I'm a first time SAHD to a beautiful 7mo. DD. I'm also a wedding photographer and work some weekends but have tons of post production I have to do on my computer at home whenever I can find the time. I used to be a bartender and, though I don't really miss the customers or the dynamic, this is really the first time in my life I've felt incredibly isolated. Well, that sounds a bit dramatic and I only feel that way sometimes but it does happen. I love being a SAHD so much but when the loneliness creeps in you can feel pretty, well, alone.
What makes this feeling of loneliness much more unbearable than it might otherwise be is the fact that my friends live an hour away, as do my sister and my dad. My wife and I have an understanding that I should have one night a week where I can get out and socialize but that maybe happens only once a month because our DD isn't a good sleeper and my DW is up most of the night feeding her then getting up at 5 am to get ready for work. She also takes care of DD while I photograph weddings about twice a month. So I feel like I really need to give her a break as often as possible. When I do get out I sometimes don't have the energy to travel the two hour round trip to see friends and family. Also, my bed time is around 10 pm these days.
I know there are parenting groups out there, there's even a local dads group I found but they only get together when DD has her morning nap. Also, they tend to mostly talk sports which I'm not interested in. Then there are the moms groups. I haven't tried to approach one but I do get the sense that if I did it would be weird. I don't know, maybe it wouldn't, but when I'm out at the park or at the library with DD there is the feeling of being an outsider. On one occasion at a library "cuddle and read time" a mom introduced herself and we started talking about our kids briefly before I had to leave. It felt slightly awkward to me because that's never happened before but it also felt great, like maybe I could make a friend. About a month later I spotted her and her DD at another library and struck up another conversation but this time I got a weird vibe like she thought I was hitting on her or something. This could of course just be in my head, but it does seem easier, socially, for females to be stay at home parents.
This all came crashing down on me earlier today as I was driving my DD down for a nap (she's teething now and will only go down for naps in the car or with DW's boobs). After she fell asleep in the car I found a nice, shady place to park and read until she woke up. Just as I parked I saw a group of moms jog by with their strollers, laughing and having a great time. There I was, like every other day, just me and my book. As that spot I chose to park began to loose its shade I decided to move to another spot in a nice, quiet neighborhood near where I live. I was parked for about a half hour with DD asleep, reading my book, when the lady who lives in the house I'm parked in front of comes up to the car and says "You're making me really nervous sitting here in front of my house". By the time I tried to quietly explain to her that I was trying to let my daughter sleep, DD had woken up as if a bomb had gone off, screaming and crying. I drove off immediately but was unable to get DD back to sleep. I understand where this lady is coming from but couldn't help feel that the same situation would not have happened if I were a woman. Now I know women have it tough, my DW probably has it tougher, but this did affect me. I mean Christ, here I am, a caring SAHD just trying to get my DD some decent nap time and I'm treated like a potential criminal.
Anyway, enough of my rant. Are there any other SAHDs who feel the same or am I being too sensitive? Any suggestions?