Mar 18, 2014

Mommy & Me

Since moving to Olathe I haven't really made any friends. In fact before moving to Olathe I didn't have a lot of friends. I don't want to go into details but old friends from high school moved on and I was never really at one college long enough to make friends. And coming here was starting all over again. Of course only there was no school to help you make friends. There was no dorms to force a "friend" aka a roommate on you. My husband is my roommate. He's my best friend. He's the one I talk to. But he's working every day. He has two jobs. He is busy. He always makes time for me but still I often feel lonely.

I think many stay-at-home moms get lonely, especially ones who aren't living where they grew up, around friends and family. When you stay home all day, how do you meet people? How do you make friends? [Let me just interject how awkward it is to make friends too. Has it always been this awkward or have I gotten worse at it as I've gotten older? Maybe because I spend all day talking to a cat and a 16-month old. Or maybe it's always been awkward hence my lack of friends...]

Well I decided that I needed to find something. I need to start putting myself out there more. Addie needs more socializing. She needs to see that I can build relationship, interact with other people, make friends. So awhile back (around summer time) I joined a group of stay at home moms via meetups.com I was nervous as all can be but they were a large group who had been around for awhile. They did lots of things. Moms seemed to like the group. Why not give it a shot?

I did. I was nervous as all get. I was anxious. I couldn't remember how to talk to adults. I felt awkward. But I told myself that it would be good for us. I somehow didn't talk myself out of it (which is pretty actually since I am the master of talking myself out of things). I went. It was at park and it was awkward. I had no idea who was who (there were lots of moms and kids there, so how do you tell who was part of the group and who wasn't?). I did identify the group finally and had short conversations at a time with a person here or there before they closed ranks and went back to their tight-knit group. It was definitely not welcoming. I felt like they didn't want new members. I felt unwanted and decided that this wasn't right for me. Maybe if I had pushed ahead and kept trying but it wasn't my thing. I didn't mesh all that great with the women I talked to. It just wasn't right and felt like it wasn't right. So I didn't go back. I didn't try again.

Months has passed since that and Addison and I have pressed on. We fell into our routine. Day in and day out, always the same. I was fine with it. I like our routine. I like having control over things (Type A personality plus it has gotten worse since Addison was born but it works for us and Addison likes the routine).

But as winter settled in, I was getting my normal winter blues and feeling even more lonely. With the looming three week trip for my husband with the Marines and the cold and just everything, I was feeling some cabin fever. I was feeling lonely. I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

Then one day I get an email from meetup.com, a site I hadn't visited in a long time. A new group had just formed of stay-at-home moms of kids newborn to about four years old in the area. I decided to not just dismiss it but started looking into it. Why not? I had been complaining about being lonely. If this worked out then it would definitely help with that.

So that day I joined the group. I was excited but a rush of anxiety overwhelmed me. I don't do social things well. What if this turned out like the last group? I hate going out in the winter (okay truth is I hate going out anytime. I sometimes get major anxieties about leaving the house so we don't. I'm working on it). But this could also be a very good thing so I did my best not to convince myself otherwise. You can't give up before you even try.

I signed up for my first meetup which was a New Member Meet and Greet at a coffeehouse. Which also happens to be at a church. Which also happens to have a great indoor play area for kids. I didn't even know this place existed. It was actually pretty cool. A great place to go when the weather is crummy and your kid needs to burn off some energy. It was about 15-20 minutes away in Lenexa, which in the whole scheme of things is not that far away, but my anxieties about leaving the house were kicking in. I knew I was going to start convincing myself not to go any moment. I was going to give up before I even started. I was going to make excuses: "I'm having a bad day," "Addie's have a bad day," "It's cold," "The roads aren't great since we just had a snow storm," etc. But the morning of this first meeting, I got myself up, got dressed and actually had a bad morning. My hair dyer broke, I forgot to do the dishes the evening before like I always do which meant I had a pile of dirty dishes and no clean plastic plates for Addison, I tripped over some toys that I failed to pick up the night before in the sitting room. It was just one of those mornings. I knew I had to snap out of it because even if we didn't go and I started in a crummy mood then Addie would sense my tension and we would have a lousy day at home. I decided that my day can't get any worse, so why not just go. Heck, this might even help, getting out of the house is a good thing sometimes.


And as it turned out, it definitely didn't make my day worse. It made it better. Right away I knew this group was different than the first group I tried. More of the kids were younger and closer to Addison's age. All the moms were extremely nice and welcoming. It was easy to strike up a conversation. It was exactly what I was looking for. I loved having some social interaction. Addison loved getting out and playing. I mean truthfully all she did was crawl around and around and around. That's my goof of a daughter but she had a great time. So I decided right away that we would do this again. And since then we have done several play dates and have enjoyed all of them. We have gone back to the coffeehouse, we've gone to the aquarium, we've gone to a storytime, among other things.

I'm glad we found this group. It was good for us to get connected somewhere and get us out of the house so we don't drive each other crazy. And like I said I think it's important for both of us to have more interactions and it's important for her to see me interacting. It's been fun and we have enjoyed getting out and trying new things and we look forward to doing more.

My advice to any new moms out there, especially stay-at-home moms because of their lack of social interactions, is to find a group. Find a group with the right fit and get involved. Get out of the house. Try new things. Let your kid learn to interact with other kids. It took me a while to deal with other issues before I was really ready to put myself out there and it was definitely harder after finding that group that I didn't feel like I fit into, but I wasn't so quick to give up when I found another potential group. And I'm glad I didn't. That's so just out of character for me. I haven't had the best experience with friends in the past so I was definitely nervous, but like I have said many times, oddly enough in the last couple of days, sometimes the scary things turn out to be the best things. And hey, I met my husband online, why not friends?!


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