Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Lesson at Story Time


Today I had a surprise break in my weekly schedule and didn't have to work this morning. Knowing Fiona would be in preschool, I was delighted to spend some quality time with my son Keegan. Taking advantage of our amazing local public library, we settled in at the toddler story time.

As Keegan and sat in the circle with a variety of moms and kids, I couldn't help but remember when it was just Fiona...the play dates, story time, mid-week adventures and field trips. Before Keegan and a busy pre-schooler's schedule, we always went to story time. It was as I was almost in overload as a new mom...afraid that if one minute wasn't scheduled her learning development would be delayed. Or maybe I just was afraid of just being alone with my daughter?

You must understand, a life as a stay-at-home mom can be hard and lonely at times. Sure there are moments you'd never want to miss or sleeping in until 8 AM with your kid snuggled in your arms. But finding strong adult companionship during the day always proved to be more challenging. This was especially true for me.

I began my journey as a full-time stay-at-time mom in Washington when we moved over 2,500 miles away from family and friends. I was heart-broken. I was lost...alone in a new state and I needed to make friends.

The public library gave me a meeting ground...an instant connection with moms that had kids the same age as my Fiona. Those first crucial weeks as well as today, I was so thankful for the library. However, I quickly learned the stay-at-home gig can be difficult to find your place or "niche" with the "other moms". (Seriously folks...not lying here.)

Were you a "cloth-diaper" mom, a "breast-feeding" mom, a strictly "organic foods" mom, a "time-out or spanking" mom? Honestly! At times it was fun sorting it out and other times you realized you just didn't mesh with the mom's "parenting" style. Thankfully, I did make wonderful friends. And for almost two years I spent every Thursday exploring Seattle and attending play groups with six ladies with a variety of back grounds.

I'm still strong friends with many of them today...now all in a different season. But this morning, sitting in the circle listening to the other moms talk, it brought me back to a time when it mattered...when I felt alone... a time when I was "trying to fit in" as a new stay-at-home mom. Unfortunately, women can be some of the most emotionally brutal people I know. So, when I overheard another mom mentioning for the second time that she was introducing 15 Spanish words a day to her barely speaking toddler I had to step back. I remembered how it felt to be like "a fish out of water" and introduced myself to someone on the edges...to a mom no one was talking to.

Taking time to notice someone was the lesson I took away from story time...not how the owl found the rabbit, but how everyone needs a friend in every season...even the sometimes lonely seasons of a stay-at-home mommy.

From inside the little blue bungalow,
Katie Jean
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1 comment:

Anisa @ the Schell Urban Homestead said...

That's so true and interesting. I actually made friends with a mom in my neighborhood from swimming lessons when Henry and her daughter were both about 6 months old. We went for a lot of walks and hung out quite a few times. We seemed to have a ton in common: breastfeeding, cloth diapering, organic... we both were even considering home schooling.

But one day our conversation went towards religion. She went to a Universalist church, and we didn't. I said something about not being into "I'm ok, you're ok" with religion, which led to a long spiritual discussion. It didn't seem bad or heated or anything, we just clearly held different religious views. But she never returned a call or wanted to hang out after tht day. :(

It IS hard to figure out where to fit in as a stay at home mom. And hard to figure out how to be yourself without being judged, or passing judgement. :)