Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Time keeps on slippin' into the future...

Geez, where have I been for over three months?!? Not writing blog posts, apparently. The situation with IFKAMH has not really improved, though it is reaching a point of decision in the next month. Based on how the few hearings I've been involved in the past few months have played out, I am not expecting an outcome in my favor if we go to trial as scheduled. In the words of my new attorney, the judges look to provide parents every opportunity to be parents. Seems as though being a failure at parenting doesn't matter if you don't technically abuse the kids. All I can do is try to get the best for my children that I can; if it doesn't work out that way, then I know I did what I could and can then make sure I figure out the best ways to handle the circumstances as they are.

I'm honestly tired of writing about it at this point. Just the interactions with IFKAMH send me into a rather depressive and withdrawn state of being, and I'd rather not continue to dwell there. So, what else has been on my mind? Friendship and socialization.

You know what? It's frakkin' hard to make friends as an adult. More so as a parent. Add to those factors a non-contract, salaried work from home job in a place thousands of miles away from any familiar people or places, and you've pretty much landed yourself in isolation. Sure, I've got NS and the boys, but the social opportunities there are quite limited, I've found.

I'm rather stumped as to what I should do to find a social circle. I thought I had a grand idea when I decided to find a volunteer organization, which I settled upon being a women's civics club. And, it wasn't an outright terrible plan, but the women involved are much older (grandmothers, for the most part...certainly no one with young children like me), and with some really-not-tentative-but-not-yet-activated plans for a fourth child in our family, making time for the meetings and activities couldn't be a priority.

My next step is joining the PTA at M and J's elementary school (since they've gone and become Kindergartners in the blink of an eye). At least I shouldn't have any problem finding people in similar family situations...you know, parents with elementary school-aged children. It's not that I don't feel I can be friends with childless people, but I know I'm more likely to find common interests with another mother, and there isn't likely to be any underlying, unintentional inability to understand why I can't be ready to go out within an hour or two for the whole evening.

The working from home gig prevents me from taking advantage of some of the more readily available outlets for adult interaction among other moms who are also at home. Sure, I'm home, but I'm not really able to meet up for a playdate or hang out at the playground or library for a few hours or meet for brunch or coffee or whatever. I'm hoping the PTA won't be made up of strictly stay-at-home moms since I think some of that underlying, unintentional inability to understand my time constraints might creep in if that is the case.

It isn't that I have no hobbies or interests outside of being a mother. I do, but I'm just not yet prepared to put money towards those things in hope of finding a social circle. The money has better purpose right now, so until I've exhausted every other avenue...well, let's just say I won't be registering for any yoga or dance or higher learning classes any time soon.

But, I'm just in a weird, unlikeable place right now. I feel lonely and restless and overwhelmed and stressed and generally like I'm failing at every aspect of my life more often than I believe is warranted. I need to change something. (I should probably have that last sentence in big, bold letters, perhaps all uppercase and underlined about ten times.)

NS and I are trying to find someone to hire as a semi-regular babysitter so that we can do things as a couple without children in tow. I'm hoping that will help me reclaim my happiness as a wife instead of feeling disconnected from that role in my life like I have as of late.

In walking my boys to school the second day because of a missed bus and riding our bikes there this weekend, I realize how unfriendly our most immediate streets are to non-motorized travelers. I do quite a bit of reading at the Free-Range Kids blog, and I'm thinking I could do a lot of good by organizing and participating in a Safe Routes to School program for our area. We don't have bike paths or sidewalks or decently wide enough shoulders on the roads for everyone to feel safe sending their kids (or their spouses as I'm also thinking about how NS rides his bike to work almost every day), and I just don't want there to be any reason for someone to chastise me, or any other parent for that matter, for allowing my kid to wait for the bus by himself or walk or ride his bike to or from school or the corner stores, etc. This program may very well allow me the opportunity to make a difference in my community, to do something that will allow my kids to have a better childhood, and might also bring me within talking distance of people who think somewhat like I do on at least some level, quite possibly leading me to a social circle with room for me in it.

Anyone have other ideas for finding a bridge off my Woo island of isolation?