The road, cont.

Wow, that tapped into a lot of hurt yesterday. It sounds like so many of us are just tired of fighting through each day.

I'm sad that the post turned into a battle between people who would like accommodations for serious health issues and people who feel hurt by being asked to make those accommodations. I was thinking about it all last night, about how I am so willing to make accommodations now, when I wasn't so much a few years ago. I think one of the reasons is that my months of gluten intolerance* were so hard emotionally. I can remember just feeling like all the strength and will had been sucked out of me because I was afraid to eat anything I hadn't prepared from scratch myself. Friends would ask me to go places with them, with our kids, and I'd have to turn them down because I couldn't face going someplace and knowing there might not be anything safe I could eat. And all it was for me was intense stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, and hot flashes.

Thinking about kids being in that situation all day, of not feeling safe, of feeling like you could get sick at any moment from something you have no control over, breaks my heart. Even if it's not immediate danger of dying, it's still imprisoning to know you could develop hives, itching, difficulty breathing, wheezing, migraines, or any of the other symptoms.

Anyway, that is only part of it. I figured out that what makes me more willing to help other people is that I can finally ask for help for myself. For years, I really could not ask anyone for help. I spent years and years white-knuckling it through, feeling like I had to be the most competent, have it all together, be on top of everything. And that asking for help was something I couldn't do.

Honestly, of all the gifts divorce has given me, the ability–the need–to ask for help and accept it has been one of the best. And as I get deeper and deeper into being enmeshed with other people when I ask them for help and offer to help them, I've started to feel my false, painful boundaries disintegrating and my integrity of self increasing.

Someone commented on the evening routines post that she was lonely. Parenting is *such* a lonely proposition a great deal of the time. Reaching out and getting enmeshed helps, though. A lot.

It is my strong wish for all of us that this new year brings us the ability and desire to ask for and accept help from others.

* In summer and fall of 2006, my body was rebelling against my bad marriage and I developed a gluten intolerance (which may or may not be the correct term for it). Eating anything with even a tiny bit of gluten, even if I didn't realize it was there (soy sauce is hidden in a TON of foods!), would make me feel sick for hours. About a week after I told my then-husband that I needed to get out of the marriage I could eat wheat and gluten again with no symptoms. Taught me to pay attention to my body.

69 thoughts on “The road, cont.”

  1. As for asking for help, I realize I am just not there yet. I tell myself that So-and-so can do it without help, so I should be able to do it, too. I feel guilty whenever I leave my son with my husband so I can take a break. I’m better at asking for emotional support, but even then I’m starting to feel like a load.And since I’m the kind of cheesy person who finds inspiration from song lyrics, I’m totally digging on the song “Lift Me Up” by Kate Voegele (thanks, iTunes Genius!). An excerpt:
    “…And that a day will come when the fight is won/and I think that day has just begun.”
    Hear the full song here at:

  2. I defintiely feel very lonely and alone. Becoming a mom has been so wonderful on one hand and a great way to meet some great people. On the other hand, I have felt much more isolated (I’m a natural introvert so I’m sure that doesn’t help things).Asking for help – so not there yet. Feel inadequate as it is so to ask for help makes me feel even more so. I know that’s not rational. I love to help others and wouldn’t think that about them while I was helping them but I haven’t been able to go the other direction (yet).
    Yesterday’s posts were rough to read. I didn’t post but reading them made me feel so sad and really sat with me.

  3. When my daughter and I started working with a social worker on my daughter’s tactile issues, I had to fill out some surveys. Actually, I had to repeat them every 6 months. (The surveys were conditions of some of their funding.) From day one, I managed to score in the “Isolated” category, and although my daughter and I progressed/improved in every other category during those two years, my final survey still had me firmly ensconced in “Isolated” land.I’m with mo and Shannon, above. It simply feels impossible to ask for help sometimes or impossible to accept it. I’m doing better at it lately, but it’s an uphill climb, not made easier by my upbringing, which discouraged asking for help. But I know this, so I’m trying to be a better model for my daughter.
    That said, it does often feel funny to be 35 years old and be reminded by my own husband to “use your words” or “don’t forget to ask for help if you need it.” I’m waiting for the day my 4 yo says it to me, like we so often say to her. (Maybe then it’ll stick.)

  4. Mo’s right, yesterday was rough to read through.I have to say, I have always been pretty good about asking for help. And I’m pretty good at knowing when to quit. And pretty good at saying the mess can wait, I want to crawl into bed. I’m not a type-A person.
    But becoming a parent taught me humility. And it taught me that I don’t know what other people are going through. I’m embarrassed to say this, but before I had kids, I believed children with a whole host of health problems like allergies, etc., were the end-result of over-coddling parents. Now I know that to be utter bullshit. And I am very sorry I ever felt that way. But it took being a parent for me to learn it.
    And even if that were to be the case, that’s not my problem, my concern should be with cutting people some slack and throwing a little understanding their way. Because I don’t know their story and I don’t know their struggles. Life is hard enough without me climbing on top of you to get a spot on the raft. It’s not worth it, to do that.
    And like several posters said yesterday, you don’t know, it could be you needing a hand tomorrow so best pay attention to that cosmic wheel.
    I don’t know. We’re all struggling. It helps if we can be gentle with one another.

  5. For me, thinking about yesterday’s discussion all night, I came to thinking about how much anxiety there is in all of our lives right now. Parenting is an anxiety-causing experience – you have total responsibility for the health and happiness of your children (at first – eventually they can take over some of it!) – and yet there are so many things we cannot control. Responsible plus lack of control = a serious recipe for stress.And then there’s the economic and political environment we are currently facing in the US. Many of us are facing fears that things won’t be better in the future, maybe we’ll never be as well off as our parents were, that hard times are coming. Some of us are already having these hard times. Uncertainty, anxiety, fear. If you’re feeling besieged by the world, someone else’s asking for accommodation can be seen as a threat. Life begins to seem like a zero-sum game – if they get theirs, I won’t get mine. We have to struggle against the feeling that we need to circle the wagons and protect our own, and realize that by reaching out and creating community, we are truly protecting our own.

  6. Last year, I made a new year’s resolution to ask for help more often. It works – not all the time, of course. I feel guilty when I ask for help, but I also know that if I ask a friend for help, she must feel great because now she has the freedom to ask me for help. OR now she can feel great about herself because she doesn’t need any help! It’s a win-win situation, right?My best friend’s husband, who was in his 30s, died this year. I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. That meant I turned to friends and neighbors to help me with my kids much more often than I ever did. My husband (or my friends) would shoo me out of the house to be with my best friend, reassuring me that he and the kids would be fine. And they were.
    It’s too bad that it took a horrible situation for me to realize that asking for help is good for everyone, not just a way for me to skip out on things.

  7. Asking for help is something I suck at, frankly. It makes me feel guilty that I’m not able to do it all. Like I’m admitting failure, and that’s something to be ashamed of. Realizing these things about my emotional progression in the last few years have made it easier to ask for help, which is much like saying having ice picks on your toes makes it easier to climb Mount Everest. Still really freaking hard.And Moxie, about the listening to your body thing…wow. Hit a nerve with me. During the first 6 months of my first marriage, I lost down to 115 pounds. (Everything made my stomach hurt.) I am almost 6 feet tall. It was not pretty. Makes me especially sensitive to all the portrayals of waif-like beauty I see in the media, because all I can think when I see them is MAN, they must be MISERABLE, closely followed by “Please dear lord don’t let my daughter think that’s normal or ok or in any way to be aspired to, amen.”

  8. One of the hardest things about needing help is that it narrows our vision so that we assume our experience is everyone else’s. How can I ask for help when we’re all desperate and swamped and . . . oh, wait. That person doesn’t have a sick child/absent spouse/work crisis/recurrence of depression/name your life poison. Maybe that person actually could pick up my kid from preschool or drop something off for me or . . .And if that person is actually as swamped as I am, well, at least we can commiserate.
    Ask for help. Take what you’re offered. Pay back or pay it forwards or both.
    And to quote Mr Rogers, Look for the helpers. (and be one, when circumstances allow)

  9. @Shannon, one of the most important things I learned in the breastfeeding support group is that the people you think have it together and are doing it all without help usually don’t think they have it together and have help you don’t see. I learned this when someone told me that they wished they had things as together as I did. I was shocked to hear that, because I felt like my life was flying apart in 50 different directions, and I was leaning heavily on visits from my parents to help me get through.Of course, I still don’t ask for help as much as I should.
    And I want to sincerely apologize if I offended anyone with anything I posted yesterday. Rudyinparis is right- we don’t know what is going on in other people’s lives. I think everyone posting here is trying to do their best for their kids, and we should all remember that. One of the things that I’ve been working on in general in my life is being able to disagree without losing empathy (election year, anyone?)- yesterday, I didn’t do such a great job with that.

  10. @Slim, my problem is that I realize that another person doesn’t have my specific “life poison,” but I always assume she has it much worse and I shouldn’t ask for help because of my petty problems. Oh sure, I have depression, but Such-and-Such has REAL problems (marriage, sick child, fertility issues, financial issues), and I can’t be a burden on her.Also, as I read over these comments, it really makes me wonder what it is about people that makes us feel the need to put up a front of being totally fine and not in need of help. How much easier would it be if we could all be honest and admit that this is hard for EVERYONE? I don’t know enough about psychology/sociology/anthropology, but there must be something that makes us fear appearing weak to others. But feeling like the only weak one only makes us feel weaker.

  11. Having worked in non-profit for too long, I have made a career out of asking for help. Asking for money mostly, and asking shamelessly. My philosophy early on was that I was doing people a favour by giving them an opportunity to do good – everyone wants to and it’s work to do it well so if I create an opportunity for someone, I’m actually helping them out.Although my need for help is less acute than it is for so many others, it exists nonetheless. I have a mum I can phone for company grocery shopping when an outing feels impossible and a neighbour I can phone for coffee when I think I might otherwise lock my daughter in the dryer.
    All that to say that if you don’t feel like you can ask for help, it might work to get into the habit of offering it. Not generic, “if you need anything, call me” offers, but specific, “I made too much soup – can I bring a loaf of bread and this soup by for you on my way to yoga?” offers. When you offer out of your abundance it is easy to give and easy for another to receive. Over time, as we experience the pleasure of giving we find we want to give others the same pleasure by graciously receiving what they have to give.
    And a flip-side to this is remembering to say no and to honour other people’s no’s. I often say to people as preface to a request for anything, “I am trusting you to say no if this won’t work for you.” Similarly if someone asks for something I can’t provide I say something like “I’m sorry, I can’t this time. I hope you will ask again though because I would love to another time.”
    We would all rather be in a position to give than receive, wouldn’t we? Probably our kids model this best to us though – T. has asked for “hop” about 76 times so far this morning, quite shamelessly I might add. How long til I can ask her to pour me more coffee?

  12. I have to say that I didn’t read the comments yesterday; after the first 3-4 it was clear which way the discussion was heading, and it’s just too painful for me to see a community like this split apart, so I stayed away.Asking for help is one of the hardest things for me, and one of my enduring regrets is that I didn’t ask for more when my son was a wee thing a year ago. I’ve thought long and hard about it over a number of years, and realized that I don’t like to ask for help or accept it when it’s offered because I don’t want to feel indebted to the person who helps me.
    I thought THAT through for a long time and realized that I don’t want to feel indebted because I’m afraid they’ll call in that debt some day, and I (who was falling apart enough to ask for help, remember?) won’t be able to repay. So I try to “pay it forward,” help others to the extent I can without asking for help myself, in hopes of…what, exactly? “Hoarding” in some sense? And what exactly WOULD happen if someone called in a debt and I couldn’t repay? I’m really not sure, and I haven’t a clue what to do about it.

  13. I don’t comment much, but I read and think a lot about what is written here. Moxie, I think you really hit the nail on the head connecting yesterday’s posts to asking for or not asking for help. Accommodation is all about creating a safe environment for everyone, even if it results in a different one than might have been otherwise. But it does require giving and getting help. Including help figuring out what lunch to send with your child when favorite foods are excluded because of another child’s allergies.About help: one reason I rarely comment here is that my family has chosen a non-traditional path and I usually end up feeling like my comments are not very relevant to others. We live communally with another family. Four moms and four kids in one big house. It isn’t always easy, but it is our way to manage some of the struggles. I feel much less isolated because even when my partner is away, there is usually someone else around. But it does require acknowledging all the time that we need help.

  14. We are all way too hard on ourselves.A few things come to mind when I read these posts:
    1) The archetype of the woman who “does it all with grace” is a much-revered fiction. You know it – the career mom with ten kids who cooks everything from scratch, makes their clothes, looks fantastic, exercises while making cookies, never gains weight, has a clean house (without help), has multiple orgasms, bursts through the glass ceiling, sexually satisfies her husband, throws great parties, yadda yadda yadda. AND, of course, she never EVER asks for help because she’s so darned together.
    Impossible. Freaking impossible. Unless she is a genetic anomaly who never ever needs sleep and successfully avoids the health consequences that extended sleep deprivation will eventually cause.
    I remember when I started mat leave and was in the thick of newborn colic, I heard about a colleague who, after giving birth to triplets, promptly wrote a book. Yup. That’s right. A BOOK. I remember pushing her up on to the pedestal described above — she must be superwoman!! But, in reality, was she? Or was she so overwhelmed by her new life that she coped by diving back in to academia?
    The really really hard part was that her clueless male colleagues thought this was just grand, and wondered why other recent mothers weren’t using their maternity leave to churn out a few more publications. My fav. moment of this ilk was when my immediate colleague (an older gay man) suggested we return to working on a few neglected papers once my son was a month old or so, because, and I quote, “I’ll have so much free time on my hands!!” HA!
    But I still felt guilty. Like I SHOULD be that superwoman. Like I should do everything, with grace, and without ever asking for help.
    We are way way too hard on ourselves. Asking for help is not an admission of defeat. Being bedridden post-labour was my asking-for-help immersion therapy. And I still find it hard because, although I know the archetype is ridiculous, there are so many things in my/our world reinforcing the revering of that fictitious woman. But it gets easier every time I do ask for help.
    2) @ACJ – I love your suggestion about giving first.
    3) It seems to me that the modern parenting style (where we are all little mommy-islands) is a recent, and frankly dysfunctional, phenomenon. We are separated from our extended families, isolated from our chosen families, forced back to work too soon, and left feeling like we are all alone and have no one to ask for help. Or like everyone else is dealing with too much other crap that asking them for help is a burden. Or that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s really really sad.
    But, there is hope because sites like this one exist. I can’t share my butternut squash soup bounty with you all (with bacon and leeks, mmmmmmm), but I hope I can offer something of use in my ramblings.

  15. @A – your communal lifestyle sounds like an antidote to the isolation I think is becoming par-for-the-modern-motherhood-course. I welcome your comments so as to broaden the perspectives I’ve created from my own mommy-island.

  16. @Moxie, after your gluten intolerance experience, did you get tested for celiac disease? I ask because “they” (medical experts) are realizing it’s a disease with multiple presentations, including no symptoms at all — but one that if untreated still carries serious consequences (like an increased risk of some kinds of cancer). I know that resuming a gluten-free lifestyle is probably not a fun thing to contemplate (I’ve gone GF myself at times so know how hard it is), but it seems to me its possible that someone with celiac might be asymptomatic in lower stress times and symptomatic in high stress times, so it might be worth getting tested if you haven’t.

  17. I just wanted to comment on Moxie’s bout with gluten intolerance. Shortly after getting married for the first time, I developed chronic insomnia- I could not sleep at night, was exhausted all day. I eliminated caffeine, exercised to exhaust myself physically, tried herbal remedies, acupuncture, all to no avail. I understand all too well how sleep deprivation can be used as a method of torture.The day I made the decision to leave that marriage, I slept like a baby for the first time in five and a half years. It didn’t even take leaving, just deciding to leave. And I’ve slept great ever since. Learning to listen to your body is one of those lessons that we each have to learn for ourselves- I think it’s a hard one to learn from just hearing about someone else’s experience.
    I completely missed yesterday’s post, and I think I’ve only commented a few times, but Moxie and the wisdom from the comments have been an invaluable resource for me.

  18. My mum brought up my brother and me almost single-handeldly as my father was away the working week for most of my childhood and teens. She did a great job considering we were away from family and friends as we were following my dad around across the country during this time. I still think, she never had anyone and she managed, so I guess I can too. Strange how we tend to mirror what happens in our families as I now live far from family and friends and with the exception of my MIL(who really is a great help and would take on even more if I asked her) have no one to ask for a hand if I need it. I’ve definitely gotten better though in the last year and a half, since DD was born, but I still think, heck, if mum could do it, why do I have to ask anyone for help.This goes so much against the Italian way of doing things as everyone relies on immediate family an even neighbours for help bringing up children. For example, people find it odd that when my husband is away on buisness, I don’t eat with my MIL, or, to be more precise, have her cook for me (and my kids). Or that I don’t leave my kids with my MIL so I can go to the supermarket, or run errands ( well, I do if I’m really desperate). Daughters do that here if their mums are retired or house-wives. But, hell, I just can’t. Don’t know if this is simply due to pride, which is something I am guilty of, or, just my up-bringin, but that’s the way it is.

  19. The “everyone else is doing it” “my mother did it” is a killer. My mom did it, too. But she also lived in an age when a lot of parenting was sending your children outside to play for hours by themselves. AND if she could have gotten help, I bet she’d have been all over that.

  20. I’ve spent the past year in total poor, poor pitiful me territory – working full time through surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, more surgery…. I’ve been very good at allowing myself to whine ;-)But asking for help, not so good. A big part of the problem was, what could anyone do? Make meals? The few times people insisted, the smell made me ill. Go with me to chemo or radiation? I really didn’t need that. I kep trying to think of what to ask for when people said “can I help”, and I was miserable and desperate, but I couldn’t delegate the pain, nausea or fatigue 😉
    With childcare, it’s easier to delegate, but if you are truly overwhelmed, it seems dicey to accept help, because it will be expected you will reciprocate and you may not feel that is possible. Also, a lot of people’s kids are just plain impossible (to me) to handle. When I would get asked to watch a child who routinely jumps off the top of the tall slide or makes himself bleed (not a cutter, but similar), I just feel very helpless and scared. I used to sit a diabetic child, and he was not completely “with the program” – I am not a trained early child care specialist, just a mom, and it totally freaked me out and wore me out, too.

  21. I think that asking for help is something that is specifically difficult for women – we’re care givers, not care receivers. One thing I’ve noticed, as well, in my own life is that mothers tend to offer help for their sons, but to wait for the daughters to ask – whether it’s fear of interfering or simply expecting the daughters to get through because they had to. And it’s something that I’m working on with my own mother.Over the last year, I had two cancer scares and was diagnosed with severe (actually, extremely severe) sleep apnea, and have discovered at times that I am utterly incapable of taking care of myself (forgetting to eat for several days, as an example). And I have been forced to ask for help from all corners, from the university, from my parents (whom I had up until that point been largely caring for), from my partner, who this week has had to give up work and stay with me to keep an eye on me while I take some pretty high powered sleep meds. I’m not used to it, and I’m not good at it yet, but I’m trying like hell.

  22. I agree that sometimes we feel guilty asking for help because someone else likely has it worse. As I mentioned in my comment yesterday, my stepson spent 6 weeks in the local Children’s Hospital last summer. It was very scary and not the easiest situation to manage with a very sick kid plus his 14 month old brother. I did ask my mom to come out and help with the little one but still I wanted to keep everything together and as normal as possible almost as a defense mechanism. My husband’s co-workers did rally around us and just went grocery shopping and brought over food to at least be doing something. But I felt really really guilty asking for help when we were so fortunate as to walk out of there with our kid…alive and well for the most part. Seriously, I am still traumatized about some of the things I overheard/saw during my son’s stay there. Not every parent is a fortunate as we were.After my toddler was born, I kept hearing how hard it was and that it got better and to ask for help, etc, etc. But I was truly fortunate and had a very easy recovery from my c-section and likely the very easiest baby in the world. Of course, my dad was dying of an aggressive form of cancer and my husband had been downsized. Still when anyone asked if they could help, the only thing I needed was a magic wand to make everything better. The mommy gig was the only thing keeping me sane.
    I know the above paragraphs sound awful but really aside from a few bumps in the road, we lead pretty blessed lives.
    And sometimes, when we do ask for help, we get a lame excuse in return. Note to self : don’t ask SIL for help.

  23. As a part of my practicing asking for help, I asked my MIL to come stay with me for a day, one week after my coming c-section. Would she please come entertain my daughter? Or hold the baby while I do something? She immediately agreed to come because she’d love to “visit” with us all. Which means she’s going to come as a guest, not a helper. So I tried to clarify why I think I’ll need a hand that day. And then? I had to listen to 20 minutes worth of “When I Had My Boys, I NEVER Had Any Help,” and another 10 of “You’re So Lucky To Have A Husband Who Will Change Diapers.” So, I guess the area where I need to practice is in choosing who to ask? I guess?Also, ACJ’s examples of language to use to keep the channels of communication open and honest are priceless to me. Figuring out what to say is often a place where I get stuck and bail out on asking for help.

  24. I too have thought a lot about yesterday’s post – it seems that it touched issues with a lot of us. I actually read all the comments and was very heartened that by the end there was more clarification and understanding.I could see both sides of the point of view and one thing that came across very clearly to me was the feeling that ‘I am so overburdened right now that I CANNOT take on any further issues directly outside my current situation’. That is a feeling that I can relate to at the moment, in a minor way. I’m pregnant (wooppee!) but have 24/7 morning sickness, nausea, exhaustion, faintness and breathlessness. I have had to pare down my life to what I can manage right now, the priorities, taking care of my daughter, taking care of myself, and making sure we all have clean clothes and decent food to eat. Sometimes the honest response is to say ‘I just cannot deal with that as well at the moment’.
    I agree that asking for help is one of the things to do, but I know personally that sometimes I am so much in ‘head down coping mechanism’, that if help was offered I wouldn’t know what help to ask for.
    I have also found it difficult because at times I have accepted help, only to have my face rubbed in it. An example – it was my little girl’s 1st birthday recently and the in-laws expected a 3 course meal for 10 at our house (don’t ask!). Due to the nausea, I was not on for cooking for that many, so various other options were discussed and in the end, my kind MIL brought over some home cooked meat dishes and we bought in the rest from Marks and Spencers. All well and good and everyone seemed to enjoy the meal, expect one aunt who made several pointed comments about the fact that MIL had cooked and not me. I try not to let it get to me, but it did make me think several times about accepting a baby-sitting offer from my in-laws so that I can attend my first antenatal appointment. Maybe accepting help from the in-laws is always a slightly double edged sword!

  25. @ chaosgirl – I hope you will share your RECIPE for that squash soup, as it sounds delicious.Asking for help is a tough, tough thing for me. Asking for people to give of their time, effort, money – whatever, for my benefit – or ‘worse’, because I *need* it; ie., can’t do something myself – this is a real challenge for me.
    As the child of an emotionally withdrawn alcoholic father and a mother with inappropriate emotional boundaries, my survival mechanism was to become self-reliant and independent at a very young age. After my parents divorced and our standard of living plummeted (alcoholic dad=poor job retention and no child support payments for years), I felt the stigma of having one of the very few sets of divorced parents among my schoolmates as well as being considerably less well-off than everybody else in our neighborhood. So I turned even more inward – started working at age 14, paid for college on my own (scholarship helped), and was entirely self-supporting financially and emotionally by age 18. I learned ot to trust that anybody else would meet my needs, so I learned how to meet them for myself. I was able to change on this and open up to, and need, my husband, but only because our relationship is one of strong trust and faith. It is the only relationship I have that I feel safe to allow myself to express real needs in.
    It’s really difficult to allow cracks in that edifice – and bulwark – of self-sufficiency to appear. I can now ask for emotional support from friends, my sister, etc, but asking for help that requires more of someone than being a sympathetic ear or dispensing good advice? Not so much. The idea that I might have to admit (to anyone other than my husband) that I can’t do it all for myself gives me the cold shudders. I have a feeling that the imminent arrival of our first child is going to be a big teacher on that life lesson.

  26. @Sky…I think it definitely can be; depending on the inlaws. 🙂 The SIL I mentioned in my post above? Made some pointed comment about how I didn’t cook a meal for visiting guests…3 days after having a c-section. And then when my stepson was thought to be going in for a 2nd liver transplant (it was called off at the last minute); she said she would watch our toddler but she and her husband had dinner plans so if we wanted we could drive 1 hour north and drop our toddler off with her 12 year old. Um…no. So now I know to not ask that SIL for help…at all.I was pondering this a bit more and I think perhaps the best way for all of us to “help” is to be a bit more empathetic with each other. I know I struggle with this sometimes because “hey, I dealt with it and they can/should too.” Parenting and life in general can be hard and we all need to cut one another some slack.
    For example, I run a working moms group and organizing events/playdates can be a bit of a challenge given everyone’s schedule. My asst. organizer recently flaked out on me on hosting something and other members have as well after volunteering so it’s not like I put them on the spot. But my asst. organizer is basically supporting her whole family, working 2 jobs after her husband quit his job and “may” take a bartending job next month. When I stop and remind myself of that, it seems a little petty to get annoyed.
    And indeed the “supermom” who can do it all is a myth. It was important to me to make my own babyfood and even my pediatrician expressed disbelief that I had the time to do that as a working mom. Sure I make dinners from whole foods most every night after working all day and my 2.5 year old never ate commercial baby food. BUT….my the inside of my car hasn’t been cleaned in months, the breakfast bar is cluttered with papers and coupons, plus I finally agreed to hire a bi-monthly housekeeper to scrub the bathrooms. Because having a spotless house or car wasn’t as important to me. Some people are stressed by clutter and NEED to have that be the most important thing. Being perfect is impossible so picking your battles is the best that we can do.

  27. For the first year and a half of my eldest’s life we lived in a city where we were part of a vibrant, loving community. I never felt alone or overwhelmed, mostly because I was able to ask for help all the time without ever feeling like I was Asking For Help. Friends help each other, even in small ways, all the time. No worries.Then we moved to a new city where we knew no one. I was pregnant with number two and never felt so alone in my life. We’ve been here for a year. My kids are now 2.5 yo and 7 months and I still don’t have a community and am only beginning to make real friends.
    When I first moved I met a woman with kids similar ages to me and who lived close by. She was constantly offering to take my boys, but I never took her up on it. Although we were starting to become friends, I considered her basically a stranger, maybe an acquaintance. Then, she suggested we watch each other’s eldest one day a week. That was fine at first, but it soon became apparent that we had very different parenting styles and expectations for our children. I began to stress so much about watching her child that I was having bad dreams about it. Then she asked me if I would watch both her kids two days a week when she went back to work. I told her I couldn’t. Then she stopped calling me or returning my calls. I now wonder if all her offers to help earlier on were just so that I’d have to owe her and help her out later. It really left a bad taste in my mouth.
    But I have learned that, like Enu, I can not watch other folks kids. I can’t do switches, despite how great a few hours to myself might be. It’s much too stressful for me. At the very least that bad experience has taught me something about myself.
    I wish I was in the position where I knew people well enough to ask for help. But like Slim said, look for the helpers. In my situation, the helpers are at a family centre close by that offers free programs and respite daycare. The helpers don’t always have to be in your situation.
    And at the risk of making all your eyeballs roll, *you*, the Moxie community are my helpers. I don’t always comment, and am going anon for this one, but I do appreciate this community immensely. Helpful is a grand understatement.

  28. I didn’t read yesterday’s comments and certainly am not going to go back and do so now.But in reading these, it occurs to me that something that has really surprised me about becoming a mom has been just how much it takes out of me. For the record, before I was a mom I was a stepmom twice over to teenagers (now twenty-somethings) and if I’m honest about it, I think that was much easier. They were good kids, but at difficult ages, and acquiring teenage stepkids or, conversely, a stepmom when you are a teenager is also difficult. But I think for me what made the difference between that and now was that I could talk to them and they to me and while they didn’t always follow instructions it was at least reasonable to imagine they could understand them and had some concept of consequences.
    My 18-month old? Not so much. And he adores me and follows me everywhere (or demands that I carry him everywhere) and is SO busy and SO dangerous to himself (if semi-supervised) and SO eager to talk to me with the 8 words he knows (hat…hot…cold…dog…duck…quack…truck…uh-oh!), which, let’s be honest, have limited conversational applications.
    And some while back, I realized I’m an introvert. Not meaning I don’t like people, just meaning spending time around them tires me out — especially if it involves talking.
    So this guy? My son? Drains me. And the thought of then asking someone for help, which would mean explaining what I needed, and giving instructions, and making nice conversation when I saw them, and perhaps returning the favor…even the thought of it exhausts me.

  29. @Alex, I’m an extrovert, and I’m also finding the 18 month old conversations draining. It is exhausting trying to be encouraging when it is the same words over and over. In our house right now it is “Mommy!” (points at me) “Daddy!” (points at Hubby), repeat ad naseum. Except if there is a dog barking, in which case it is “woof, woof, ‘ello!” (because we have told her that dogs bark to say hello, trying to make her less petrified of the barking).And every once and awhile, she throws something new in. Almost like she’s checking to see if I’m still listening…. “Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Mommy! Daddy! woof-woof, ‘ello! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! ‘appy! (happy) Mommy! Daddy! woof-woof, ‘ello!”
    If it makes an extrovert want to hide in the bathroom for a little peace and quiet, I can only imagine what it does to an introvert. Of course, when I do try to hide in the bathroom, Pumpkin stands outside saying “Mommy! Mommy! Potty!” and I come out to her shaking her little fist in the sign for “potty”.
    Really, it is a good thing they are so cute at this age.

  30. I like ACJ’s ideas on starting the process.Having twins will get ya started, too. Seriously. Anything that looks like someone else might find it too much provides something of a free pass to ask for help. Paying it forward, and also setting limits, both valuable. Because I can say no, I can also say yes freely.
    My mom and my MIL were both super-women. But they still will say they didn’t face what we face today. It seems that while things in some ways were harder (kids died more often), the management was easier. You kicked the kids out of the house after school. Nobody fretted so much about things like the allergies, because ‘sickly’ kids were (according to my mom) mainly already dead by grade school, or were likely to die soon after (seriously, my mom said that at least one kid a year died for ‘unknown reasons’ during the school year every single year through high school. They probably had allergies or heart defects or other issues that weren’t diagnosed back then… heck, a mom I know whose daughter has FPIES and can eat NO foods, elemental formula only, was told by her doctors that even 10 years ago, she’d have been described as ‘sickly’ and would not have lived to see a year.)… you didn’t worry because you had no options or control. There wasn’t a treatment plan, or a way to get needs met. Everyone had needs not met, except the core group (probably at the time mostly healthy white males with good socio-economic profiles). You had kids young enough that you didn’t think about big issues because you hadn’t faced them yourself yet, either, or you were afraid to mention them because you knew nobody else had issues.
    Granted, everyone DID have issues, but like now, didn’t ask. The feminine mystique, anyone? “What do you mean you feel trapped by motherhood? Me, TOO! We’re not alone!” It hasn’t ended. We’re just trapped in more elaborate boxes, now. Passing on the culture of silence and paranoia and isolation because that’s what we grew up with.
    I have to bless my mom (regardless of faults) because she called bullshit on the isolation. She refused to stay home when she was pregnant because ‘ladies don’t leave the house when they’re in a family way’ – people might look at you and (GASP!) know that you had … (shocked whisper) relations. With your husband. My mom said there were no maternity clothes. She found one pattern for something so horrifying nobody would want to wear it (something about a huge bow on front, I think). She made it, invented others, showed her gravid form in public, got shocked looks, comments, glares, envy, admirers, followers. Mini revolution in the So. CA suburbs.
    She refused to remain isolated, because it was just another way of making the essentials of life into secrets. She’s got an aversion to secrets.
    So, a model, of sorts. I breastfed in public, and refused to not talk about the struggles. I refused to keep my silence on miscarriage – another secret we are taught to keep, that isolates us horribly. How many of my friends said they’d suffered losses, and had never mentioned it to me? I refused to be placed on a pedestal by struggling moms in the grocery store, when I managed to sail by with twins, one in a sling and one in the cart, and they looked at me and crumpled under the strain of one 15-month old… I’d stop, and let them ask the “I am not like thee” question – ‘how do you do it?’ – and I would refuse to let it be special. Dammit, the same way you would, if you had twins. We all just get up and get through the day, and some days suck, and some days are good, and some whole weeks and months suck, but we just do it, because we must. I can’t count the number of moms who stood there in shock for a moment before growing a few inches as they stood up a little straighter – just because a total stranger said they could do it, that they were doing it, right now, every day. How horrible is our culture of isolation if such a tiny thing could make so much difference?
    I also refused to stay silent about PPD. And about diet issues, and everything. Because if we don’t speak, we’re relegating our lives to secrecy, and that’s just another lie.
    um. Sorry. got going.
    And see, this is why Moxie is great, and why I do not have an ‘Ask Hedra’ blog. Moxie, you always see to the heart of it, the fulcrum point. Maybe we can lever ourselves out of the cultural murk with that aid, huh?

  31. That struck me yesterday too although not as eloquently. But I just kept thinking who at my son’s school is struggling with some issue that the rest of us could help with, but we don’t know about it.And that it might be me soon since I’m having some scary health issues.
    I have to admit that for me the loneliest I ever felt was the time between my daughter’s death and my son’s birth. I was a parent without portfolio and it was awful.
    The relative normalcy of joining mums groups and play groups and daycare and work has had the opposite effect on me personally in a lot of ways. Except perhaps the darkest ones, like that I really have a hard time leaving my son with anyone and that I feel like I must be screwing him up on a daily basis.

  32. I agree on the exhaustion thing. It’s enervating. It’s being nibbled to death by ducks.You know what’s just as hard as asking for help? Asking someone if you can help them, and making it *work* in a way that is level-glance, you and me against the world, we’re all moms together. Instead of a pity or superiority thing (even if it isn’t, making it not SOUND like one from their side is a trick).
    Not sure if I’ve ever succeeded with that, myself. Any tips?

  33. I’m really bad at asking for help. So bad that I’ve lived in this town for 11 years and still struggle when asked to provide an emergency, non-spouse contact on my daughter’s daycare paperwork.I’m not any better at receiving help. Too many years being the independent older child I guess. Not that my younger sibling is any better at accepting help than I am. Possibly worse.
    Inspired by Moxie’s post, I’ve emailed the mother of one of DD’s friends. I know she is super busy but her family is far away too–hopefully it would help us both.

  34. Yes, yes, yes. Asking for help is so hard, and feels awful, and I don’t know how to do it. Another early-parentified ACOA with boundary issues here. Oh, and single mom (hmm, recreating childhood much?).I made a vow several months ago that I would not turn down help any more. I was highly interested and dismayed to find how few opportunities I had to keep it. I am moving next week and have had to ask for help with that, and it is so uncomfortable. And I haven’t asked for (or been offered) any help with packing, organizing, etc. I do have driving and loading/unloading help, that’s it. I came to the realization today that I might have to actually break down and ask for packing help.
    Argh! Admitting my failure and weakness! Exposing my personal belongings to scrutiny! My decisions about what to keep, what to get rid of! The weaknesses in my housekeeping!
    One of the major difficulties for me in deciding to make this move (in hopes of being less isolated, finding community for myself and my daughter, interacting with actual adult human beings every day) was the fact that I’ll be moving away from my grandmother. She is 90 years old, and lost her husband of 66 years last spring, and while she is remarkably active, and highly social and intelligent, of course she needs more and more help and her health is shakier all the time. Oh the guilt if I move away and she declines or even dies within months! Which of course, the chances are good that that will happen.
    When I was angsting about this with a friend, he said in effect “get over it Maria, you probably need more help than she does at this point” Whoa, that stopped me in my tracks. It’s true! She has a wide circle of friends, family, and support people, she has doctors and a house that’s set up for her, she has insurance and money. I am a single mom. I have essentially No Help with child care, household management, money – not to mention basic adult relationships. I am expected, by my family, by society, and most of all by myself, to do everything alone and in good cheer.
    I’m rambling and venting here but I have a serious point to make about the insanity of us mothers being expected not to need help – and not get recognized for the fact that we keep the world going, kids raised, PTAs staffed, parents and grandparents cared for, Hallowe’en costumes made, election campaigns volunteered-for, etc. etc. What would the world do without us? And yet we are scorned, looked down upon, pitied and mostly not helped!
    So – I am renewing my vow to take help when it’s offered and maybe I can even ask for it once in a while. Like with all this packing.
    Thanks Moxie, you’re great.

  35. The isolation is so HARD.The things I keep trying.
    Asking for help (but what really gets me down is when I ask and no one has time for me!)
    Trying to find free/inexpensive activities for us…. um again, this is nearly impossible!!
    I do talk to people, when I can. But I am an introvert, and when I do reach out and get denied it is that much HARDER.

  36. @hedra. What an inspiring post! Thank you for that.RE: PPD and not keeping quiet about it. I have SAD and was terrified that it might turn in to PPD (kinda moved in that direction for a while but light therapy, yoga, and a lot of cognitive work kept me from sinking in), particularly when the Toronto snows marooned me on my darkened mommy-island for weeks on end last winter. I started asking all my close friends to keep an eye on me and let me know if I started to show signs of slipping.
    I did feel this whoppingly huge dose of WASP-guilt, flagrantly imposing my mental health check-in needs on others, but I figured that it would be much better to ask for help before I slipped down the slope than to actually hit bottom.
    @eccentriclibertarian — I didn’t really follow a recipe (more going from memory and experimenting) but I can recreate the steps.
    Roast a squash at 400F(I used a large-ish butternut), cut side down on a cookie sheet until it is tender (about 45 min but depends on the size of the squash).
    Saute some chopped bacon (I did 4 slices) until softly cooked & giving up fat then toss in some finely sliced leeks (3 leeks) and saute until tender.
    Scoop out the squash flesh and saute in the bacon fat & leeks. I also added some butter (because nothing complements bacon fat better than more fat).
    Add cumin seed (if you like that flavour), maybe a few chili flakes and cracked pepper if you like zing. Add salt as you like. (I added some smoked salt I found at the groc. store. Stuff is gold! Adds a touch of smokey flavour to the soup.)
    Saute everything together until it is well-mixed.
    Add enough stock (I used some turkey stock) to create the consistency of soup you like.
    If you like a smooth soup, use a blender to puree. I couldn’t be bothered with that step and simply stirred until the squash fell apart in chunks (I like a chunky soup, particularly on days like today when the perpetual rain makes you want to run away).
    Voila! squash soup with leftovers for days.

  37. the squash soup sounds marvelous, but this tidbit is my favorite part:”because nothing complements bacon fat better than more fat”.
    truer words were never spoken. (thanks for sharing.)

  38. Mmmm, bacon fat and butter… mmmm. :)My mom once asserted that the best recipes are the ones that are thinly veiled excuses for eating more butter. 😉

  39. I’m all for the fat A + fat B = more than the sum of its parts concept, too. We’re big lovers of leeks, bacon, and squash in my house, so this recipe will be tried out as soon as the 80 degree days go away.Thanks!

  40. Moxie, thanks for sharing your gluten intolerance experience, and for connecting it to your marital problems. When I first read your post, a part of me was thinking, uh-oh, this could be fodder for the doubters who believe so many of the medical issues often unique to women are “all in our heads.” I think the lesson “pay attention to your body” is right on. Our bodies often tell us the things our minds are too clever at denying.

  41. I just read:”How can I ask for help when we’re all desperate and swamped and . . . oh, wait. That person doesn’t have a sick child/absent spouse/work crisis/recurrence of depression/name your life poison. Maybe that person actually could pick up my kid from preschool or drop something off for me or . . .And if that person is actually as swamped as I am, well, at least we can commiserate.”
    …and I think maybe it hit a nerve, because it made me actually sit here and cry.
    The “How can I ask for help?” thing has haunted me since forever. I’m surrounded by people who would move heaven and earth for me if I asked. But they’re also equally swamped, so I’m not good at asking. And like a later commenter observed, if you get burned once, it’s really hard to go back and ask later — especially if you’re one of us introverts who had to go into serious training just to be able to say “HELP” the first time.
    And yet, as open as we all aspire to be…dare I say that we still hit a point at which we say (I’ve done it myself), “What is SHE complaining about? At least blah blah blah.” There’s something in us that WANTS to be open and nurturing everywhere…and yet there’s also something in us that desperately NEEDS to be recognized for what WE’RE struggling with, at the same time. I think maybe sometimes that processes out as, “Hey, what are you complaining about? Let me tell you about ME.” So what sounds heartless or selfish might be a distorted, public-face version of a plaintive, hidden, “Please? Can I tell you about me?” We can’t actually burst into tears (that would be FAILING), so we cover up by being defensive, or trying to one-up each other, even when we resent the same things in other people, and even when we hope to be more open ourselves. What a mess.

  42. @hedra, I’m with your mom on the thinly veiled excuses for eating more butter.I had a great conversation with parisiennemaispresque yesterday (she’s my best friend from college, and I’m SOOOOOO EXCITED to be going to see her in her hometown next week. YAYYAYAYYYAYYYY!) about the previous post regarding special needs accomodations. I think we both kind of got to “it sucks all around to even have to have the conversation.
    I’m reading with great interest the isolation thread going here today.
    I will say it plainly.
    I have a hard time making connections that bear fruit. The ones that do are blessings from God/dess, I am clear. Without the friends I DO have, I’d be lost.
    I try things like music classes, investigate moms’ groups, and it’s like falling into a void. All these women, and nothing more than a superficial connection. I don’t do very well with superficial connection.
    It all seems very fragile lately. And, it feels like such a slog to go out, meet other moms, and find… nothing.
    I was ecstatic to be home with my tribe at the Moxie Philly meetup on Sunday. (Any of you remotely close to the northern parts of Delaware who might be interested in connection, please do be in touch!) Nonetheless, I have myself sort of steeled against the possibility that those first strands of connection made in Smith Playhouse won’t survive, and I’ll be back in my box, all over again.
    Miss G is 2 1/2. I’ve had family and friends alike react with incredulity that we don’t have more playdates, don’t have more friends to call/go out with, etc. Now, I’ve never run with a big crowd, but yeah, maybe it is getting ridiculous.
    HOW do you do it? (Really, tell me, I need to know…) My forays into stuff like Moms’ Club left me feeling like I have 4 heads. I was clearly not mainstream enough. Couldn’t even pretend. *sigh* I am apparently not wired for superficial connection.
    (Oh yeah, most of my pregnancy friendships are still good, but they’ve all gone back to work, the kids are in daycare, and I’m SOL.)
    I think I’m gonna go call someone…

  43. Uhh I feel like an idiot askign, but Goddess Babe, who were you at the Philly meetup?? I didnt ask who anyone was, hahaha.I’m about 3 seconds from Delaware… right by the Philly airport
    Anyway, yeah. I’m probably the most isolated person on the planet. Askig for help? Yeah. Right. We hardly even know anyone here. Moved here about 2 yrs ago for a job that I no longer have – and now I work from home so my work connections arent even “real life”. We have like literally 2 couples that we “sorta” hang out with, but even that… rarely happens (like maybe once every few months).
    Asking for help is definately something I need training in, but moreso making real meaningful connections. We meet TONS of people on the playground, etc but its never anything more than “hello, how are you” kind of stuff.

  44. @Goddess Babe – The mama dating scene sucks out loud but please don’t give up! You sound like just the kind of friend I’m looking for; too bad we live on opposite coasts. Fwiw, sometimes I just phone it in a little bit, and hang with moms I have ZERO in common with, other than the fact that we both have vaginas. It’s weird though. The mom I’m closest with locally is more Sarah Palin and I’m more Michelle Obama. Night & Day different, so it surprises the hell out of me that I actually find myself enjoying our afternoons once a week with her & her son.Mrs Haley has some wonderful news – on a older thread she reported: “Baby Boy Haley — 7lbs 6oz, 19.5in at 3:31am on 9/25! NO Down Syndrome. All home & healthy. Amen and amen.”

  45. hey Goddess Babe you’re not alone…my little boy is 2 and I don’t think I have any friends nearby with children that I would see more than once in a blue moon. At this stage I have virtually a physical repulsion to mommy groups etc, not that there are many here (i live in a medium sized town in Ireland) and call my mother way too much cos I have no one else to talk to in the day. Thank God for my husband and very smart, cute and frankly hilarious child (well those things describe my husband too I guess!) I am going to visit my best friend from uni who now lives in Belgium, she now has a 2 month old. I wish I still lived close by her. This however meets with disapproval from my parents (because I’m leaving baby for 2 nights) which spills over into my relationship with hubby who feels that my parents don’t trust him with baby etc, all in all making even getting away for such a short time seem so emotion-wrangling.Also have to agree about most mothers having gone back to work at this stage. It seems maybe once the baby is not really a ‘baby’ anymore you fall off the radar, are supposed to be going back to your ‘real’ life and be fine all over again.
    It’s nice to read all the comments and see I am not the only lonely. Nice in a sad way of course. Thank you People….
    @Kristin ( I think? Not sure if I have the right comment) i know just what you mean about wanting your life ‘seen’ sometimes. Sigh.

  46. @andrea2I’m the 4’11” dark blonde haired with the very blonde daughter. I was wearing jeans and a sea-greenish (I think? was I?) long sleeved shirt.
    It’s ok, I don’t remember which mom you are, either. Refresh my memory?

  47. @Goddess Babe: did I even talk to you? I’m like 5’6, dyed black hair with about 2 inches of blonde roots (I get lazy… haha). I think I was just wearing a black tshirt and jeans. My son was a little blonde 17mo old guy who was being very shy for some reason, and was mostly attached to me. Hrmmm…

  48. @Chaosgirl, I’m delurking to comment that I’m relieved to hear you mention the past winter in Toronto. I found it awful and isolating and if I dared complain about the weather and being stuck at home, the responses I received were to “enjoy having the chance to be at home”. I hear you on the guilt. Also, thanks for sharing the recipe.Moxie, your site and the community you’ve helped to create is inspiring.

  49. Goddess Babe, I think the key for me has been to remember that all connections START superficially. Right? You have to start at the surface and move down. So if you put some effort into the dreaded superficial part, you may find something you like as the layers are peeled away. I am mixing metaphors, but you get the idea. Some folks, you’ll know right away there’s nothing for you underneath. But sometimes, as hush mentions, you’ll be surprised.Good luck! You obviously have a best friend, so you’ve done this before and you can do it again. Meeting people in general is just harder as we get older. (If only there were Mom dorms.)

  50. And remember I’m actually in town as long as I’m unemployed. I will be needing breaks, and book proposal read-throughs. Like, um, how about tomorrow? Lunch-ish or late lunch or way early lunch? Walk Main St for a bit if it isn’t raining?No playdating, since I’m kidless during the day, but next month, if I’m not employed, we’ll likely be pulling the kids out of after-care (at least the youngers), so you could come hang out here with them for a bit before facing dinnertime.

  51. Oh, and those of us that connected with you instantly all the way down are anomalies. I think you’ve actually gotten lucky with those insta-links and have had more of them than typical (that is, more than zero), so don’t maybe have the practice at the superficial-to-less-superficial conversion.Most of my superficial meetings don’t carry on much further, though, either. Maybe a layer down, but not many.

  52. Wow, chiming in late on this and yesterday. I too have trouble asking for help–I think I was raised with such a strong vein of “quit your blubbering, there are lots of people that have it worse than you” that I always assume I must be doing pretty well, but then why does it sometimes feel so shitty?I still haven’t really recovered from my best mom friend moving away 2 years ago when Mouse (and her daughter Z, who’s almost exactly the same age) was 2. I miss her so much–and of course we still talk, and we’ve managed to meet up for a couple of wonderful family vacations, which makes us extra lucky. But we’re not there to help each other in a practical, daily way, which we used to do all the time. It was a real blessing to have 2 years of having someone who would have been a close friend regardless of parenthood (though we met through our babies when they were 8 and 10 weeks), along with a kid who was uniquely compatible with my little geeklette, living a block away. Someone who could easily run to the store for you (or vice versa) if your family was sick, could pick up the kiddo in a pinch, trade evenings out, etc. I appreciated it at the time, but I want more of it. It’s hard to remember how it started, I know we met at one of those baby movies, somehow discovered we were into the same kind of yoga and then one of us confessed that she hadn’t been able to do it, at all, since the baby’s birth and was really frustrated about that. And suddenly the conversation was open, on a real level.
    We have a nice preschool community now and people do pick up kids in a pinch and so forth…but nobody has evolved into close friends, and I wouldn’t ask most of them for more help than that.
    But I should remember, that admission with J, whichever one of us said it first it gave us both space to express our frustration and then do something about it, together. So I went to her house to do yoga (J in Charleston, are you reading this? I know I’ve recommended this blog to you a million times but I don’t know if you’re here. Miss you, as ever.) and the babies interrupted lots of times and we groused about how heavy our bodies felt, and then she offered lunch…and it was something really simple, scrambled eggs and avocado or something. And I realized I could invite someone over for lunch and do something simple and easy, and maybe they wouldn’t judge me. I need to get back to that–lately I feel like I’m supposed to be back to my old dinner-party prowess, etc.–I should remember how happy I was for scrambled eggs and honest conversation. Maybe somebody I’d like to offer something to would be up for the basics too.

  53. @Jan — I’m glad you delurked.Enjoy the chance to be at home? And what, chew your own leg off from boredom, inactivity, and lack of fresh air?
    My son was 2-4 months at that time, the PPD was peeking out from every corner, and we were snowed in. I couldn’t even escape to the mall (ick) because the car was either snowed in on the street or I feared losing my parking spot and having to dig out another one with my son cheering me on.
    I wish I was still in Toronto (recently moved to Kingston) so we could get together and curse the winter over something warm.

  54. Same story here, just in a different country…Just another comment to say “me too, I am alone”. I have my husband and my son. That’s it. We see our families (6-8 hour drives) 3-4 times a year. I have no friends in this city. Husband and I haven’t been to see a movie or to a restaurant in 3 years (never had a babysitter since our son was born) and we have no outside activities of our own. The only adults we see are at work. My husband is presently on a business trip to Europe and I realised this morning that if I fell sick, I would have NO ONE to call in this city and ask to go fetch our son at daycare and take care of him while I rest or go to the hospital. Hum…fun…

  55. @hush- there is actually quite a bit of published, peer reviewed literature from non-wacky places like the NIH and Stanford about the link between stress and physical illness and the physiological reasons for that link. Check out the book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” or something like that from a guy named Sapolsky for a book on the subject aimed at the reasonably scientifically literate non-scientist. Or skim it for references you can throw at the next uninformed person who tells you its all in your mind….Congrats to Mrs. Haley!
    To all those of you struggling with isolation- I hear you. Hubby and I often talk about how few friends we have who are also parents. I’m a strong extrovert, and I don’t keep up with my mommy friends/make real connections with other mommies as much as I would like. My problem is that it is hard to find the time to do it, which is sad. I’ve been making a real effort lately, setting up playdates and lunches. But the flip side of that is that I’m even more tired than usual, because I’m not getting to nap on the weekends to try to make up some of the sleep debt that accumulates during the week (Pumpkin is an exceptionally crappy sleeper). It is hard to find the balance.

  56. Thanks, Cloud! Sounds like the perfect book for an armchair scientist like me who at once believes in theories of evolution & plate tectonics, and yet threw $10 away this weekend on a lark visiting a psychic (who knew her stuff).

  57. Still packing. Still all by myself. I never knew there were Moxie-ites so close, in Delaware/Philly! I’m on the Eastern Shore of MD, but of course I’m moving next week, so I won’t be anymore. Sigh. But a good move I hope. But sigh.I’m in transition, can you tell??

  58. @zimbabweanjean: Thank you! I think that’s exactly it. (Must be, because I just got all teary again when I read your comment on my comment!) I don’t necessarily need anybody to fix anything for me. I certainly don’t need to act as if what’s on my plate is heavier than anybody else’s. I just need it to be SEEN. Just, “Yep, I get it,” would often be enough.I have to remind myself that other people need that as well. If I get frustrated with somebody who seems to always be going on about something hard (especially if the hardness is somehow supposed to be my fault…), I have to remember that maybe this person just needs me to say, “Wow, that must s*ck for you right now. I’m so sorry.”

  59. Hey to Jan and Chaosgirl – fellow Torontonian here.If you met me you’d never believe that I am both on the isolated side and also having a hard time making mommy friends. I have made a couple of them but me and the girl (almost 3) don’t have the playdates that the neighbourhood kids have.
    I too have stomached hanging out with some women that I have pretty much nothing in common with just to have some conversation.
    Gah – feel like a bit of a nerd and wondering why it’s so much harder to make friends now. Not asking for a zillion, just a few.

  60. @andrea2 I don’t think we actually met Sunday. Bummer! I’m sure we can fix that though.thanks, in general for the encouragement.
    @hedra Sorry I missed you today, but snotty sneezy kid in the car… figured I’d spare you. After vaca is over, YES YES YES.
    Interesting point about insta-connect. You’re right. I have little to no experience turning superficial into anything else. I’ve had enough insta-connect that I expect it, quickly, if not instantly.
    When I do try the superficial connect thing, it’s all weird and desperate and fake feeling…

  61. “When I first read your post, a part of me was thinking, uh-oh, this could be fodder for the doubters who believe so many of the medical issues often unique to women are “all in our heads.”See, the thing is — the symptoms are REAL, regardless of the root cause. An emotional cause is just as real and as important and worthy of attention and care as a physical one.
    Man, I wish I had had the grace to accept and ask for more help when my daughter was tiny, and I was new in this community. I remember the leaden feeling I had filling in the daycare form and not having someone to put as an emergency contact.
    These days it’s a little easier, as I’ve been fortunate enough to find some true friends, as well as a good circle of acquaintances (although like most of us I could use more).
    But still, God give us all the grace to accept help when it is offered – that is hard for me. I’d infinitely rather be the helper than the helpee. I need to work on that.

  62. @Shelley – couldn’t agree with you more. Emotional wounds often cut much deeper than physical ones, and yet are hard to “diagnose” and to heal. One of the many reasons I love Moxie is that she tells the truth about our lives.

  63. It may be a flash in the pan movementbut it is a dicret response to the Political Class Warfare against the middle class and the poor that started during the Regan Administration and continues right up to this day.

  64. Downloaded the plugin with great excoetatipns but after installing and all the setting, tried to save and all I got is:Latest CommentMilk News* All New CommentMILK Version 1.0 BETA is Ready!General SettingsDo you want CommentMilk Default Campaign on for all Posts [NO]Current Running CampaignsUnknown column keyword_unchecked_text’ in field list’Meanwhile I’ve set the default campaign to YES but it’s showing NO Please any suggestion?

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