I have to admit I do take time for myself thanks, in part, to my husband, who is very supportive. I am assuming he realizes I am a much better wife and mother when I do it. I also think he enjoys having the kids all to himself for a weekend with the freedom to do whatever he wants with them.
I had a baby on January 17, and on April 15 (while still on maternity leave) I was off to South Padre Island, Texas, with my breast pump in tow, to hang with my college girlfriends. I assure you Spring Break was over and we were not, repeat, NOT, frolicking with co-eds. Of course, I felt guilty leaving my husband with our two-year-old and three-month-old, and I certainly was not thrilled about putting on a bathing suit 12 weeks post-partum (YIKES), but after a long, extremely cold Chicago winter, most of which I spent isolated in my home on maternity leave, I needed this warm escape. As I told my friends, being with them was much needed “food for my soul”. There is something so inexplicably comforting and relaxing about remembering “the good ole days” with women you once spent every waking moment with. I love nothing more than laughing until you cry remembering good times with old friends, and instantly feeling the same familiar connection you did so many years ago. I was also happy to make a few new connections as we bonded over parenting, careers, similar interests or the celebs on our “if you could list”. It occurred to me on my way home that there was a wealth of mothering knowledge among these fantastic women and I can only hope they are willing to share some of their wisdom with me, as needed, since I have some of the youngest kids of the bunch.
As a full-time working outside of the home mom, I have struggled making new friends in my new suburban community. Unfortunately, it has not been a priority for me as I have spent the last 5 years of my life trying to get pregnant or being pregnant. Now that our family is finally complete, I am trying to figure out how to make meaningful connections with women in my relatively new home, but incestuous, established community. I went to a different school for almost every year of grammar school, so I am amazed how many people were born, raised and still live in my community with their families today. It makes it difficult to meet women who are willing to make a new friend, since we all are so busy and can barely keep up with our old – or, in my neighborhood, lifelong – friends.
I have spent a lot of time reflecting on how I made friends in the past. I have come to the conclusion that I always became friends with a very special, generous social being who was always willing to bring me into their fold of friends or along for the ride. I have to thank these very special women in my life, Leslie (NY), Beth Anne (IN), Jami (OK), Cathy (OK), Janell (OU), Lynn (KS/NJ), Tara (Chicago), Lisette (Chicago), and Stephanie (Chicago). Without these women, my life would not be nearly as full and I probably would not have met all the other fabulous women in my life (you know who you are).
Since it would be so much easier to enjoy some quick “me time” with women in my community, I can only hope to forge a few new, meaningful connections with women in my new ‘hood.