I just came back from a play date, my daughter is happily napping, and I’m filled with an unusual energy at having met someone new. It led me to think about how I got to this place. How did I, an extremely shy person who spent the first six months of my daughter’s life holed up in my house, become this social butterfly?
The answer, largely, is the public library. When winter 2014 ended, and my daughter reached the safety age (in my head) of six months, I ventured out to my local library for a story time specific for kids under one year old. Sitting next to me was a nanny, and the boy she was holding was standing on her knees bouncing and laughing. My daughter loved to do this too, so I put her on my knees, and the two bounced “together”. I began speaking to the nanny, and it turns out the kids were just about 6 weeks apart. The boy’s mom worked, but would occasionally come to story time. The nanny introduced me, and we exchanged numbers. This was my first official friend made purely from my daughter. Maybe because this mom worked, or maybe because she had a son, we never really got around to seeing each other outside of the library, but it was nice having someone I could contact and check in with once in a while. Our kids may one day be in the same class in school.
This broke the ice for me and I began going to every appropriate program at “my” library. I would be friendly, but still too shy to ask for any of the mom’s digits (yes, this is an awful lot like dating.) My next big break was when my daughter noticed another little girl had the same shoes as her, and a friendship was born. It still took probably a few months of happenstance meetings before I exchanged numbers with this mom. But now, 2 years later, our kids are still great friends, as are us moms. It’s become a little easier now. I’ve made a few friends through other moms, and a few of my “real” friends from before kids have now had children and joined me in the ‘burbs.
On days like this I’m proud of myself and the life I’ve given my daughter. I could easily still be that mom holed up in the house, but by taking that step out to the library that one day, I introduced my daughter to a world of play dates and friendship.
In those months when I was home, I joined several Facebook and Meetup.com groups, and even went to a few mom’s nights out. They were a great resource for information; but for me, didn’t produce any friendships. Other moms may make friends by going to the park, and I even know people who have made mom friends at the supermarket. For me, I think it was the small group setting, and seeing the same people week to week that helped me get out of my shell. If you’re currently one of those moms sitting home with a baby, feeling isolated and wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into, I encourage you to find something that works for you. There are plenty of us shy stay-at-home moms out there, you just need to find the environment that works for you.
This remembrance of those tough first few months is what inspired my book, Welcome to Motherhood. If you are a new mom, or know one, check out the book here.