Sunday, April 6, 2008

Friends vs. relationships

As part of a project that Bella is doing, I recently examined my soul a bit deeper than I planned on during spring fever and spring cleaning. In fact, her questions sent me spiraling into a reflection of sorts. You'll see those play out on her blog sometime soon ... but for now I'm continuing my quest to figure out where I've been and where I'm going.

Since I wrote previous posts about the intense isolation I have experienced during motherhood (see here, here and here), I have come to terms with a number of things regarding the topic of relationships and friends.

I'm not sure that most new moms were left alone as much as I was -- and still am. I think most have their moms around more at least in that first year.

Regardless, I was alone way more than any new mom should be, especially with two crying babies. And, I'm still very much alone all week, but I do not feel as alone anymore and that is a big difference to me.

The reason is simple. You see, back in December when I took a couple weeks off from blogging I was sincerely worried about my life and how pathetic it seemed because I lacked flesh and blood visitors and friends. I did have one great friend, but I felt like I needed a bigger circle of friends, much like my single life included.

What I haven't mentioned is that soon after that, I went to the local library, and met another mom who just happened to be the head of a local moms group. She invited me out that very night for a moms night out. Desperate for friendships, I went and was instantly hooked.

I've joined moms groups hastily before so I wanted to move slowly into this one. In fact, truth be told, I haven't yet joined, but only because I'm lazy and unorganized not because I'm afraid.

These women were exactly what I had been missing in the first two years of motherhood. They are over-achieving mothers just like me, career-driven, smart, young and completely, utterly and totally laid-back.

And, 100 percent supportive.

They do not carry fancy bags, but rather talk about science and philosophy and writing as if it's second-nature. None of us dress nicely, and we can always be found down on the floor with our kids. If these women own cell phones, I have yet to see them using one. If they gossip, they do it well because despite being the second newest member, I've never seen them sitting in a clique, not even at Gymboree, not even after two months.

And, since I'm the only member with twins, I'm a bit of a lucky girl. They help me out -- a lot. I'm always outnumbered and they always jump in to help, whether it's spotting one of my girls on a piece of equipment or helping them upstairs. They don't ask; they just do. Those are my kind of friends. They just happen to be moms, too, and like me they put that first in their life.

What's great is that there is something to do with them every week. Every week, we have plans even if it's a simple gathering at a park.

Now, do I tell them I'm a blogger or not? What about you? Do you have a moms group or a supportive group of moms? Tell me about them. Do they know that you blog?


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18 comments:

Kitty said...

so funny - i posted about my need for mother friends tonight!
I don't share my blogging with everyone.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I have been part of an online mom's group since before my son was born. I couldn't have made it through without them.

Some of those moms do know about my blog and read it regularly. Some now blog themselves.

Shawn said...

Kitty -- Would love to check out your blog if you want to leave a link to it. If not, that's OK. You can email me directly, too. See profile.

And, I encourage you to get out and try and find them. If you're in that place, it's time to seek them out and start inviting them to do things.

MPJ: You know, only one of my friends that I know of has had a blog, and she doesn't anymore. I'd love to see some of my friends blogging! Old or new.

LauraC said...

I have a moms group I love, sounds very similar to yours. A subset of us who have been become very good friends are going on a beach trip next month without kids or husbands.

I waited until I considered myself friends with them to let them know about my blog. It was easier for me that way, so they could read old entries and see I was not writing about their lives.

I'm glad you found such a great group of women! I have no family here and having a group of like-minded moms has been extremely helpful. When Jon was in Australia, they rallied to help me with Nate and Alex. This past week, my friend lost her grandmother so we watched her daughter Saturday so they could prep for the service. It's been such a positive part of my life as a mom.

Candace & Anna said...

I have just recently started a group with all of the SAHM's at our church. Which is a big whopping number of 4 lol. We play at the part once a week or so and are planning a trip to the beach and the zoo! We have a few other moms that come when they can. Hanging with other Moms is very important to our sanity!

bella said...

I've been really lucky.
I went to a new moms group when Leo was just a baby. Didn't hit it off with the "group" but met two women there who became close friends. They also happened to be writers and we started our own writing group which has been going on for almost four years now. We just invited three more women to join.
Now that our kids are in preschool we don't have as many times with kids all together but we still meet once a week and have coffee.
As for the blogging. About half my friends know of my blog, the other half I've not told. Maybe one day I will.
Great post!

village mama said...

I love and respect your raw honest posts; it breaks my heart that you were/are so lonely. Mothering breaks & rips our hearts and loves it up too. Such an amazing/life altering experience...

I am MOST blessed with supportive mom friends and resources; but I'm not part of a clique. My most important relationships are one-on-one. I've met great moms via our midwifery, La Leche, drop in centres, hanging out at parks, and through my gym.

Everyone knows I blog, but not one other mom I know blogs, so it's never a topic of discussion.

Your new network sounds great!

baby names said...

I'm very happy to hear that.

InTheFastLane said...

There are really only two people that know that I blog and only one that reads it. But, my husband did tell a couple of our close friends that I blog and I have wondered if they got curious enough to try to find it. I would not be ready for all my friends to know, and really, even though I have a fairly large circle of friends, it is still hard to know who to really trust. And there are only a few that I could say that about.

Kitty said...

My blog is

www.growingwhileshrinking.wordpress.com

You can get it by clicking on my name in the comment area, I think.

shay said...

I just stumbled across your blog from another...and I'm hooked!

I just blogged about my need for friends and community. It's a chick thing:) I was very lucky to have a great group of friends when my kids were little and I met them online. some of them read my blog, I think...but we've all kind of scattered which is unfortunately what happens when your kids get to school age:(

I'm in a new town and a new phase and still in need of community. Great post and I'm glad you found a good group of moms!

Shelli said...

I may have mentioned this before, but well before my son was born, it seemed like some of my friends moved away and others just got too busy. I have never been a person with a lot of friends because I'm quiet and shy, and I don't join a lot of things - except for writing groups. So, I was a loner before my son was born, and after he was born, it didn't feel much different in that respect. Motherhood has not given me that loneliness - what loneliness I do feel comes from missing some terrific friends who moved. But in general, I'm quite happy being at home most of the time and being alone. Still, I DO need relationships/female companionship. I do not know ANY MOTHERS! I'm trying to figure out how to meet some right now, so you're an inspiration. I'll let you know how it goes...

I also have not had a mother to help me at all. That has been hard, so I sympathize with you. But you shouldn't sympathize with me because I only have one baby! And he's SO EASY. I'm very lucky. I really don't know what I would have done if mothering had been harder. Break down?!

Shelli said...

P.S. I have told several people about my blog, but no one I know in real-life cares to read it. Oh well. I have come to accept that there are bloggers and there are non-bloggers.

Karen said...

I have mom friends but none who blog. They might know I do but I'm sure they could care less. It's kind of surprising to me that they don't read or write blogs but it reminds me how very big the world is in our own back yards!

justagirl said...

Hi Shawn

I am just new to blogging and I have told one friend and am trying to get her to do the same, I know she will love it once she gets into it. I do find it hard getting into the blogging everyone seems to know each other. I am not good at getting my thoughts on paper, things just come out wrong and I sound like a bit of a plonker. But I do enjoy reading others posts and replying. I am making myself keep at it every few days as I am sure I will get better.


I went to antenatal classes when I was pregnant and meet one girl who am still friendly with three years later. Her friendship over the years has been so precious. Just knowing someone else out there was going through the same things as me made it easier some how.

I feel really bad saying this but the first two years of my daughters life were the worst two years of mine. I really didn't cope very well but I got through it. She is now nearly 15, and I have a son who is nearly three and it is a lot easier, I have learnt things this time.

thanks for your blog I will be popping in often.

Katherine

marta said...

I don't belong to any mom groups. I've a few friends who are moms and who blog, but not in the same way I do--they blog about their children and I rarely blog about my son.

I could never make myself join a mom group. I've got some kind of joiner resistant gene. Ever since my dad tried to get me to join the Brownies and I had to be dragged in kicking and screaming all the way. The upshot being is that when my son was very little, I had no mom friends at all. Most of the moms I know I "met" through blogging.

Sometimes I would've liked to know more moms, but usually I'm okay with stumbling around on my own. I don't really know how else to do things anyway.

musemother said...

Hi Shawn,
never had twins, but 2 babies 20 months apart, which felt overwhelming at the time. By No. 2 child I had been invited to a moms and tots group run by Babysitting Coop, which saved my sanity. Cannot imagine being a stayathome mom (even part-time as I was) without other moms, and writers around, but had to make a special effort as am a bit of a loner. Now with teens, I started a women's circle (see Bella's interview) which is really crucial to my ability to work at home, to see like-minded women 2x a month at least, and not stay cooped up in my little home office all the time.
good on you for keeping up your writing,
best
jenn
aka musemother

musemother said...

Hi Shawn,
never had twins, but 2 babies 20 months apart, which felt overwhelming at the time. By No. 2 child I had been invited to a moms and tots group run by Babysitting Coop, which saved my sanity. Cannot imagine being a stayathome mom (even part-time as I was) without other moms, and writers around, but had to make a special effort as am a bit of a loner. Now with teens, I started a women's circle (see Bella's interview) which is really crucial to my ability to work at home, to see like-minded women 2x a month at least, and not stay cooped up in my little home office all the time.
good on you for keeping up your writing,
best
jenn
aka musemother