You all know my love of Super Nanny. Once again, an episode inspired a post. The last episode that I watched was about a lonely stay at home mom. Her husband had been in the military and now is a truck driver. This mother of three young children felt isolated and alone. To make matters worse, her children misbehave every time they go out. She felt isolated, alone, and trapped at home.
This really pulled at the heartstrings. I wished my TV was a portal so I could tell this mom that she is not alone. I think every mom goes through this at some point. I know that I have felt this more than I would care to admit; even before I had Princess Pea, I had this problem.
Once upon a time when Superman and I were dating, we discussed the family thing. I told him my dream, no my need to be a stay at home mom. I expressed how important motherhood is to me and how vital it is for young children to have their mom. Superman was in full agreement. And like that our life plan was set. After we were married we lived in our first apartment, a little cheap place that was so cute and cozy. The best part of the apartment was that we could afford it on one income. That is how we lived, on one income. It was a great plan. From the beginning we lived on one paycheck and put the other’s in savings. Not only did this provide a nice cushion for our family, but it also kept us from getting used to the dual income so that when a baby did come along, it wouldn’t be a huge issue for us to switch to just one.
Anyway, this lead to the job conflict: I worked days, Superman worked nights and weekends. We didn’t see each other much. I spent a lot of time reading and watching Netflix. Who knew that this period of time would prepare me for the next few years?
When we left Fort Collins to be closer to family while Superman did his student teaching, we talked about options. Superman was insistent that I stick with the plan and path of staying home. He ended up taking his old job as a bellman/valet at the hotel as well as a coaching job with the rec center. Now that his student teaching is completed, he also is a substitute teacher. Yeah, we’re really dedicated to the stay at home mom thing (not to mention that the cost of child care in Colorado is more than the cost of college).
Anyway, with Superman working three jobs, we don’t see him a ton. I’m not complaining (after all, I did marry Superman). While I would love to see him more, I also am extremely grateful for his sacrifice for our family. But with the number of times we’ve moved and staying home, finding sources of socialization for me is actually really difficult. At this moment in time, I finally have a “group” of other stay at home moms to do play dates with. The down side is, depending on where Superman gets a teaching job for this fall, we will be moving again.
It’s challenging to go up to a mom at the park and try to make nice. It’s intimidating to put yourself out there at church, the museum, the zoo, story time, you get the idea. The point is it is easier for our children to skip up to another child and say “hello, let’s be friends” than it is for me to approach another mom and say “how’s it going?”
Just the other day I took Princess Pea to story time at the library. She had no problem dancing with the girl with the frilly orange bow, talking to the cute girls at least two years older than her, and playing with the boy with the Thomas the Train shoes. This kid had no issue with any social interaction because mom was fifteen feet away in case something happened. Me on the other hand, I managed a weak smile at the mom next to me. I tried to catch the eye of the sweet grandma taking pictures, and I complimented the daughter of the lady with the cute blue top. I was so stressed about trying to make a good social interaction that I totally missed the fact that one of Pea’s friends from church was there in the mob of story time parents until we were getting ready to leave.
I think the reason it’s so terrifying for us to make mom friends are that we are older and more experienced. The reason why we stop being friends with everyone is because we’ve had friends that have burned us, we’ve had friends that we lost touch with due to differences of opinion, we’ve had friends that we realize we really don’t have a lot in common with. Add a kid into the already pickiness and it adds twelve more layers to the problem. What if we don’t have the same parenting values? What if we don’t have the same political or religious views? What if they only feed their child organic bunnies instead of goldfish? What if they are into the same books as me? Yeah, it’s like being in middle school all over again.
What’s the solution? How do we get passed the awkward social issues of motherhood? Trial and error. Think of it as the scientific method for friends. Supernanny’s recommendation is to have a regular “coffee date” with other moms once a week. A group of moms is a much better chance of being successful than one on one. If you and one mom don’t hit it off, it’s OK. You’re not trapped at the museum with a weirdo all day, there are two or three other moms that you can talk to. Having a regular gathering of moms (or just ladies) is important. Leading our children through socialization through example is part of it, but having a support group of other women who get you is a way to thrive.
Here’s to all the moms out there looking for friends! If you need a friend, feel free to hit me up. Princess Pea and I are always game for an adventure (even if it’s just an electronic one).