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    « SnowWatch 2012, conducted from EJ's bedroom window | Main | Obvs I need to go open the wine »

    January 18, 2012

    Isolated?

    Whenever people start talking about how Stay At Home Moms Are Isolated I want to roll my eyes. I want to say, "Um, have you heard about THE INTERNET?" And I've told countless people ABOUT the internet, including Mental Health Professionals who count SAHMs among their clientele. I also tell SAHMs, but my success rate on that is about zero percent, if you count success as "being even moderately interested". Which is disappointing, isn't it? Because if I can count to one single thing that's kept me afloat over the last four years, it's my website. Cue the Orchestra of Internet Harmony. 

    But while I'm rolling my eyes I also have to acknowledge the real life army of support that lines up behind me. I have amazing parents, amazing in-laws, and a whole bunch of amazing mom friends. Sure, I talk to people in the computer all day long, but I am FAR from real-life-isolated. Nearly all my friends had kids the same time I had kids and we made huge efforts to see each other during the week. Not just the organized mom groups, but random spur of the moment get togethers at the zoo or the wading pool or (my personal favorite) someone's house where we could just sit on a couch and let the kids entertain themselves. 

    And then I also had friends to go out with at night. We'd leave our husbands with the kids and go to happy hour at the Italian restaurant or just hang out at Whole Foods sharing one of those giant desserts. Friends to meet for coffee on Saturday mornings or a walk around the lake. I did - I DO - all of these things. 

    So it's weird to me, nearly five years into the mom thing, that NOW I'm starting to feel isolated. Last night I stood in front of Emma's window, rocking her to sleep for the umpteenth time, and worrying about Phillip's trip next week. It used to be that I could call up anyone to come over and babysit me (us!) for a while, but life has totally gone on, for everyone.

    Is it harder to see people now? At this stage of the game? Is it just me? I feel like preschool schedules (and SCHOOL schedules, gah!) have really cemented when I can and cannot be around adults. Like I used to see my working friends on their off days, but now the various preschool schedules get in the way of that. And there are just more KIDS. We're not all new moms with new babies anymore. Now we're wrangling grade schoolers and toddlers and infants and you have to work ballet lessons around morning naps and Tuesdays are really the only good days to hang out, but that friend WORKS on Tuesdays so that's not going to happen. ETC. ETC. Plus I used to just jump in the car any day I felt like it and go visit my parents. Now I have to take SCHOOL into consideration. 

    What is kindergarten going to do to me? I'm scared!

    Maybe it's also my not so central neighborhood. My house in a wooded area. The fact that nearly all of my mom friends work part-time. Beholden to a school schedule. Trying to get a baby on a nap schedule. A husband going out of town. It's dark. It's January. We're freaking SNOWBOUND. 

    And I'm to blame too. I tend to see the same lovely people fairly often, and with one or two of them we've TALKED about how it's harder now and we decided to make Every Other Thursday our day or whatever. Which is awesome. But then there are the friends I miss, who I don't see because of my OWN laziness (JANET I LOVE YOU YES I'M AROUND MONDAYS AND THURSDAYS!!!) 

    But yeah. I'm feeling it. My internet people are real-er than ever, but my real life people feel distant. OH BOO HOO I hear you saying. GO CRY INTO YOUR FIRST WORLD PROBLEM HANKIE. 

    I'm going to go say good night to my big kids now. Everyone say a little prayer that Emma has a better night. Maybe I won't have to write another angsty blog post. (HA HA HA.)

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    Comments

    I think you're right -- the school schedule does make it harder to get together with folks. In our case, T's in school 3 days a week and my parents come 1 day, so that leaves...Tuesdays. Thank goodness for the internet folks who are 'around' all the time.

    I've found that I'm making neighbourhood friends, but my 'local-ish' friends are the ones we're seeing less and less, especially the ones who work. I have no solutions, but I understand and I hope that Emma's sleep improves ASAP.

    Here's my current mantra: "Spring will be here soon." With the longer days and the ability to just GO OUTSIDE everything gets better. Even (I hope for your sake) with three!

    It is harder with older kids! When my girls were first born, babies were a novelty amongst my group of friends and we'd hang out often and enjoy the company. Now, Soph's almost three and Savannah's four and a half. Everyone has at least one or two kids, and the small playdates we used to have are more of a production with half a dozen kids, loud arguments, and a path of destruction following them around!

    Oh, it's definitely harder now! Too many conflicting schedules! Other than church, I haven't seen my church mom friends in months. But I'm busier now with projects and studying, so I feel less isolated, I think.
    Also, am feeling the opposite of isolated this week because we've all been snowbound in our 900 square foot home for days. I need some of these people to just go away for a while! :)

    I don't honestly know what I'd do without the internet. It is an outlet for my own venting, sure. But more importantly, I get to read others and their accounts of exactly the same struggles and KNOW that I'm not alone. Which helps a lot when you are home every day and an hour or more drive from most of your non-internet mom friends. Rural life sometimes sucks. Yay for the internet!

    You know, that is a big part of the reason that I have kept Elizabeth out of school. If she were in school, *I* wouldn't see nearly as many of my friends.

    Totally agree! And I also had to share this article on parenting which I think is so spot on (and I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way!)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glennon-melton/dont-carpe-diem_b_1206346.html

    I think it's not so much the school schedule as the ages of your kids. You are really, REALLY in the thick of it right now, Maggie. I'm not sure it'll ever be this hard or busy or labor-intensive. (Sure, older kids are all of those things in DIFFERENT ways, but you know what I mean. Plus, by then you won't be LACTATING and NOT SLEEPING.)

    I think you'll see that that space you used to have for YOU, for friends will come back in a year or two. For one thing, the school day is much longer than the preschool day. Plus, you'll know more people in your neighborhood by then and have days when you don't even HAVE to pick up your kid(s) b/c someone else has offered. Or they'll have playdates (big kid ones; NO parents!), or sports or whatever. I don't even know HOW it happens, but space does open back up.

    Anyway, I've felt this isolation you speak of, even while having a pretty active (EVENING) social life, but seeing few during the daylight hours. It sucks and it's why God gave us the internets.

    Hang in there. xo

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