Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thoughts

Today, Chambanamoms.com spoke at my Rotary Club. If you haven't met them, they're very lovely women. I haven't interacted with them more than a handful of times in person and I was a dedicated reader for many years to their blogs before they started the Chambanamoms web site.

It was lovely to listen to them speak about how they came about creating a media that also serves as a community organizer. It was also interesting to listen to Mrs. Chicken talk about how isolating parenthood can be. And how more and more moms are flocking to social media to find connections around the globe for what they're going through within the time constraints they have.

She's right, motherhood can be isolating. It's what I found when I started to fight my way out of postpartum depression so many years ago.

And I did find some online families that I care very much for via Meetup.com and later, when we all were able to join Facebook we tried to migrate that group over, but it just -- didn't go very well.

Then the kindergarten year started... and I felt more and more isolated. What's worse is that since the Facebook thing didn't look to be going as well, I felt frustrated. Other relationships on Facebook were also -- worrisome and upsetting, so I left.

As I'm sitting there listening to them talk about how vital the Internet was for Mrs. Chicken and Little Blog on the Prairie to find each other and for their mission as an organization, I grew a little sad. Because in the end, social media didn't really make me feel connected. It made me feel like I had fake connections. But then when I disconnected, I felt like those connections were pared down to just a couple of people.

And to me that felt like reality. In reality, that's what I really had in my corner as a mostly single Mom. At first I was frustrated. I wondered why, if people cared as much as they insisted they did on the internet, they didn't actually show up. And then I accepted the reality and got through the grief. I also stopped thinking of my life in a series of witty one- or two-line phrases.

I'm not an extrovert by nature. I am when I have to be. But I guess I crawled into my introvert cave and then felt sorry for myself about it. I don't know why it happened, and as quickly as I could I turned those feelings over, saw the gross bugs lying underneath them and turned my nose up in disgust. I'm human.

After the onslaught of panic, I was awarded with a feeling of relief. I didn't have to keep up with 400 people. The people that I called that cared still took my phone calls and made play dates with my child and me. They did what they could, but in a way, I think most of the people I used to know saw me as abandoning them. And even though that was not my intention, I'm pretty sure it left a bad taste in some people's mouths.

Life is a lot quieter now. I still don't feel like I get to invest enough into the friendships I care about, but a lot of that has to do with children's schedules. The truth is that I used to be able to get out on my own a lot more than I do now. When MacTroll traveled every other week, I had a schedule that I could follow.

Now everything is all up in the air, and I know my babysitting dollars really need to be used toward meeting with my nutritionist and going to my library board meetings and from time to time a night out with my husband.

It's the way it is right now. Who knows what will happen in a year? I guess we'll just wait and see.

1 comment:

mimilap said...

Dana, I hear you, and I relate to such feelings, even though they may not be the same, your post made my fingers press that comment selection, and I am typing a response, something I have never done before!

I remember the transition from preschool years to elementary school as a parent. My kids are only a year apart, so it went quickly. During the preschool years I had developed a group of friends, with children of similar ages, and we provided a support system to each other based on mutual needs. I quickly discovered this is a transient community and sooner or later everyone except me moved away, so I started to make sure I didn't attach too much to anyone. That way it didn't hurt to say goodbye.

The transition to elementary school for me changed where I found and fullfilled my grown up companionship needs, and that transition was awkward at best. To be honest it was as if my postpartum depression occured when my youngest was 5!

Now, I'll let you in on a little secret...I am really a solitary person. I enjoy being alone, or what I have discovered I find seeking out adult female friendships difficult, so I chose to be alone instead! During the elementary school years I was very involved in CU Junior Woman's club, a service organization. I filled my adult time with meetings, fund raising, acting in the Tom Thumb Theater. Those woman were my friends, companions, and still to this day I enjoy running into past members and chatting.
Next, during the high school phase I put my effort into MMO, sometimes 45-60 hours a week. I didn't have to think about adult companionship, I was never alone, except at home, and I was so exhausted from dealing with people all day, I was happy to live in my solitary world.
Yes, I have my husband, who is a very social being, but I don't like crowds, parties, talking to people I don't know,etc. So I pretty much never join him at social events!
Without MMO, and without children at home, I have been forced to spend the last year with myself. I have slowy over the past year been learning to like myself. I am not the Director of MMO, the President of CUJWC, Katie and Andrew's mother (yes I am, but it is not my introduction to the world), I am Mimi.
Last May, when I looked at myself I saw someone I could barely stand to be with, a person who lived as a title to avoid knowing who I am really am, what I stand for, what I believe, what I enjoy. A person who was afraid to leave the house because I had a bad reputation at the end of my long involvement with MMO. The 17th year and it's issues, allowed me to rob myself of the first 16 years!
I had ignored my health, because I didn't care, and was physically and mentally falling apart.
I won't bore you with the details of the past year, but sum up by saying, I am not totally sure I am not a failure yet, but last Friday morning I woke up and suddenly found myself realizing that I am no longer going to be afraid of who I am, and frankly I am no longer going to be afraid of everything. I am going to meet my medical challenges head on, and enjoy my days spent with my summer preschool friends, and maybe just maybe, I will one day form a solid adult female friendship!
In case it takes awhile for this to happen, tomorrow I am getting a puppy!