Thursday, June 19, 2008

5. Try to create a support system of friends and family. It'll be one of the most important things you can do for yourself.


I think it's a little apropos that I'm discussing this "rule to live by" today. Last night, I spent two and a half hours with the mommies in my son's play group, having the time of my life! We decided around the beginning of the year or so that we would set aside one night each month for "Moms' Night Out". It turned out to be the Best. Idea. Ever. We'd leave our babies with their daddies and try out a new restaurant each month. During these nights out, I discovered how much I really liked sushi, Thai cuisine, and teas from around the world. I also discovered how much I needed this support system of other women in my life. It's been over a year ago, I think, since I received a response to a question I asked on Mamasource.com. This is a great resource for moms and dads, by the way. Pediatricians are great resources on babies, too, but sometimes, you need the advice that only another mom can give you. Anyway, I received a message from one of the moms in this play group asking if I wanted to join them. I think my son was about 8 months old at the time, and when I read the invitation, I was a little scared to meet new people (who might judge my abilities as a mother! OH, NO!), but I took a chance and decided to do it. My son really hadn't had much contact with other children before that time because, though he has several older cousins, they all live a state away and we just hadn't been able to visit them as much. So, while thinking I was doing a great thing for my son by allowing him time around other children, I didn't realize that I was doing a better thing for me. The mommies in this group are all just incredible. Every one of them is unique in her own way, and each mommy brings something different to the group. We've bounced ideas off of each other, given advice on what's worked for us in all aspects of life, and allowed each other to vent about what's going on at home. It's been a release for all of us, and a chance for our kids to grow up together. We've truly seen some of the babies go from just lying there, to crawling, then walking, and finally, running! And, that's not just my own son, either! ;) However, I don't think I would have made it through his decidedly late walking stage without the support of my fellow mommies. To have them celebrate his first steps on his own at 18 months old made me feel so proud to be his mommy. V and I tried to meet up with them every week, and when we couldn't go to play group, I always felt sad and as though we were missing the most important part of the day. And, many weeks, it really was that important to us! After awhile, play group expanded to include mini field trips to the local children's museum, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and the zoo. V has really learned a lot about playing with other kids and the world around him just by being in this group. And, I've learned a lot about being able to rely on other people and ask them for help when I need it the most. This was very difficult for me at first because with B's demanding schedule at work, I learned to be so self-reliant. However, I realized that I just couldn't do it all on my own. And, luckily, I had found a group of other mommies in pretty much the same boat! We've become each others' friends, confidantes, and babysitters. I will really miss all of the times we've spent together, whether at play group each Wednesday morning, or at our once a month dinner "dates". However, as one of the mommies said in an e-mail today, it's not "good-bye", but "so long". There will be so many opportunities in the future to see them all again. Also, after B, V, and I move, we'll be able to see long-time friends and our families more often because we'll be living much closer to them. Living four hours away from my family made me realize how much I missed them, especially when I had my son. Luckily, he was born by a scheduled C-section, and everyone was able to make it to the hospital in plenty of time to see him come into the world. However, after that, our visits with them were very few and far between, and there's only so much that cell phones and e-mail can do for relationships. My parents are so excited to have us coming back to our home state, and I know my in-laws feel the same way. They'll really be able to share in V's growth and development in a more personal way, rather than just through monthly e-mails full of pictures I've taken. My sister and I have also grown much closer because of our shared experiences in motherhood, so I think being physically closer will help that relationship flourish even more. Hopefully, it will do the same for my relationship with my brother, who is the parent of a toddler, too. Finally, because I took the chance to meet new people here in Ohio, I'll feel more comfortable reaching out and meeting people in my new city in Indiana. After all, it will be just as important to have that support system there, as it has been having it here.
Thanks, Play Group Mommies, for all you've done for us! V and I love you all!
Best to you,
Amanda

1 comment:

Miss P and Baby E's Mama said...

It has been amazing to watch the children grow together. I am hoping P will have V and all the others as life-long friends.