 5 years ago. Even if it's just to the grocery store or to the park. When my husband was deployed I created a schedule so I had something I knew I was doing everyday (and a friend who would miss me if I wasn't there). Library, bowling, MOPS, volunteering at a thrift store, bible study, an indoor playgroup, etc.

Jenna said...

I am right here, right now. This post was like God speaking to me telling me to get out! I just moved to MN from MI with our 7 mo old daughter. Thank you for this :)