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Building a Community

I’ve always been a bit of a loner. I’ve always had a few close friends but definitely not an extensive social circle. Before I got married I’d established my largest social circle ever. I had friends that fed all parts of my personality. I threw dinner parties and Sunday brunch. We had to split into two teams at Trivia night. I felt comfortable in my own skin, for once in my life. 

Then I moved across the country, got married and had a baby. I have a few momma friends, but my focus in life has changed, never mind the fact that I live a thousand miles away. I need to build a new community. Being socially isolated myself is one thing, but I want more for X. I want him to have social confidence, I want him to be comfortable playing with children his age and I want him to have a group of people he can depend on. Being in the military separates us from our extended family, I need to build our own community.

Today we attended the monthly meeting of a stay at home mom group. Honestly it was a super frustrating experience. The group schedule is only given to members (which prevents weirdos, makes sense). I emailed two months ago requesting the time and date for a new members event. They only do one a month, but it took 2 months for a reply. Then the date changed. I emailed to confirm my attendance and received no reply. I show up and all of the doors are locked. four or five other new moms show up and none of us have any more info. Finally someone from the church asked why we were wandering around outside and contacted the president of the group. So we all headed to the new destination. There was no one there to meet us and we wandered around outside for quite some time. We were right next to a playground full of preschool children so of course X fussed and cried to go play. Plus we live in Georgia, it was 90 degrees outside. So finally we realize where we’re supposed to be, which wasn’t baby proofed, had no toys and was full of dangerous things (pool cues, bats, etc.) I mean, really?? Only the president and one other existing member showed up, yet she conducted the meeting like we all knew what she was talking about, which we didn’t. There was no explanation of how the group works, what would be expected of us or anything useful. It was mostly vague references to past projects or places we didn’t know anything about. Then she forgot the sign up forms (which needs to be completed to receive the emails and newsletters for actual events) and told us to email the woman who took 2 months to respond to get copies sent to us.

There has to be an easier way to do this, right? Standing outside for an hour in the heat and then preventing my child from killing himself or another kid while a woman babbles about things that doesn’t make sense… It was all really frustrating.

How have you worked to build a community? How have you made other parent friends? How have you made friends for your kids?

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2

Letting Go

Before I was a mom my house was spotless and meticulously decorated. I baked bread, I made gourmet desserts. I threw dinner and brunch and Christmas parties. I wore makeup, I accessorized; darn, who are we kidding, I got dressed every day. These things mattered to me. It’s amazing how quickly priorities change, whether by choice or by force.

Now, my house is clean but cluttered. There is always a toy to be tripped over or creatively placed clean diapers strewn across the floor (do all kids love throwing their clean diapers around?).  I work hard to get a healthy dinner on the table and trust me, it’s not gourmet. If company comes over I repeatedly apologize for my house being messy and the thought of having more then 2 people over at once, throws me into a panic. Some days yoga pants and the t shirt I wore yesterday is the best I can do.

Up until recently, I’ve struggled with this shift. I’ve always managed my time well and completed tasks quickly. I assumed I would be one of those moms who was immaculately dressed with makeup and baby in a homemade bow tie. That I would still have time to throw parties and make desserts and make cute craft projects in my spare time. But I’m not. X has always been a high needs kid. For the first 3 months he would only sleep if he was on top of me. After that he would only sleep if I was next to him. Baby cuddles and iphone games became a way of life for me.

Now, he untidies our home more quickly then I tidy it. He likes to have me sit near him or engage with him while he plays. My priorities now center around creating stimulating, skill building, Montessori based activities for him. Making sure he’s getting the very best food I can serve him. Simple, comfortable clothes are his wardrobe; they allow him to play and if they get muddy or covered in finger paint, I don’t care. In fact, the same goes for me. Simple and comfortable is my wardrobe as well because I’m chasing him around the playground and yogurt or almond butter invariably gets wiped on me at some point through out the day. Engaging him and his interests, spending quality time together and showing him the world are now my priorities. And to accomplish those, I need to let go of my previous priorities, and that’s ok. He’s a happy, well fed, smart, energetic, loving, curious, outgoing, beautiful child. And that is the best thing I could ever hope to accomplish.

But I need to remember myself, too. Doing things I love and relaxing are important too. I can’t completely loose myself and expect to be the best mom, wife and woman I can be. I forget this often. It’s ok to drink a cup of coffee and read a good book while X is napping. The dishes will still be there later, I can take a few moments to draw or sew or create in the few hours a day I have to myself. It’s ok to take a nap during the day when we’ve had back to back to back nights where X wakes every 15 minutes. WE are more important then a spotless home or fresh baked bread. 

And sometimes, a game of peek-a-boo under a blanket, is the most important thing in the world I could be doing.

peeka1 peeka2 

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Fine Motor and Large Motor Activity: Large Object Stacking

X loves building. He loves his Mega Bloks, wooden blocks, etc. Building is one of the activities that holds his attention the longest. My husband also loves building, so it’s an activity they often do together happily. Building is great for fine motor development, hand eye coordination, balance… The list goes on. I wanted to build on that list though! Couldn’t we find a way to work in some gross motor development too?? Of course!
I’ve been collecting empty containers and boxes and such to use in different activities and crafts. Today we pulled them out and did some large scale building! Not only did he work on all the great skills above, but he need to stand up and down to stack the items higher and higher! Then he got to play Godzilla and run through knocking them all down!

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We had a blast, worked in some important skills and it didn’t cost a penny!

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