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Where's the village?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm a SAHM to three children (and am pregnant with my 4th due in November). I live in a great town - we can walk everywhere, people are friendly, helpful, etc. We moved away from family a year ago and I'm really starting to feel their absence now that I'm 31 wks pregnant and in need of serious help. I have friends, and we help each other out, but most of my friends work at least part-time and the few moms I know who stay home full-time have a load of kids like me (3 under 5 for example) and are barely keeping their heads above water as it is. 

 

We swap childcare occasionally, but it's rare enough that I have to rely on my DH to take sick leave from work when I really need help. I am barely sleeping anymore (a combo of issues - pregnancy insomnia, kids waking multiple times at night, DH has to leave at 6:30 for work so I have to be up early, etc.). I just never get a nap during the week because only my youngest still naps and the older two, while they don't need constant supervision, are constantly coming and asking for snacks, etc. when I do finally collapse on a couch. I have to drag multiple kids to all my OB appointments, to the grocery store, etc. and I'm just freaking exhausted. 

 

School is starting up so my oldest will be in all day (he's going into the 1st grade) so that will lighten my load a little....but of course he's the easiest of the three. My 4yo will be in morning preK, so I'll be able to at least go to the grocery store with only one. I just wish I had more help. I know most people don't have help...so that got me thinking - when did this SAHM gig become a solo one? It used to be that most moms could at least afford a little cleaning help, but now that is such a luxury. My mom was a SAHM in the 70s  to five kids and talks about how lax things were (how you didn't worry as much either) and you'd just leave all your kids in the car when you went to the grocery store or put the 10 year old in charge and leave them all at home. Not that I'm planning to go that route, but I can see why things might have been a bit more manageable back then. Now I know why people don't often have four kids anymore!

 

It just seems like a lose-lose now for SAHMs. There are strict rules and warnings about safety and how we should never, ever take our eyes off our kids. But cleaning help, nanny help, etc. is expensive and barely anyone can afford it with regularity. And then our neighborhoods are packed with busy working families who don't have time and just aren't around to offer reciprocal support. So we're left alone to raise our kids without much support. And of course since we have really crappy family leave in our country, my DH has to conserve his sick/vacation leave like a hoarder for when the baby arrives. 

 

I just posted an ad on sitter city looking for a mother's helper. But we really can't afford it and I imagine I'll have slim pickings since most people work or go to school during the day. 

 

Anyone else frustrated by this?

post #2 of 25

I only have two, but I have had those same thoughts... I would work more on childcare swaps, etc., try to get something that's a regular schedule instead of an occasional thing.  I imagine if you talked to the other moms you know, they would feel the same way.  It doesn't have to be big, just a two-hours-every-Monday thing-- even just a little bit of time can help a lot...

post #3 of 25

Yes! I ask this question too. I can't understand why if you are home and I'm home we just can't be friends and help each other.

 

Not to many moms are home anymore and some of the nannies that I meet don't want to get together. "playdates" which I don't understand. Anyway, I feel your pain. I wish I had just one other SAHM to be with and help each other.

post #4 of 25

One thing that helped me was checking meetup.com for local playgroups.

post #5 of 25

I just had my 4th so I totally understand. I've had no choice but to hire a sitter more to help out since #4 spends most of his time screaming his head off. I do work very part time normally (I'm semi taking a maternity leave currently) so using a sitter isn't a foreign concept  but I don't need one even weekly sometimes for work. What I'm using my sitter for right now are things that if I had a village, they would be helping with! Things like taking my kids to school, picking them up, a ride home from gymnastics. We commute 20 minutes to school and then no one that lives near us does any of the sports that my kids are in so it is all up to me and now my sitter. 

 

I've really good luck with college students for sitter jobs like what you are looking for. 

post #6 of 25

I sympathize with you!  I only have 2 but live in a small town and have a very hard time finding other families of similar interests. Do you have a drop in childcare or have you checked craigslist or similar sites for your city.  If your two olders are in school and drop your 3rd at the drop in fr a few hours it shouldnt be too expensive.  I also advertise on cl as a drop in or part time sitter for people in your situation.  It works for me as a make a little extra money but I am not on a strict schedule with my families and my kids get friends to  play with.    My families only pay for what they use and I am really cheap since I am not looking fr huge profits.  Maybe you can find another SAHM in your area similar to this.  I know its not a real village but may be less expensive than official nannies or babysitters.  Good luck with the new baby!

post #7 of 25

When I moved and had babies or was pregnant, I always found my local La Leche League. I did not need nursing support, but I went for mom to mom support. I found some of the best support through that group, and there were always women with babies hanging off their boob, while the other ran around, just me and mine!  AND, there were always women planning playgroups for other days of the week...I cant say enough about the support i got.  I am still best friends with many of those ladies, even though I have moved since then.

post #8 of 25

I often have fantasies about starting an intentional-living community for families with young kids. I think the big problem is that most people are working and so concerned for their finances that they'd never take a risk like that. I would, but I can't move because my DH is very dedicated to the direction his job is taking, but having a real village would be the best thing that could happen to me.

 

Our quality of life really suffers because we are so isolated, and very few people are willing to take the risks to make it better. :(

 

I hope you find something that works for you. Keep trying! Remember that your kids need you to be in top form and do whatever you can to get there.

post #9 of 25

Oh yeah. Totally get it. I go to the parent-baby groups, and LLL and I've made kinda sorta friends with a few moms from those groups, but still...it feels very isolating. My husband also goes away on extended work trips, so it's even worse during those times. Actually, during those times, I've fantasized about being in a polygamous marriage where when he went away, I'd least I'd have sister wives to help. I'm not even religious.

post #10 of 25


LMAO, wouldn't it be great?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post
. Actually, during those times, I've fantasized about being in a polygamous marriage where when he went away, I'd least I'd have sister wives to help. I'm not even religious.


 

post #11 of 25

I think the appeal of "sister-wives" is to have women who are intimate friends there during the day. To just be with each other and help each other. Having those kinds of relationships would definitely improve our quality of life. Unfortunately, I think the patriarchy and oppression of FDLS and other polygamy enthusiasts completely negates that.

 

There is no rule saying that we can't have those kinds of relationships outside of that kind of situation. The problem is that most people don't trust the intimacy it requires, or have the patience and forbearance to build that kind of relationship without external pressure. That's why I like the idea of an intentional community. A small group of like-minded families who live within shouting distance of each other that share common activities. To build a village, as it were. I have this idea all the time I just have no idea how I would start or how to find other people who think like I do, and then... where would we build this paradise and on who's funds?My dreams get caught up in a lot of red tape and at the end of the day I'm still very lonesome and exhausted. It's all very unfortunate.

 

Anyway, I know how you all feel. I think this kind of loneliness is epidemic and something needs to be done. Argh!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post

Oh yeah. Totally get it. I go to the parent-baby groups, and LLL and I've made kinda sorta friends with a few moms from those groups, but still...it feels very isolating. My husband also goes away on extended work trips, so it's even worse during those times. Actually, during those times, I've fantasized about being in a polygamous marriage where when he went away, I'd least I'd have sister wives to help. I'm not even religious.



 

post #12 of 25

I do feel surrounded by a "village" so to speak. I'm not sure how it came about, lol. I think it started with a local drop in centre. A lot of the SAHM from our neighbourhood just bonded since our kids were the same age, then went to the same kindergarden, we saw each other around the neighbourhood, park... We started with playdates, everyone does playdates here. The parents don't stay, it's like a kid exchange. So I'd invite a classmate of my kid over, then next week, he'd have my son over, etc. Now everyday our house is a revolving door of kids coming and going (doesn't work for everyone, I know). But the plus side is since kids are so welcome here, my kids are welcome elsewhere as well! So I'm sure I'd have no problem finding a place for one or several of my kids if I needed to in a pinch, which is great to know. And if one of my "villagers" calls me saying she needs to take one of her kids to the dr, can i watch the other one, I say "sure" whenever it is possible. Because I know I might need her one day for a similar reason :)

 

My tips to finding a village (from my own experience) are;

 

 invite moms and kids over for coffee- don't worry if your house is messy or you "should" be doing something else instead. It's good for you and good way to open your home up for other moms.

 

Go to places where other moms are- in our case it's the local playground, drop in centres, library events, baby clubs...

 

If someone invites you somewhere- go! see first point above

 

If your kid considers someone a friend, try to befriend their mom, even casually. Something like "our kids play really well together and seem to have a lot in common. Maybe Mikey would like to come over sometime and play lego with Billy?" If possible offer the mom to hang out for a bit, have coffee etc (we do like our coffee around here, lol) Most SAHMs are just as lonely as you are, they'd all love some adult conversation.

 

Follow up a playdate with a phone call couple days or a week later "the kids played great! Junior is asking when we can do it again". Hopefully the other mom will have the forethought to take your kid over to her place for that "again", lol.

 

My village grew over the span of about 7 years. But I do love it and consider myself lucky. I hope you can find a village of your own!

 

 

 

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

I think the appeal of "sister-wives" is to have women who are intimate friends there during the day. To just be with each other and help each other. Having those kinds of relationships would definitely improve our quality of life. Unfortunately, I think the patriarchy and oppression of FDLS and other polygamy enthusiasts completely negates that.

 

There is no rule saying that we can't have those kinds of relationships outside of that kind of situation. The problem is that most people don't trust the intimacy it requires, or have the patience and forbearance to build that kind of relationship without external pressure. That's why I like the idea of an intentional community. A small group of like-minded families who live within shouting distance of each other that share common activities. To build a village, as it were. I have this idea all the time I just have no idea how I would start or how to find other people who think like I do, and then... where would we build this paradise and on who's funds?My dreams get caught up in a lot of red tape and at the end of the day I'm still very lonesome and exhausted. It's all very unfortunate.

 

Anyway, I know how you all feel. I think this kind of loneliness is epidemic and something needs to be done. Argh!
 



 



Definitely, holotheridea. The appeal was that I'd have a bunch of nice women who were almost, if not equally, invested in the well-being of my child and myself. And they'd live with me. All that other stuff is much less attractive. And even my utopian ideal of sister wives is very likely not reality. 

 

I've thought about the intentional community thing too. There was someone I came in contact with on a friend of a friend basis who was trying to form one. I like the idea. I think it has its pitfalls too. I mean, you'd have to be so careful about who was in that community. You'd have money invested, as well as emotions. 

 

But yeah...I'm sure there are less drastic ways to achieve the village effect, without joining the FLDS or throwing your money and life and energy into building an intentional community.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuba'sMama View Post

I do feel surrounded by a "village" so to speak. I'm not sure how it came about, lol. I think it started with a local drop in centre. A lot of the SAHM from our neighbourhood just bonded since our kids were the same age, then went to the same kindergarden, we saw each other around the neighbourhood, park... We started with playdates, everyone does playdates here. The parents don't stay, it's like a kid exchange. So I'd invite a classmate of my kid over, then next week, he'd have my son over, etc. Now everyday our house is a revolving door of kids coming and going (doesn't work for everyone, I know). But the plus side is since kids are so welcome here, my kids are welcome elsewhere as well! So I'm sure I'd have no problem finding a place for one or several of my kids if I needed to in a pinch, which is great to know. And if one of my "villagers" calls me saying she needs to take one of her kids to the dr, can i watch the other one, I say "sure" whenever it is possible. Because I know I might need her one day for a similar reason :)

 

My tips to finding a village (from my own experience) are;

 

 invite moms and kids over for coffee- don't worry if your house is messy or you "should" be doing something else instead. It's good for you and good way to open your home up for other moms.

 

Go to places where other moms are- in our case it's the local playground, drop in centres, library events, baby clubs...

 

If someone invites you somewhere- go! see first point above

 

If your kid considers someone a friend, try to befriend their mom, even casually. Something like "our kids play really well together and seem to have a lot in common. Maybe Mikey would like to come over sometime and play lego with Billy?" If possible offer the mom to hang out for a bit, have coffee etc (we do like our coffee around here, lol) Most SAHMs are just as lonely as you are, they'd all love some adult conversation.

 

Follow up a playdate with a phone call couple days or a week later "the kids played great! Junior is asking when we can do it again". Hopefully the other mom will have the forethought to take your kid over to her place for that "again", lol.

 

My village grew over the span of about 7 years. But I do love it and consider myself lucky. I hope you can find a village of your own!

 

 

 

These are good suggestions. Another thing I did was after attending the mom-baby drop ins a few times, I started a Facebook group and invited all the moms to join. We use that FB page as a place to exchange info and set up IRL playdates and activities. It's been such a useful tool for me. I'm not sure I would have had the nerve to ask for phone numbers and call someone and put them on the spot individually. The FB page allows me to feel like I'm respecting other people's boundaries, not pressuring them into things they don't want to do, not calling them at inconvenient times, etc.
 

 

post #15 of 25

I agree. There has to be some way, but I think the way our culture is set up - that the nuclear family is viewed as the "ideal", and that money rules all of our decisions.. basically sets SAHP's up for isolation that can only be remedied through years of hard work and some sacrifices. Some people are content with a superficial "child-care swap" situation or having a "friend" who is someone who you meet for coffee once a week. It's better than nothing but human beings need more cooperation than that to be happy. I think americans have lost the ability to relate to each other. 

 

I tend to be kind of extreme, though.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post
Definitely, holotheridea. The appeal was that I'd have a bunch of nice women who were almost, if not equally, invested in the well-being of my child and myself. And they'd live with me. All that other stuff is much less attractive. And even my utopian ideal of sister wives is very likely not reality. 

 

I've thought about the intentional community thing too. There was someone I came in contact with on a friend of a friend basis who was trying to form one. I like the idea. I think it has its pitfalls too. I mean, you'd have to be so careful about who was in that community. You'd have money invested, as well as emotions. 

 

But yeah...I'm sure there are less drastic ways to achieve the village effect, without joining the FLDS or throwing your money and life and energy into building an intentional community.



 

post #16 of 25

I was trying to offer some suggestions to the OP since she was having trouble finding some fellow like-minded moms. I was hoping I was being helpful. I don't think my life or relationships are "superficial". I consider my fellow mom friends to be the best friends I had in my entire life. Didn't I say that I could depend on them at the drop of a hat? Is that superficial? We don't meet once a week, but see each other almost every day. Our kids are just as at home here as they are at their houses. We support each other, go everywhere together, are involved in daily life together and our kids are as close as siblings, spending most of this past summer playing together everyday for hours. It is possible to have close friends in a Western country. We live in a big urban city. I didn't say it to be smug or superior, I just wanted to offer tips from my experience and give the OP some hope.

post #17 of 25

Kuba, I think you had some great suggestions. I can only hope that the few moms I know now will turn into a community like the one you have.

post #18 of 25

I feel really bad that you thought I was referring to your post. I wasn't at all. I was really referring to the mom-culture where I live, where "socializing" literally means having coffee once a week and talking about traffic and taxes for an hour. Your phrasing probably brought up some old rubbish for me, and maybe I reacted to it but not to you specifically at all. I've been to so many groups in my area and I get the shaft all the time. I'm too young, too radical, too blunt and too forward. I feel like I've tried everything but people interact with me only superficially, and I thought it was because of the social climate but there is a very good chance it's just me. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuba'sMama View Post

I was trying to offer some suggestions to the OP since she was having trouble finding some fellow like-minded moms. I was hoping I was being helpful. I don't think my life or relationships are "superficial". I consider my fellow mom friends to be the best friends I had in my entire life. Didn't I say that I could depend on them at the drop of a hat? Is that superficial? We don't meet once a week, but see each other almost every day. Our kids are just as at home here as they are at their houses. We support each other, go everywhere together, are involved in daily life together and our kids are as close as siblings, spending most of this past summer playing together everyday for hours. It is possible to have close friends in a Western country. We live in a big urban city. I didn't say it to be smug or superior, I just wanted to offer tips from my experience and give the OP some hope.



 

post #19 of 25

Ok, no offense taken orngtongue.gif

post #20 of 25


Kuba's Mom- Thank you for your tips- We are military and about to leave rural isolation in BFE for a very big foreign city. I have a lot of fears of continuing isolation there, (mostly because there isn't a lot of attachment parenting in military-mom circles) but I'm going to put your tips on my fridge and work at making these connections- Thanks:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuba'sMama View Post

I do feel surrounded by a "village" so to speak. I'm not sure how it came about, lol. I think it started with a local drop in centre. A lot of the SAHM from our neighbourhood just bonded since our kids were the same age, then went to the same kindergarden, we saw each other around the neighbourhood, park... We started with playdates, everyone does playdates here. The parents don't stay, it's like a kid exchange. So I'd invite a classmate of my kid over, then next week, he'd have my son over, etc. Now everyday our house is a revolving door of kids coming and going (doesn't work for everyone, I know). But the plus side is since kids are so welcome here, my kids are welcome elsewhere as well! So I'm sure I'd have no problem finding a place for one or several of my kids if I needed to in a pinch, which is great to know. And if one of my "villagers" calls me saying she needs to take one of her kids to the dr, can i watch the other one, I say "sure" whenever it is possible. Because I know I might need her one day for a similar reason :)

 

My tips to finding a village (from my own experience) are;

 

 invite moms and kids over for coffee- don't worry if your house is messy or you "should" be doing something else instead. It's good for you and good way to open your home up for other moms.

 

Go to places where other moms are- in our case it's the local playground, drop in centres, library events, baby clubs...

 

If someone invites you somewhere- go! see first point above

 

If your kid considers someone a friend, try to befriend their mom, even casually. Something like "our kids play really well together and seem to have a lot in common. Maybe Mikey would like to come over sometime and play lego with Billy?" If possible offer the mom to hang out for a bit, have coffee etc (we do like our coffee around here, lol) Most SAHMs are just as lonely as you are, they'd all love some adult conversation.

 

Follow up a playdate with a phone call couple days or a week later "the kids played great! Junior is asking when we can do it again". Hopefully the other mom will have the forethought to take your kid over to her place for that "again", lol.

 

My village grew over the span of about 7 years. But I do love it and consider myself lucky. I hope you can find a village of your own!

 

 

 



 

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