I was talking with an old friend recently, someone who just began her journey as a stay-at-home-mom. I have two little ones with a third on the way, and something she said threw me for a loop. It was something I hadn’t thought about in quite a while.
Her question: How do you handle the mental drain of having no one to talk to all day long?
Most people are ready for the physical changes pregnancy brings. You expect to gain weight, and you expect to operate on minimal sleep. You may even have no expectations of fitting into your pre-pregnancy jeans for a year or more after baby is born.
But why didn’t anyone tell you how hard it would be to stay cheerful and content when you don’t have anyone to talk to (who can talk back to you) for the better part of each day?
I know I took for granted the adult interaction I experienced every day at work. Before my first daughter was born, I worked at a stimulating job, had good relationships with my co-workers, and saw my husband every evening at home. After baby arrived, I went from stimulating daily conversation to very limited adult interaction topped with sleep deprivation. It was a difficult adjustment to make for sure.
So what did I do? I stayed holed up in the house wondering what everyone else was doing all day long and why I seemed to be the only stay at home mom in the universe. All of my neighbors, even the ones who stayed home, were gone all day, so I didn’t even see them out my windows. I would go shopping at Target with the baby in a stroller and wonder what all the other stay at home moms did when they weren’t at Target. Seriously, I did.
Eventually, I learned about the existence of SAHM groups on Meetup.com. Glorious groups created around a central calendar where local moms posted in-home and public playdates for other moms and their little ones to attend. Anyone could join; all you had to do to qualify was be a mom.
It took me a while to attend enough playdates to where I felt like I actually knew a core group of moms. But ever since then, I’ve never turned back. My oldest has friends she met over 2 years ago in the group, and my youngest started attending playdates when she was 2 weeks old! By the time she came along, I knew I wasn’t going to waste a minute lamenting about my loneliness….out and about we went! Now I know what the other moms were doing – they were keeping busy because that’s the name of the game when you have an active little one or two underfoot. Get them tired, fed, and in bed for a nap, then repeat. Some days, we even attend two playdates – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Makes for a busy, but super fun day. 🙂
I wish someone had told me I didn’t have to sit holed up in my house all day every day as a stay at home mom. That’s why I make it a point to tell every new mom I have a chance to tell about Meetup groups for stay-at-home-moms. There are others doing the same thing you do; you just have to find them.
How about you? Can you relate? If you are a veteran mom, can you think of something like this that fits into the category of “what I wish I had know back then?”