I'm going to be a little bit real/revealing today.
The loneliness and isolation I often feel as a stay-at-home mom is suffocating and sometimes excruciating. On stay-at-home mom message boards you hear the concern a lot so I know it's common for women who make the choice to stay at home to feel this way.
I don't have many true-blue girlfriends to begin with. Somehow or the other, I just have never really had the opportunity to cultivate those friendships throughout my life being somewhat introverted and very "booky". Right now, I'd say, I'm pretty "different", I guess some would label me eccentric. I don't generally go with the flow and I *must* do my own thing. So here I am at 27 years of age and I can really only say I have about three friends, all of which I met as an adult. One lives far away (and we really only reconnected recently). The other is on her way to becoming a naturopathic doctor and has a child of her own so she's extremely busy. And the other works full time and has a child of her own and one on the way. Me and her generally do drive-by visits. Oh, and there's my sons' godmothers, one of whom lives in Ethiopia right now and before that lived in California.
I won't lie . . . sometimes I start to feel a bit sorry for myself and think that if I were back at work, I wouldn't notice the void so much because I'd be too busy running around. But going back to work so that I can ignore the void is not the answer, I know.
Trust me, I've reached out plenty of times. Joined meetup.com and other groups for stay-at-home moms. Somehow or someway, it just never really worked out and I have not been able to make real connections that way. I actually hate doing aerobics and would rather do yoga any day. I've been thinking about taking a yoga class. I also am interested in belly dance too and I know that would be a way to get fit that I'd actually enjoy. I'd like to take a class of that too. It struck me that classes might be a good way to make connection with all different kinds of folks (because while a good friend who was a stay-at-home mom and on the same tip as me regarding natural living and world view would be exactly what I need, I'm open to all kinds of connections). The problem is who would watch the children? There's really no money in the budget for babysitters and so I basically have to do things that I want to do alone while the kids are asleep or while the hubby is home. And since he's not home all that often, it leaves me with very little time.
Then I decide that it's silly to be worrying about making friends as an adult and I really should just turn on the radio, fold this laundry, knit this sock, read this book . . . but it's inescapable. Sometimes you just want to go over to your friends house and just sit. And it's magnified by 10x's in this cold, cold winter because generally when I feel this way, I could pile the boys into the stroller and walk for miles listening to music or something or go to the playground and absorb myself in playing with them. The snow and the cold make these things difficult if not impossible.
I get tired of taking the boys to the library, playground, and other activities where I end up basically talking and playing with my boys, while the adults ignore each other. Adults seem to want to avoid meaningfully connecting by all means. I recently called one lady who brings the children she watches to the library program we go to and while we seemed to have a good conversation at the library, on the phone she seemed disinterested and distant. I figured she only talked to me at the library, then, because I was there in person driving the conversation and face-to-face you often can't just be like, "leave me the hell alone." (It's a testament to my personal growth that I didn't personally feel rejected by her coldness on the phone.)
Anyway, many days the only other adult I speak to is the hubby and since lately he works so much overtime, I often find that the whole day has been spent talking to and dealing with children. I go to bed mentally and physically exhausted only to repeat the whole thing the next day. Recently, I've been making it a point to read at least one mentally stimulating article daily. Even if there's no one to talk to about it.
It's gotten to the point now where I don't even want to participate on message boards or comment on folks' blogs anymore. I'll ask a question or make a comment and no one responds to it. It makes me upset. I realize that what I really want is someone to talk to, to reason with, and most times, it's just not there. Instant messaging doesn't cut it . . . I can't be attached to my computer all day. The internet, all around, is a poor subsititute for a roll dog to vibe with and dialogue with.
The whole situation has me really re-considering homeschool. Honestly. If I don't have any connections myself, how will I help my children make connections? I want to homeshcool them but I don't want to cut them off from social interaction. I've been busting my behind trying to find it and I just can't. Sure they would go to music classes, martial arts classes, swimming classes, etc . . . but would that be enough? And where is the money going to come from to do all this extra stuff to make sure they have social outlets? We'd need more income and I'm not entirely sure I could work and do a good job with homeschool.
It struck me the other day that one of the better schools on the north side of the tracks claims to have closed enrollment, i.e. only kids who live in that zone can go there. But my sister-in-law sent her kids to a school on the north side and she says it was just a matter of talking to folks and making your demands known. This school is a blue ribbon school within walking distance. I substituted there a while back and was very impressed. I do believe Z1 and Z2 would do well there and it would give me a few years to think about what we'll do when it's time for middle school (absolutely no way in hell they will go to middle school in this town). While they're at school, I could work part-time somewhere or focus on getting an advanced degree--something that would give me flexibility and time for them. I definitely know that I don't want to go back to full-time teaching.
So, I'm telling you, it's suffocating. I love being here for my boys and being a stay-at-home mother, but like with every choice, there are consequences. You don't always know exactly what you're in for when you make a decision but being grown means you just handle it. So while I'm not depressed about it (because honestly, I have a lot of shit to do with a 3 and a 1 year old anyway--I can't sit around depressed too long about things), I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me, that it didn't make me sad at times. There's no easy solution to this. So all I can really do is take it one day at a time remaining as open as I can be to opportunities to connect.
(((shrugs shoulders))) Time to go work out . . .