Reader call: Isolation

I know very few patents who don’t feel isolated at least part of the time. Staying at home with little kids can be gruelingly lonely, and working out of the house can be just as lonely unless you really connect with coworkers. And even if you do have connections at work, you can still feel isolated in parenting when you’re at home.

I advocate pushing yourself to get out and find friends in your local community, but sometimes that just doesn’t work out for a variety of reasons.

So I guess my question for everyone reading this is: How do you manage the isolation? I know that I would not be able to make it without my friends in the computer, but there are other strategies we must be using to get through the years of raising little children. Let’s share.

DOA (Death of Auto-Post)

I just am not having luck with hitting the right buttons to make things post when I want them to. I started my new job Monday and was traveling for it yesterday, and didn’t realize this hadn’t posted. Sorry about that.

Mariel writes:

“I just found out I’m pregnant, and we’re thrilled. But my husband is about to finish grad school. We’d always thought when he finished we’d move about 800 miles from where we live now, for a better climate and slightly better job market for his field. Now that we’re having a baby, we’re starting to rethink. Both of our families live within 30 miles of us. The job market here is fine, if not as hot, as the other place. And I’m just worried that if we move to this new, exciting place and have no family support and have no friends yet by the time the baby’s born, I’ll feel trapped and isolated and miserable.

OTOH, if we don’t go now, will we ever know if we like it there?”

This is a tough one. And I think you’re going to have to sit down and really talk with each other to evaluate how you’d feel about raising achild close to family and away from family. Think about how introverted or extroverted you are and how easily you’d be able to make friends, and how entrenched you are in your current community.

Then assess (and you may want to talk to family members about this) realistically how much help your family will be to you. Will they help woth childcare? Do you want them to help with childcare? Will they be supportive but distant? Is there a high levelof conflict and drama in your families?

All these things are the kinds of things that will help you assess what to do. And there’s no right or wrong answer, just what works for you. Some people are better parents in the middle of their tribe, while others are better when they’re freed from familial expectations. Some people leave, only to wish they’d stayed to have help, while others pass up a new place only to find that they don’t get as much help at home as they’d thought they would.

I can’t be a good data point, because I’m living in a place I don’t want to be living, way too far from family. But for those of you with actual control over where you live (within the limits of jobs, etc.), what did you choose and why? Is it working out as you expected? Would you do anything differently?

Q&A: fear of the toilet

An unnamed blogger at BlogHer asked me about her daughter’s potty training issue. It seems her daughter is afraid of the toilet.

I asked if it was the sound of the flushing, or if her daughter was maybe afraid of being sucked down the toilet when it flushes. But it turns out that her daughter is also afraid of the free-standing potty chair.

Hmm. This makes me think that it’s not a fear of the toilet itself, but of using the toilet. In other words, she’s afraid of not using a diaper or pullup.

So is this a fear of change? A fear of being a “big girl”? It seems like there are all kinds of subtle fears that could be playing into this.

As usual with potty-training, I’m not convinced there’s a perfect solution. I’d try to use peer pressure as much as possible, because this might help her get past any fears of being a big girl, if that’s what it is.

In this situation, I’d talk to her daycare providers to see how things are going there, and if they have any suggestions about how to leverage any friendships to help her get past her fears.

The thing to bear in mind is that she will eventually use the toilet. This is just a bump in the road. It may take a little sleuthing to see if you can figure out what’s really at the root of the fear, though.

Has anyone been in this situation? How did you get past toilet-fear?

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