yet another change of plans

The hospital where Catie was born has a support group for new moms (the 0-3 month crowd). I’ve been meaning to go for, oh, the past 7 weeks or so. But every week, I’d end up sleeping through it, which is the kind of thing that happens a lot when your schedule is dictated by a newborn.

I finally managed to get there this week, and honestly, I totally hated it. Have you ever been in a situation where there’s a group leader who goes around the room and everyone has to introduce themselves? And then you have to say some interesting tidbit about yourself too? Those scenarios remind me of school, and they give me anxiety attacks. So I guess I’m just not a big group type, and that’s fine.

I realize, of course, that there’s a difference between a support group, and, say, a mommy playgroup or something. So it’s entirely possible that I might enjoy a different setting. But there’s this other strange thing that I learned about myself yesterday: I generally feel like I’m doing ok at this mommy gig, but if you put me in a room full of other moms, I feel completely incompetent. It isn’t just the breastfeeding thing, although, yes, I was self-conscious about mixing up a bottle in that room when a lot of other women were nursing their babies. I have no idea why I feel this way, but as soon as I walked in the room, I had to fight the urge to either cry or run out of there. I know that it’s all in my head, and it’s not at all a reflection on the people there. All the other moms seemed lovely and nice, this is just my own little neurosis.

After I got home, I started thinking that since I’m obviously not the mommy group type, I have to come up with something else to get myself out of the house so I don’t go crazy or turn into some kind of hermit. Before Cate was born, I had this romantic notion in my head of being a stay-at-home mom, and how I’d meet and become friends with other moms, and life would be one big happy playdate after another. Clearly, that is not going to be the case. And that’s alright, this is just reality setting in.

So I’m thinking about going back to work. Probably just part-time, and I’m not in any big rush – I’m not even planning to update my resume until Cate is consistently sleeping through the night. But I think it’d be good for all of us: since Dave works from home, it’ll keep us from getting on each other’s nerves (trust me, 24/7 is a bit much for even the healthiest marriage), and I think part-time daycare will be good for Cate too.

In light of that little epiphany, I decided to make the most of my remaining time of unemployment. So next month, Cate and I are going to my hometown to see my folks. I found a great rate on airfare, and I’m calling it my parents’ combination Mother’s and Father’s Day gift. They’re thrilled to get a week of grandbaby time – I mean, I’m sure they’re happy to see me too, but mostly it’s all about her.

So hey, if any of you happen to be in the vicinity of Jackson, Missisippi, from April 18th to 24th, let me know and we’ll have cocktails. Bonus points if we can include fried okra. (God, I miss the South sometimes.)

8 thoughts on “yet another change of plans

  1. You’re probably right that it’ll be good for all 3 of you. Some people really glide right into the whole mommy-culture. My friend Liz in Austin is like that, and I admire her. I couldn’t do it, though. You can’t possibly know what you’re going to want to do until you’re in the situation. It surprised me how much I needed to come back to work (the $$ doesn’t hurt, either).

    In the meantime, how about yoga-with-your-baby and stroller-fitness classes? You probably don’t have to tell everyone about yourself in those! Although I could totally imagine someone trying to nurse a baby mid-sun-salutation. Yikes.

  2. Sally: hell yeah. I’m sure my folks would be happy to have Cate all to themselves for a few hours. I’ll bet I can even snag the keys to the mini-van (something I haven’t done for, oh, at least a decade or so).

  3. Welcome to the underlying theme of motherhood — nothing goes like you thought/planned it would.
    You might look for a MOMS group in your area, because I hear those are often much better than that support group you described. I’ve got several friends in MOMS groups and they really just have great big playdates, which is good for the kids, and good for the moms, too. I’m sure there has to be a group in your area. (also, check out your community newspaper’s listings, because they always advertise there)
    In any case, good luck in your quest to find some sort of happy medium.

  4. Here’s a thought, yeah? You mentioned back during the whole “power outages in the boonies” saga that the suburbs sounded pretty good to you. I wonder if having lots of friends and neighbors with kids would ease the isolation somewhat without pitching you headfirst into the “mommy group” culture.

    I will be the first to admit that I grew up in a Norman Rockwell neighborhood. The parents- mostly teachers- would sit out on the deck (and drink) every night in the summer. We were constantly in and out of everyone’s houses and yards. There were treehouses and sledding hills and sprinklers and group bike rides and even now the wedding guest lists account for at least 20 of the old neighbors. I think places like that DO still exist, even though here in Stepford the treehouses have electricity, the drinking is done at the country club and the kids have lift tickets for multiple ski resorts on their winter coats instead of sleds.

    If you went back to work on the 100-day contracts, would that give you flexibility? Like, go back to work, and if you find yourself wanting to do the SAHM thing, you’d be able to do that in 99 days..?

  5. Well, yes, ideally I would love to move to the suburbs. And that is on the agenda for some point in the next year or two, but it isn’t quite financially feasible right now. Although going back to work might help us afford it a bit sooner, so that’s another plus.

    And yeah, I’d probably be looking at temp/contract jobs, since it’s also entirely possible that Dave’s job will require us to move to California at some point in the future, so I don’t want to be too committed to anything here.

    Shannon: I will see if there’s a MOMS group near me. Cat: Not sure about the mommy-and-baby yoga/exercise classes, only because I suck at exercise classes. My prenatal yoga DVD practically has a hole burned into it, but the classes at the yoga studio? I went twice. I prefer to do my awkward sweating in private. 🙂

  6. Awww, you don’t like watching other people do their Marichi’s poses perfectly while you’re stuck with your foot in your ear? That’s, like, one of my favorite things. 😉

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