Okay two weeks have passed and I have neglected the momfessional Monday posts. I realized that it could get super mundane if I just confess once a week to something I KNOW every other Mom has dealt with as well. I’ll try and limit my Momfessionals to once a month… that’s probably more realistic. Since it’s the first of the month, I’ll get it out of the way today.
I remember pre-baby days and even during pregnancy everyone who had children would tell me how much life changes when you becoming a parent. While this is 100% true, it didn’t come as a surprise to me when it became my reality. Yes, life changes – DRASTICALLY. There’s no way to adequately explain just how much your life will change. You don’t understand it until it happens…. However, this is not what has surprised me. The part that threw me the most, is how isolated you can become. Now, I’m not exactly what I would consider an introvert by any means, and I genuinely believed that I’d be one of those Moms who take their babies to play groups, socialize, go for daily walks with the stroller and make a whole bunch of new “mom friends”. That DID NOT HAPPEN.
After having K, I’m pretty sure I was locked up in my house for what felt like an eternity! You see, she HATED the car seat…AND the car (I thought cars were magic baby whispering machines that lulled ALL THE BABIES to sleep instantly – nope, not K). What this meant, was that I stayed home… a lot! We lived in timbuktoo (not really!), and couldn’t go anywhere without driving at least 15 minutes. I preferred not to endure the screamfest, and chose to stay home instead. I was even terrified to take her in the stroller in the event that she screamed the whole time. This actually happened on several occasions. Have you ever seen parents walking with a stroller, while holding their babies? That was us.
Once she overcame the terror of the car seat (this took well over 6 months!), I had her on a sleep schedule that limited my “on the go” abilities even more. I was instructed that car cat naps were strictly forbidden. I never thought I would be the Mom to care this much about when my child sleeps either, because I just expected that babies sleep when they are tired – presto! I mean, I’ve seen pictures of babies passed out in highchairs or on playmats, or sleeping on their parents shoulders in broad daylight. Not the case.. or at least for me! Needless to say, I became the Mom who was housebound for days at a time. Hubby would come home and I think he saw the desperation in my eyes that I needed so badly to leave the house. Off we’d go… to anywhere.
Through my second pregnancy, I vowed to myself that I would not be so limited, and that I would attend at least 1 weekly baby group. Since we now live in a highly populated area with community events regularly, I thought it was my duty to my toddler to expose her to other children, and to basically carry the baby along with me and have him adapt to our current lifestyle. Once I realized again how miserable babies can be when they don’t sleep well, this vow quickly fell out the window. Needless to say, I’ve resorted back to a lot of time in the house, and very few outings. Even though both children are now excellent in the car, I stay home often. The idea of dragging two children out and about legitimately terrifies me! I have gotten better though… I can go for walks, and I’ve had several outings to the park with both kids (solo). I don’t feel nearly as isolated this time around as I did the first time, but there are definitely days when I need to leave the house when hubby is home to watch the kids. I’ll make any excuse to just go anywhere!
Some days I have incredible regret that I don’t get out more often and meet other Moms. I’ve often felt jealous of the Moms who do just have a free spirited attitude about getting out and about, and allowing their children to sleep on the go. I have these moments… and then I remind myself how important sleep is to my kids, and how I’ll sacrifice my own social needs to ensure they are well rested and happy children. This is NOT to say that the free spirited Moms who’s children sleep on the go are any less rested or happy… I just know that MY children sleep best at home, in their beds, on their schedules. Kudos to the mommas who can come and go, and still have happy, rested children. PLEASE feel free to send me your advice on how to make this happen. I’ve yet to figure it all out.
The good news, is that I’ve learned that this isolation really is only prominent in the first year or so. Since K has been on a 1 nap a day schedule and can do much better being awake for longer periods of time, I’ve found that being “on the go” is MUCH more doable. In fact, getting out of the house is really a necessity with a toddler because it’s the best way to keep them entertained. The first year is really tough, but it gets SO MUCH BETTER. We’re in the tail end of the first year with B, so I’m super excited for the fun outdoor activities and socialization that we’ll be engaging in very soon!