Time Away and Together

We've decided that, starting June 2, Kent will be going to our church's day school two days a week for a Mother's Day Out. I'll be dropping him off at 9 a.m. and picking him up by 3 p.m., between which hours I'll be shopping, having my nails done, doing lunch with the wealthy and fabulous... or maybe just working on my diss.

I was talking to our pastor about this today, and I feel a great sense of conflict about it, as she assured me most parents do. I want to be with Kent — to raise him, to nurture him, to fill every moment of his with love, compassion, and learning — but I also live in the real world, where 7-year deadlines threaten to derail me completely from my career path if I don't get a freakin' move on with my research and writing. I also feel slightly insane (seriously) at the end of many days, like part of my mind is fragmented and I'm not sure who I am or when I'm ever going to sleep or be not frustrated again. So Patti (pastor, not cat) and I both agreed on what Jack and I had already pretty much decided; I need some time away from Kent.

Before June, I'm not sure exactly how this will be accomplished, since his earlier bedtime has eliminated my Solo Coffeehouse Nights. There's still room for Solo Coffeehouse Weekend Afternoons, which don't have quite the same ring, but which will likely be part of our future. Without very many friends in town with babies, though, I've struggled with finding a support system while Jack is at work — our friends from grad school are wonderful people who think Kent is awesome, but they're not at a place in their lives where babysitting someone else's infant can be part of their regular routine. And they don't need to be. Jack and I are sort of the pioneers here, and part of what I've been discovering lately is that I just need to meet new people who are parents to help fill that void.

Enter Meetup.com. I've found solace in this site, where users sign up to join a specific group with a specific interest or theme and then plan get-togethers with each other. There are a few different groups of moms in our area that have had playgroups and other kinds of meetups, and Kent and I have both had a great time at the two meetups we've been to so far. It's felt like such a relief to be face-to-face with other moms who live here, who have kids that Kent can play with (especially as he gets older) and who are going through the same things I'm going through right now. Many of the moms are new to the area and/or don't have family in town, so they're seeking a support system just like I am. It's quite cool, actually. There are a few things we're planning to attend in the next few weeks, and I'm looking forward to getting to know people better (including a few moms I already know from LLL) and finding new things for Kent and me to do that don't just involve staring at each other all the time. One group I'm particularly excited about, which unfortunately doesn't meet in Baton Rouge, has Attachment Parenting as their theme, but I'm willing to drive to Metairie/New Orleans to find out what they're about, since AP is definitely in sync with my child-rearing philosophy. And hey, the first meetup of theirs that I can attend is a playdate at someone's house, where we're promised there will be warm apple pie. Mmmm... pie.

And bringing it back around to church, where I started this post, we're having a Soup & Pie Luncheon in a couple of weeks, and I get to be one of the pie judges. This means that I have the enviable task of actually having to sample each pie to help determine a winner. Serious bragging rights are at stake here. I may have to practice eating pie now, just so I know I'll be ready for judgment.

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Oh E! *hug* I know how you feel. I was actually looking into your church's childcare as an option before our life totally upset and we moved 1200 mi. (twin!) Anyway, it will be hard, but keep focusing on the prize, you'll be so glad that you have finished while he's still so young. It will be hard to look back and see the simple things that at the time seemed big but would've allowed to finish. know what I mean? I SO wish I could come over and play with Kent. E would have fun, too. "beebee!" (his first 2syllable word)

And yay for finding other moms in the area. It's so nice to have that fellowship and support, even if you can't find much in common besides being moms. The AP group sounds cool, too. (grr, wish I could be there) Don't you want to move back to Philly?
Hey Mom- when your happy everyone is happy. It's the right thing to do, and as usual you have approached this with thought, research, and action. And some of those other new moms will become new best friends.... one of the things we love you best for...MomA
That's "you're" happy. A
I'm behind on my commenting, obviously. Hugs to E! That sounds hard, being pulled between work and family. Hopefully you will find that time away for your diss makes you even more appreciative and attentive to your time with Kent. Maybe it will even prevent your mind from being fragmented and make you a better parent! (Though you're already a fantastic one, of course!)

I sympathize with the friend-making, and I've heard good things about meetup.com. Steve and I joke that making friends as a couple is like dating for married people! You don't want to come on too strong, you don't want to scare people away, and you have to weigh what's appropriate intimacy and self-disclosure.

As Kent gets older too, I imagine he will get more & more out of the social interaction at day school. Hey, maybe he can help in the friend-making effort! (i.e., he makes kiddie friends and you get to know their parents) :-)

Good luck with everything, much love to ya.
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