Onward March

This is not going to be another post in which I complain about how tired I am.

Even though I am. I really, really am.

Exhibit A.

Exhibit A: Me, five seconds after I laid Mary in her crib for the night.

Yep, I’m worn out, lonely, and bummed that it’s 9:23 in the evening and my husband has no idea when he’s going to be able to come home from work. He’s been there since 7 AM. Usually he gets to come home a little earlier. If he walks in the door at 7 PM, we exclaim over how “early” he is. Sometimes I give myself permission to be upset about the unfortunate aspects of this season of our lives. I have thrown many a one-woman pity party in recent weeks. That’s all fine and well and part of the process. The next step, though, is moving past the woe-is-me sighs and onto something more fun- for me and for those around me. Push forward, retreat, WOE, push forward, retreat, WOE- push forward. Gradually, things will get easier.

In case anyone else is in the new-to-being-a-stay-at-home-mom, new-town, husband-works-all-the-livelong-day boat, here are some blues-battling strategies that have been working for me:

(If you need help with your hyphenation overuse problem, I clearly have no answers for you.) (You should also move right along if you need to reduce your parenthetical asides.)

  1. Follow up new contacts with a (personalized!) email. Mary and I have been going to a lot of meetup.com events with tons of moms and babies in attendance. I meet all these women and their offspring at once while trying to keep up with my wily toddler. I have found that all these little acquaintances have a MUCH higher chance of leading to further interaction (mom second dates, I call them) if I hop on my laptop during Mary’s nap and shoot some emails thanking my new friends for their time and effort. Meetup.com lets you post greetings to attendees’ profiles or send private emails. I try to highlight something I loved about our interaction (“So great our kids are the same age!” “Thanks for your tip on teething!”) and offer an idea for a future outing (“We’ll be at the story time at the library next week- hope you can make it!”) So far this strategy is working wonders towards building Mary and I a group of mom and baby friends.
  2. Jump into unexpected chances to socialize. I introduced myself to another mom and toddler duo at Mass on the feast of the Assumption, even though that goes against all my introvert tendencies, and they are now some of our favorite Louisvillians. When I went to get the mail tonight, Mary and I noticed a new resident meeting going on in our apartment clubhouse, and even though I didn’t look great (ha! understatement) and hadn’t brought anything for Mary to amuse herself, we went inside. Met some sweet neighbors (with kids!), got invited to a regular playdate, and scored a free pasta dinner. Spontaneity, FTW.
  3. Pick up a new hobby. I am throwing my intimidation out the window and teaching myself to sew (on the sewing machine Matt got me for Christmas two years ago… about time!) I’m using a lovely learning to sew tutorial at Craftsnob by Retro Mama. I’m partway through the coasters project. Crafting is a way for me to feel productive during naptime while also relaxing and doing something just for me (as opposed to, say, cleaning). Not all anti-loneliness tactics involve socializing, I’m learning. Sometimes I just need to find things that are fun for me to do alone.
  4. Reach out online. I read blogs all the time, but until recently I rarely commented, even on blogs I’ve been reading for years. I’m making more of an effort now to reach out to my favorite bloggers, even if it’s unlikely they will have the time to respond in kind. By interacting with online content instead of just passively receiving it, I further incorporate community-building into my life.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask. I look for moms groups online, and as far as I could tell, most of the Catholic churches in the area didn’t have any organized groups. But after reading Jennifer Fulwiler’s post about building their village and several other posts like it, I realized I needed to do more than scour parish websites for mom group info. I emailed every single parish in Louisville asking if they have any activities for moms… and I got several good leads! We are going to a women’s scripture study tomorrow with childcare provided.

So that’s where we’re at now. I’d love to find a way to volunteer with Mary, but I haven’t had any great ideas about that yet. I’ll have to keep thinking. What about you? How are you doing, bloggy friends?

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12 Comments

  1. Melissa

     /  September 18, 2013

    I think jumping from the professional woman cruise ship to the new-stay-at-home-mom-new-town-husband-works-all-the-livelong-day boat was bigger culture shock than when I moved from Virginia (baptist world) to Utah (mormanland) as a Buddhist. Meetup.com was definitely my life raft too, as you well know ;-)

    Reply
  2. Hey!
    I really liked your post! And I’ve been thinking recently about what it would be like to do what you’re doing, my conclusion: hard. But also rewarding and from the reading I’m doing, it sounds like you’re figuring out how to make it better. Miss you, lets talk sometime soon?
    Best,
    Will

    Reply
    • Yes please, I would love to talk soon and hear about your life this school year! What reading do you refer to? I have lots of time to read these days and I am always down for book suggestions :).

      Reply
  3. Volunteering with babes is hard. One thing our moms’ group used to do is schedule a play date at an assisted living facility (with their permission of course!) You bring some toys, scatter them around the common room and watch the kids play while you chat with the residents. They love watching the kids and it gives you an excuse to hear their own family stories.

    Otherwise we’ve done play dates where we have the kids “color” cards for assisted living facilities or servicemen and women.

    It’s tough being new and alone. You are off to a fantastic start. It’s hard making new friends but always worth the risk!

    Reply
    • Thanks, those are good ideas! I’ve thought about going to an assisted living place when Mary is a little older… she’s a little wild right now with her newfound ability to run. The coloring thing would be great though! We’ll try that soon :)

      Reply
  4. Thanks for reaching out to me the other day. :) I’m enjoying reading about your time in Louisville. I don’t have a kid but I’m happy to talk/email or even get together. I’m an introvert too but I definitely want you to have a great year in the ville. Let me know how I can help! :)

    Reply
  5. mary Savoldi

     /  September 19, 2013

    I understand how you feel. When Joe and I got married and moved to Kentucky, he was always with his groups or gone for a week at a time. I did not know anyone and all the other wifes had children so, I babysat alot. But, those days seem so long and so lonesome. It does get better and the time you have together get more special. Even though it has been over 30 years, I remember those days. And when Joe worked Intel, I thought I was raising Christina and Joey alone because, he worked so many hours. Now, he is across the hall from me at work and I still don’t see him till we head home. I am glad you are sewing and finding things to do. You and your family are always in my prayers. We love ya’ll so much!
    Aunt Mary

    Reply
  6. This is such a great post for new and veteran stay at home moms. I am by nature an introvert, but discovered during my 8 years working at an insurance company that I also thrive by being social. I am an extroverted introvert. The only way I have survived stay at home mom-dom is by creating a village. Partially through church, partially through moms I have met at story time and other places, and partially by women who have no children at all! The worst thing a stay at home mom can do is completely isolated, but I agree you do have to have alone time as well (and doing something you enjoy). Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Thanks Dorothy! I love hearing from veteran moms that I’m on the right track. You’re an inspiration!

      Reply

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