Monday, April 22, 2013

{ motherhood monday: things you don't expect post baby }

There are some things about motherhood that nobody really tells you. Like even in the "What to Expect" books (which I read front to back), it never talks about "how to maintain friendships after you have a baby" or "how not to go crazy staying inside all day alone with your infant".

When the hubs and I decided that I would stay home and take care of Baker, I was thrilled. To be honest, I didn't particularly love my 9-5, and I wanted to be with my baby as much as I possibly could. I had visions of hanging out with the other stay at home moms in the neighborhood, laughing over silly things our kids did while chatting in the sunshine. I would finally be a part of that elite group I had longed to join for years!

Unfortunately, after I had Baker, I ended up with a pretty bad case of the baby blues which caused me to be an emotional wreck. I was crazy paranoid about going out with my baby, fearing that he'd get RSV and be lifeflighted to Primary Childrens Hospital (a fear planted in my brain by my pediatrician at Baker's 2 week checkup - thanks doc). I stayed cooped up in my house and slowly started getting delirious from cabin fever. It didn't help that Andrew was out of town frequently and the weather was crap, so I couldn't even go on a walk. I'm actually surprised my blog posts didn't start turning into something that looked like "inside all day make shan a dull girl..." repeated over and over again.

On top of that, some of my stay at home mommy friends that lived close were starting to move from the neighborhood. When I found out they were all moving in the same month, I broke down and had major anxiety. It's not like I didn't have any other friends with kids around me, but just having those two neighbors move sent me over the edge.

I started to get more an more lonely. I loved being at home with Baker, but I longed for and missed the adult connections I used to have. I tried to keep myself busy with projects, but there were times I just wanted to sit with a friend and chat in person. I found myself getting more and more depressed until one day I gave myself a slap in the face and said, "Snap out of it girl! You're fun, outgoing, and damn it, just because you have a baby now, doesn't mean you can't have a social life!!"

I decided that I needed to be the one to reach out to other moms in the area. I got on facebook and asked other moms in our area if they wanted to start a play group. I was thrilled with the response! I started calling other friends too - if I couldn't get out, a phone conversation was better than nothing at all!

A few days ago, my friend and I ran to Sonic for happy hour (1/2 price diet dr pepper? yes please!). We had to cut our hang out short because Baker started to get fussy and I didn't have my nursing cover, but just that little outting did wonders for my soul! She probably has no idea, but it meant a lot to me and lifted my spirits!

I still struggle with loneliness and feeling isolated, but it's getting better. Did or do any of you get lonely being a stay at home mom? How do you stay busy and connected, especially with an infant?

15 comments:

Lindzee said...

I'm so glad you wrote this, because seriously, no one told me this before I became a SAHM. Being a stay at home mom can be SO lonely. Some semesters Neil is gone from before the twins wake up until after they fall asleep, and it's just me and them all day. I remember when the twins were about 4 months old my parents went on a cruise. It was December and the weather was horrendous and I didn't leave the house for 11 days straight. Like we're talking not even going outside to get the mail. I felt like a milk cow who sat at home doing nothing but feeding babies all day! Now that they're a little older I don't worry so much about sicknesses and weather, and now that nap times are more regular I can plan outings. But still, sometimes I go weeks without talking to anyone but my parents and husband and kids, and it can get a little isolated! Still worth it, though. I have hobbies to keep me occupied. I find now that it's still hard to get out, because even though I have SAHM friends, our kids are never on the same nap schedule and such so it's hard to get out together.

Melody Pellegrin said...

Well, I'm not a stay-at-home-mom, but I was for 3 months until going back to work, and I am over the summer when I'm off work. It is tough, but luckily I have one best friend who I've known since 3rd grade and with her there are no expectations, so if I need to get out or talk to someone, she's always there. I think everyone needs a friend like that.

Benlovesting said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer said...

Totally know how you feel. Something that helped me was joining Jazzercise and Kindermusik. There is also a great program called Stroller Strides where you can work out with your baby and other moms. Kindermusik is also great, but you'd have to wait until Baker is six months for that one. Google them!

Lori said...

How smart of you to think of starting a play group! I honestly don't have great advice to offer (my daughter just turned 27) and I was lucky to have my grandma at beck and call. Sounds like to me you are thinking clearly and coming up with good ideas. Hang in there!

Shayner and Ern said...

Shann you make me smile. I miss you! Your so lucky you get to be a SAHM, but I bet those challenges are rough. It is hard enough adjusting to the life with a baby & everything that comes with it. I am happy to hang out with you when I am off work! :) I am off at 2:30 Mon-Fri

McCall said...

At least you have Andrew most of the time.

Brittany said...

i'm still lonely, and my baby's 7 months! lol it's hard when you just moved to a new house with a brand new baby, have no friends, and your hubby works like 70 hours a week. :( there that's me feeling sorry for myself...
but i have gotten over a lot of it. once my body went back to normal (physically and mentally), i was a whole new woman! the healing for both, take a long time. and when the weather sucks, it seems to take even longer. you'll feel better every week. i promise it doesn't last forever! by 6 months you'll be back to your old self :) and you'll look back and wonder how the hell you did it!

Jason and Kate said...

I totally felt the same way after my first and even now with my twins (11 months). We are home ALL THE TIME because it is sometimes just easier and with naps it's a must. But ill be honest, park day is more for me than my 4 yo. I sometimes wait/want people to call me but who wants to hang with the circus?! Surprisingly, everyone wants to get out but no one likes to be the instigator. Lol so we plan chickfila dates, park days, or even just let's go hang at your house together. My husband travels a lot so sometimes I feel like its all me so I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels like this. Thanks for posting.

BECKY said...

Getting out is SO key for me. I finally created a flawless going out routine so that no matter what, I can go out. I always have a diaper, wipes, nursing cover on me in my purse, and then keep the diaper bag stocked with everything else in the car for just in case. I always take food and milk for both of them, just in case. Water for me, and stroller.
That way nothing can keep me down.
I created a little chant I say every time I go out to make sure I have everything and reminds me if i'll need the stroller or not.

Keep getting out. It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO critical!!! And it's so much easier when he's still in the infant seat and you can take him in and out without a prob. Once you have to move to a convertible car seat, it's a new problem to overcome!

paula said...

Everything you have written about your feelings since you had your babe could seriously have been a page in my book. I felt the same way, went thru the same feelings. No body tells you BEFORE you have the kid that there will be a lot of REALLY uneventful days ahead. I'm reading a really interesting book called, "Bringing up Bebe". It's about how our parenting styles here in America differ from those in Paris. Very interesting and has given me some perspective about keeping in touch with myself as a woman since becoming a mother. Seriously-I'm calling you next week. We are going out. I have your number now.

Shan @ Design Gal said...

Paula, I would LOVE that! Call me for sure girl!

Shan @ Design Gal said...

McCall- you're right, Andrew is home most of the time, but it's still different - i miss the girlfriend connections, you know? I'm so excited for you to have Jared get home soon! You've been a tough momma and it's time for a break! :) Love ya girl!

nichole said...

Not sure what neighborhood you live in, but Id also love to meet up... Just had my second little and need to get out!

email me creativechain@gmail.com

Jeanette Atkinson said...

I have a group of 5 other moms who get together every Wednesday for 1 hour for lunch. We take turns hosting it at each others houses and it is very great therapy and conversation! When our kids were younger they would each bring their own sack lunch to eat while the moms talked together!