Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Only the Lonely

Well the dishwasher is here and washing dishes as we speak. It's some sort of off brand that I've never heard of before. My guess is it's Chinese, but I can't find the sticker. No matter. The only dishwasher I own is back in the condo and it was made in Canada.

Things keep biting me and making me itch. We've been seeing more bugs around here than where we used to live. I really hate bugs.

Apparently, blogger does not want to update my blog roll. *sigh*

Today, we didn't do much. I made some zucchini bread, am washing diapers, and un-packed two office boxes.

What I want to talk about is an article that Jen Fulwiler wrote about Stay-At-Home Moms needing help. I'll quote some of it and add comments.

When I studied anthropology in college, one of the things that stood out to me the most was the element of community: In pretty much every time and place outside of modern Western culture, people lived around family all their lives. The average person was surrounded by brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. For women, the work of raising children was not done alone: Younger nieces and cousins would help with the little kids, the women would socialize as they gathered water or washed clothes, all the children playing together around them. This is the kind of life we were designed for.

Yes, totally agree. And this, of course, is the crux of the whole problem with being overwhelmed as a SAHM. You can't get help if you need it. There's no socializing with anyone. I feel, as do many others, extreme isolation.

In contrast, the average modern woman who is out of the workforce lives her life on a suburban desert island. The nearest family member lives miles (if not thousands of miles) away. She doesn’t know all the people on her street, and not many of them have kids anyway. If she’s like many Americans, she’s moved within the past few years, losing any sense of community she’d built in the last place she lived. Any opportunities for socializing with other women involve the herculean effort of packing up all the kids in the car to drive somewhere. She doesn’t even have the age-old mother’s release valve of banishing the kids outside and telling them to come back at mealtime, since safety concerns mean she has to keep them within sight at all times.

This is an incredibly unnatural way to live.

I think she's reading my mind. I was nervous about moving because I knew literally a hand-full of people and as far as I know they live in the adjacent town. I know them, but am not friend's with them. My next door neighbor has a two year old and I plan on reaching out to her, but I suspect she isn't a SAHM. The other people who live here are University students mostly. Great for babysitting, not good to talk about mutual things like diapers. Granted, I think it's great to have single friends, but I think they would get bored about my talking about teething and breastfeeding. The only alternative is to get involved with the local library again, but they don't start up until September. There's also a church group, which I need to get info on as well. Other than that, I have nobody to sit down with and drink tea and discuss things besides "this is orange." and "say 'cat'". There's no pressure release valve.

And funny this article should come up because on this very day, I wanted to go hide in bed and never come out for something really silly. It only takes a few silly things to make you feel a bit sad and lonely. Hubby comes home spouting off names. The only people I know are the people who work in my apartment complex.

But that isn't what sent me over the edge. Nope. Today, I went out walking with HB. His water bottle has issues and so I was careful to put it in a bag in such a way as not to spill. I threw my keys in and off we went. We got back a few minutes before the man came with the dishwasher. I had taken the water bottles out, but left the mail and the keys. Later on that afternoon, I had the car and wanted to run a few errands. I got us ready and made for the car. When I went to push the alarm button, water squirted out the sides of the fob. It was soaked. So I had to drag us back inside, which does not suit HB well, and try to fix the thing. This also makes HB unhappy as he likes keys and anything that he can press. So here I am with a screaming toddler, trying to figure out how to deactivate the alarms since I can't even get into the car without it going off much less drive. I feel overwhelmingly upset. I call Hubby who basically tells me he's busy. So much for a bit of sympathy. And that's why I wanted to crawl up in bed and not see the light of day. Because only the lonely SAHM understands why something that doesn't end the world makes us feel sad, lonely, and rejected.

If I had a friend I could call and say "I need a sympathetic ear and someone to come over and hang-out" I think things would have been better. But alas. This is not meant to be. Nor is the opportunity to go take a walk by oneself by hiring a babysitter, since money is an object for us.

Jen also posted this after reading the comments from the initial piece. There is an overwhelming number of people who have offered suggestions. I suppose my only suggestion is the one that I'm trying to follow: stay involved and don't hide in your house. Getting into something with the community makes you feel less isolated. And find a really good SAHM friend too. That I know takes time, but in the long run, it's always just good to have someone that you can call to help you get over the hump.

3 comments:

  1. I wish we lived closer together because I would love to be one of your SAHM in-real-life friends!

    I've been thinking about this quite a bit too. In California we lived near my parents and grandparents so I think this move is going to be a bit of a shock for me. I know there are other moms around but I'm painfully shy in real life... although I know I'm just going to have to get over it and go meet them!

    I hope you find a kindred SAHM soon in your new home! This whole moving thing is tough!

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  2. Thanks. I'd love to be your SAHM in-real-life friend too. But I think the internet is great too because otherwise I wouldn't have met the wonderful person that you are.

    I hope you make a real-life friend too. Moving is no fun. I can't imagine your situation though. As I was having my pity party, I reminded myself that it could have been worse. Poor Cam is suffering more than myself and here I am acting like a big baby.

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  3. I'm super glad to have met you, and all the other wonderful Catholic-Mommy-Blogging-friends we've made too.

    I don't think your acting like a big baby at all! Pregnancy hormones are surging through your body right now! That's really tough, along with taking care of a little one and moving. When we did the move when I was pregnant with Mae I felt like I was going crazy and I had a ton of family help near by! Hang in there! I'm always surprised by how tough the whole moving thing is.

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!