Monday, July 18, 2011

I Need to Get Out More (with Friends)

I am a very social person. It's actually one of my traits that H really likes. He knows that in any social circumstance I can strike up a conversation with anyone and save him from having to talk.  Or rather, almost any circumstance.

I'm lonely.  A few months ago, we moved from a city where I knew a lot of people to a place where we had some family, but that was it.  But even before we moved, I found it hard to make time for the friends I already had.  For a long time, this lack of a social life was Q related.  She was and is a "momma's girl" and wanted to be attached to me (literally, I had her in a carrier any time we went out and to this day she loves being in the carrier when we are traveling) and this fact made socialization difficult.  I mean, sure, you can try to go out at night and meet up with people with your little one suctioned to you (again, many times literally as Q was also a massive comfort nurser and I learned early on how to do that on the go just so we could get out of the house), but it usually makes for an early night, especially if the meeting up place is at least an hour away by public transport.

Eventually, though, Q and H reached a detente and she allowed him to care for her at night (before that, she was strictly mine from 4pm on) and I, tentatively, dipped my toe back into the real world BUT then came the larger and much harder to deal with problem: my work.

You see, as a student mom, any time you are not taking care of your child (and even sometimes when you are) is supposed to be dedicated to work.  Work (in my case, researching and writing my dissertation) is supposed to be a full-time job on top of the full-time job of caring for your child.  Now, it would be nice in a way to blow off work a little, but I have been extremely fortunate and have received funding for this past year and this upcoming year.  This means that someone, or many someones, did not receive funding and that I darn better earn that which I have.

Okay, back to the move. So we moved and now I need to make new friends (I text, call, email, facebook, and skype with my old friends, but that doesn't work for trying to sip a glass of wine at a local eatery), but making new friends is like dating.  You need to find someone with common interests, you need to make plans with them, you need to keep up on the communications, you need to not let gaps in hanging out or talking get to long ...  I don't have time for dating.  I have immense guilt that I MUST take care of my child and that I MUST live up to my fellowships.  Q will be going to school 5 mornings a week this fall, which should help with getting in more work, but I feel guilty about that, too.

I don't think I'm unique in this situation, though. Probably, most moms - at least very social ones - would say the same whether they work at home, stay at home, work outside the home, go to school, it is difficult to maintain or make friends ... How do we do it? How do we make new friends in new places without making people think we've dropped the ball, because we've become distracted by potty-training and finishing an article and everything else?

Alright, enough about me.  Another activity with Q will be up on Wednesday!


  1. That's a good question for any of us work-at-home types - I've lived in a new place for three years, and still don't really have any friends! It can be VERY lonely, so if you figure out the magic formula for meeting new people without a workplace to go to (or even a Starbucks to hang out in!) let me know!

  2. Lindsay, so true! I am currently trying to make friends with other student moms and one mentioned that she lived here for a year pre-baby and didn't meet anyone, because she was always working at home! i don't know how people do it. Also, you don't have a starbucks??? I didn't know those places existed.

  3. Surprisingly, I have found that people are waaay more understanding of my limited time than before I had Alex. For example, I was *sopposed* to review an article for a journal...but never got around to it. I felt SO guilty, it was so unlike me to not follow through. Well, I finally told the editor I had a baby and he was like, "Oh, take allll the time you need! My wife is going to deliver our third pretty soon and I know exactly what you are dealing with. Don't worry about it!" It was such a relief to hear him say that...which reminds me, I still haven't gotten around to that review.... ;0

  4. Caroline, my post in 2 weeks is going to be on the life of the student mom and deadlines. Shhhhh!!! ;) See you at music class tomorrow?

  5. I think, and have heard, that it gets waaaay easier to socialize once the kiddos are in school. Not that it makes us feel any better, with little kids not near school-age, but still, "it gets better." :)

  6. sarah, will you make me a video? i'll post it. :)