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Anyone else feel like this?

Posted by netshound (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 8, 06 at 20:00

Ok, let me start by saying I love my husband and my darling 2 year old. And even though I love my family life that I got going, sometimes I miss how it used to be. Just me, my house, and my friends. I did'nt have to answer to anyone, be anywhere I did'nt want to be, I had so much time to do whatever I wanted. Now...things are diffrent. I see all my friends still being able to do that and I'm usually stuck home with the toddler. Thier kids are all grown and mine is not. I miss the days when I had alone time and could do whatever I wanted during the course of a whole day. Now, I just sometimes feel suffocated, like I have no me time. And when I finally get it, which hardly ever happens, I'm so exhausted from work, husband, kid...I don't want to do anything. Not to mention, because I live such a boring life, I've gained wait due to inactivity. I can't do all the things I used to do now that I have a husband and toddler. I don't know, I just miss the old me I guess sometimes. I love my husband and daughter but I'm the type of person that needs alone time, I've always been that way. Even when I was younger. Any advice on how I can get it back without hurting the husbands feelings? I don't want him to think it's him or our daughter because it's not. It's me. I just feel like I live such an isolated life now. What can I do? I know this sounds horribly selfish and I'm the first to say it is. My toddler is defintly in the "terrible 2" stage and sometimes I wish I could just hop on my bike or go for a walk with no worry about time. Just to clear my head and maybe get my body and health back. But I can't do that anymore. Any advice on how to get even a little bit of that back without taking away from my family? I guess it does'nt help that most of my friends are not married anymore and their kids are grown enough that they are able to have thier freedom back and I don't.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

Yeah, your not alone for sure. Let me tell you the "big" world is a lot scarier and not as fun as you think it is. If you can have your mom or inlaw mom take the toddler for a weekend (even a sister) and take off. Go someplace sunny and relaxing. Maybe a hotel with a pool and some gambling casino near by. You'll get to hear stories of other people. This will really make you apreciate what you have. Until you get out their you'll start to get depressed. Don't let that happen 'cause the baby will feel your frustration. You probably do live a really isolated life and that can change. The first step is a Holiday! Then get into the "soccer mom" life style. There are tons of us moms that really feel what you feel. I can go on forever but hobbies like chicken farming, gardening, crafts (I hate crafts), cooking school, photography, painting, dancing (salsa is the best) etc. I can go on, but believe me, its pretty ugly out there on your own. Your friends probably aren't being very truthfull about how much fun they are having.


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

"...most of my friends are not married anymore and their kids are grown..."

Duh!

Good husband? Healthy kid? And you miss...what? Did you think you'd continue being footloose and fancy-free when you started a family? Re-focus time, I'm thinking.

Seems to me you've got the dream and don't know it. Get some new friends. The old ones never grew up, even though their kids did. You owe your husband, your child, and yourself. This is YOUR family. What a treasure. What an opportunity! Don't make it trivial by wishing you were a brainless, goal-less youngster once more. The welfare roles and mental hospitals are overpopulated as is.


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

asolo...let me clarify something..so if I have a good husband and a healthy child then your saying that I don't need anyone or anything else in my life? Hmmm...I'm thinking thats not a very healthy lifestyle. I believe an adult needs other things in thier life to be a good wife and mother. Living a secluded life is NOT a good idea for anyone. And as for my friends...be very careful about judging people, especially the ones you have never met. My friends are very close to me and have been for almost 20 years now. They know what I'm going thru. Unfortunatley they have'nt been where I am in so long it's difficult for them to give me some advice. You are right about one thing, my family is a treasure and that is exactly why I feel mentaly I need to get healthier so I can be even a better mom and wife than I already am. Having nothing else in your life but your family is NOT good. I want to experience more out of life so I can pass it on to my child. Thats my job. Not to teach them that family is all that really matters. If thats the case we might as well totally shut ourselves off from the outside world and never leave our house.
Thanks snycal for understanding what I'm going thru. I'm sure thier are alot more of us out there but are afraid to admit it because it's not something that is accepted. It's like this society is saying once you get married and have children, your life does'nt exist anymore. I'm not saying I want to bar-hop...I don't drink, I'm just saying having other things in your life besides your family makes you a much more rounded and grounded person. I believe there is nothing wrong with that. I just don't know how to go about doing that now! Thanks for some of your suggestions. I've been out of life for so long I have forgotten some of the things I enjoyed and when I think of something, other things get in the way of letting me have some free time!


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

Hi nesthound, sounds like your feeling better! This is great, I think when people like asolo are really up front about there feelings it comes out a little harsh. Don't get upset with us we are all really just trying to help each other. I almost lost my husband long story won't tell you...heehee. I can get a little snotty too when people tell me how "hard" they have it.

Let me know for sure what you do like. I may have some suggestions. For example, Harry Potter has a fan club of adults that get together at coffee houses. Just an example :) What state do you live in? Are you a city girl or do you have some property? This will help figure some things out. I think its so cool you have kept your friends for 20 yrs. I wasn't so fortunate from moving so much. If they live close by you can have (once a month) sleep-over movie nights/cooking for a weeks worth of frozen foods/whatever. I say all this because you need to have something to look forward too. Something that will get you excited!


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

The friends I have, I met thru work. I've worked at my job 18 years and I've known them ever since. We don't call each other daily or anything like that, but we used to try and meet up from time to time to hear a band thats playing outside or just hang out at one of thier houses. Of course, I don't do much of that with them anymore. I don't live in the city. I'm a suburbian! We have a small starter home. Before I was married I used to spend all day in the yard mowing, cleaning up, doing all kinds of yard work. I would be busy all day! Sometimes I would'nt speak to a sole and it was alright with me! I live near a park where I used to go for walks or ride my bike. I am so out of shape now I would probably have a heart-attack now!! Plus, when can I fit it in? My life is alot busier now. I've always told my husband I wanted to have a cookout with everyone but it cost $$ which we don't have. Daycare certainly takes all we have! I've tried reading, in fact, I'm reading Harry Potter now, but don't laugh, I've been reading the same book for 2 years! I just don't have time to read. By the time I get to bed, I read one page and I'm out like a light! I just feel so out of the loop since I've gotten married and had a child. Nothing interests me anymore because I have'nt done anything in so long.
I know people on here are trying to help but "tough love" is over-used today. I believe it's making society colder. There is nothing wrong with having a little caring and heart. I think this world needs more of it. Thanks for trying to help.


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

I have walked in your shoes, and here is what I did. First, I joined a mommy and me (child) class and met other moms with a child the same age. Even though the class only met one morning a week, a few of the moms and I would get together with the kids and do things together. It felt so good to talk to other women who were going through the same things I was and we talked about all sorts of things. We would go to the park and talk, or meet at each others houses. We would go for walks together just to get out of the house, or get together at a McDonalds to let them play in the balls. We met each others husbands and would get together and barbecue. Some of those friendships have now lasted years as we have each gone on to have more children who attended preschool together (get on waiting lists now) and now the kids are in gradeschools, and several of us are still friends. Even those that went on to other schools and built new friendships...we still keep in touch and are there for each other if needed.

As for alone time, we all need some! What we were advised was to get someone to watch the child one evening a week for a short time...like 1 1/2- 2 hours while my husband and I went out and got a bite to eat...just the two of us. Wednesday is great for this since it is mid week. Then perhaps on Saturday mornings, your husband could spend time with his daughter, while you go out to breakfast with your friends, or go get a haircut or work out at a gym. Also, if you have family who can watch your daughter on a Saturday night, it will do you both good to maintain "date night" with your husband. Even a quick movie or dinner can refresh us and give us energy to be better parents. Also, many churches have something called "mothers morning out" and they will watch your child for free. In exchange for the free childcare, like once every 6 weeks, you have to volunteer at the church to help watch the little ones on one of the mornings. The moms who take advantage of this program all take turns.

Some towns also have Gymboree made expecially for moms of toddlers...it is an indoor place that has many climbing things for toddlers....it may be set up in a church somewhere in your town, or it may be a permanent business in a shopping plaza, but they also can be a great place to be with a toddler to "get out of the house" and meet other moms with toddlers looking for friends with children the same age, just like you. You will find how important these new friendships are because you are going through many of the same things at the same time with children the same age.
They become very important for sharing all sorts of information. Through these friendships, you will build a life that is much more enjoyable. You need these friendships, especially if you do not have family in the area.

Also, have a toddler seat put on the back of your bike and take your little one our for bike rides. you both will enjoy the change in scenery and the fresh air. You could also consider a jogging stroller and roller blades for more excercise. Watch the papers (classified) and garage sales as these often show up for sale when someones child outgrows them...we sold ours this way.

And last, with a toddler who is having a tantrum...sometimes, by just putting the child in a stroller and going for a walk can help enormously. The fresh air and change of scenery can do wonders. Another thing that helps a cranky little one is letting them splash in cool water. It captures their attention and is very entertaining for them. Just watch them very closely. you can give them some measuring cups, plastic cups etc. Water can be an enormous help to distract them. Another huge help can be to play music and dance with them, or march and give her something to play like the musical triangle, or clickers or something, and march and dance around the house to gether to the music.

And last...remember that naps are really important for her. They get tired and cranky, and it helps mom too.

The days can be long but the years are sooo short. I wish you the best!


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

I have walked in your shoes, and here is what I did. First, I joined a mommy and me (child) class and met other moms with a child the same age. Even though the class only met one morning a week, a few of the moms and I would get together with the kids and do things together. It felt so good to talk to other women who were going through the same things I was and we talked about all sorts of things. We would go to the park and talk, or meet at each others houses. We would go for walks together just to get out of the house, or get together at a McDonalds to let them play in the balls. We met each others husbands and would get together and barbecue. Some of those friendships have now lasted years as we have each gone on to have more children who attended preschool together (get on waiting lists now) and now the kids are in gradeschools, and several of us are still friends. Even those that went on to other schools and built new friendships...we still keep in touch and are there for each other if needed.

As for alone time, we all need some! What we were advised was to get someone to watch the child one evening a week for a short time...like 1 1/2- 2 hours while my husband and I went out and got a bite to eat...just the two of us. Wednesday is great for this since it is mid week. Then perhaps on Saturday mornings, your husband could spend time with his daughter, while you go out to breakfast with your friends, or go get a haircut or work out at a gym. Also, if you have family who can watch your daughter on a Saturday night, it will do you both good to maintain "date night" with your husband. Even a quick movie or dinner can refresh us and give us energy to be better parents. Also, many churches have something called "mothers morning out" and they will watch your child for free. In exchange for the free childcare, like once every 6 weeks, you have to volunteer at the church to help watch the little ones on one of the mornings. The moms who take advantage of this program all take turns.

Some towns also have Gymboree made expecially for moms of toddlers...it is an indoor place that has many climbing things for toddlers....it may be set up in a church somewhere in your town, or it may be a permanent business in a shopping plaza, but they also can be a great place to be with a toddler to "get out of the house" and meet other moms with toddlers looking for friends with children the same age, just like you. You will find how important these new friendships are because you are going through many of the same things at the same time with children the same age.
They become very important for sharing all sorts of information. Through these friendships, you will build a life that is much more enjoyable. You need these friendships, especially if you do not have family in the area.

Also, have a toddler seat put on the back of your bike and take your little one our for bike rides. you both will enjoy the change in scenery and the fresh air. You could also consider a jogging stroller and roller blades for more excercise. Watch the papers (classified) and garage sales as these often show up for sale when someones child outgrows them...we sold ours this way.


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

Great advise bnicebkind! , but how do you find the mommy and me classes? Are these classes for working moms too?

Nesthound, do you trust your daycare provider to do a little overtime? The Gymboree is really a GREAT idea, you can find one at the big malls, start slowly, and consitently. You still need a Holiday! Sorry to keep saying it but I think you need a small two - three day off without worries. I have friends at work but really thats all they are "work friends". Finding the true ones are really hard but starting slowing by turning your life around to be exciting is really up to you. Seriously, buy a new bike to have the your baby with you on bike rides. I don't know if you've noticed but Tyboe or excercise videos from the library are really entertaining for the child while you work out. Its amazing how they look at mommy acting "funny". I didn't ask you about dinner schedules, so I'll assume you are making your own meals for the family.... go to Cosco (hope you have one) and buy ready made meals where you just heat, stir and serve. This seriously helps!


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

Wonderful advice for you, I'll just add my tupence worth!

When my daughter was two I met once a week with two other friends who had children the same age. That was the highlight of my week, and we talked for hours, and hours. Its important that mums get together and talk about their children, picking up ideas etc.

Then that gave me the confidence to go to exercise class, with child minding. Nicky would scream, but that made me exercise faster ! Then I got into netball, with childminding, my son screamed his way through that, but he got used to it in the end.

Its a matter of trying things, you meet all sorts of people and it takes the focus away from your misery to thinking about other people and what they do.

I have been where you are....and I would like to say to you IT DOES GET BETTER!!! When your child starts school you meet a whole lot more people who are in the same situation.

I have read things on this forum, that makes me appreciate my situation, so I guess a bit of "count your blessings" can get you moving sometimes.

I know what it feels like to loose yourself and feel like you are just a wife or mum. I have shed tears for the lost me.

Have a family is hard work, but, girls, we have remember who we are, and keep that side of it going as well.

I have recently discovered sketching, and I seem to escape into that, and be me...its very rewarding. Something I can pick up and do when I have a spare 10 minutes or so, or longer.

Defenately get some exercise, that will make you happier and clear the cobwebs in your mind, and who knows what that will lead to.

In Australia we have the Playgroup association. They are local groups that meet in community halls, and anyone with a child can join. Its a great way to meet local people.

Let us know what you do for yourself. No excuse now, with all the wonderful advice you have staring at you from your computer screen!!

All the best
Popi


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

netshound - I know just what you mean. I love dd so much, wouldn't go back for anything...but - it sure was a heck of a lot easier taking care of just ME and a studio apartment. Those days when all I had in my fridge was a six pack of beer and five bottles of toenail polish, and ten messages on the machine - all for ME!

Then I remember how horribly, soul-crushingly lonely I used to get.

I'm definitely not lonely anymore - but I do think every mom could use some time away from home to get a chance to actually MISS her family - absence makes the heart grow fonder...

I felt so guilty leaving dd (when she was small) that I would FORCE myself to go to a movie so I would chill out. She would always cry when I left; it just broke my heart! Now I go to yoga class, and I can't tell you how much it has added to my life.

2 was probably the toughest age for me. I got bored reading or trying to entertain dd, and it was an exercise in frustration to go for a stroller walk (oh, the tantrums.) As popi said, it does get better. MUCH. Some people love having infants - I found that I really enjoyed being a mother much more when dd got to be about 4. It became physically easier (no more nursing, a lot less carrying) and much less boring, as she is quite a lovely companion. Now at 7, there is no one I would rather spend time with.

Everyone needs solitude. It is a fact. Do not feel guilty about it. That is the worst part - the guilt. DH was always able to take off and do his stuff with nary a backward glance, while I'd be calling home every 20 minutes to make sure everything was okay. If dh will give you the time, grab it. It will be hard at first, but just tell yourself that time alone will make you a better person and a better mom. Try to build some alone time into your schedule, if you can.

I don't have any great words of wisdom, but really, I totally feel your pain.
Amy


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

You could try calling the local preschools, or your babies doctor to find out if they are aware of where the mommy and me programs are in your area. Also, call the churches, since so many seem to offer them. As for Gymboree, check your local phone book or go to a park with your little one and start chatting with some of the other moms with little ones. You will find everyone is anxious to chat and share information.

Many areas have a free magazine type handout that you can pick up at your babies doctors office, or small boutiques stores that sell things for just kids, and it will list things going on around town for you both. But just start chatting and asking around as you meet moms with children. Especially if their kids are a little bit older than yours, they can be great for finding out what is available in your town for you both. They can be a great lifeline for you at this time!


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

I know what your're feeling. I have a one year and a half old. The big difference is that I'm home full time with him. (You talk about daycare, so am I right that you're working?) I sometimes miss the independence (not being able to get up and go when and where I want, as well as not having 'my own' money...I always feel bad spending $$ when DH works so hard to earn it), but still wouldn't trade my life for the world. I have a wonderful DH and DS.

One thing I wonder...I don't know what you work at, or what daycare costs there...but here, it financially made better sense for me to stay home. (Why work to give it all to dc??) There is a severe shortage of dc spaces here, so it runs an average of $3K-4K /month/child, and there's still a 20-30 person waiting list at those places. I was an admin assistant, pre-DS, so not a huge paying job, but I've calculated that by staying at home I'm "making" 3K a month (the "a penny saved is a penny earned" mentality). I couldn't imagine trying to run my house, cook, give DS and DH the attention they deserve and need, have time for myself and still work. If you're doing all that, I can imagine the stress you're under.
Have you ever calculated out how much you're taking home, vs. how much you could save by staying home? (Factor in daycare costs, fuel, the cost of 'boxed' meals as opposed to cooking from scratch, etc.) I was only bringing home 2K a month "working", and by staying home I saved 4K in daycare, $200 in fuel costs, $350 on eating out (most lunches and occasionally supper for 2, because I didn't feel like coming home and cooking), $300 on groceries (those boxed dinners really do add up, plus now I have time to hit the 15% off days, pick up on the sales, etc. and this year I'll be making my own jams/etc. (of course, I find a great deal of enjoyment in cooking...everything just tastes better...), then there's also the clothes/accessories that I don't have to buy...and that's not even taking into account the home reno peojects that I was able to do this year being home...things that were relatively simple but would have totalled close to 25K, had we hired someone to do them all.

Because I'm at home, I have time to meet other moms. We do a little bit of exchange babysitting, and that gives me the opportunity to go for a walk, relax, take some time for myself, sometimes a few of us will get together with all the kids, and they'll play with each other while we just sit and visit. My life is very low stress.
I also garden. That's my major hobby. It gets me out of the house, makes the place look great, can be done very inexpensivly if you know how to start seeds. It also provides us with veggies and berries throughout the summer and into the winter.

Ok, so staying home isn't for everyone, but it is worth looking at if you haven't. I know it makes our marriage run smoother too, because DH is automatically put into a good mood when he comes home to a (relatively) clean house, and the smell of supper or some fresh baked bread. A lot of people seem to think that if you choose to stay at home that you've somehow given up or 'settled' for less, but I've found that I get more satisfaction from staying home, than I ever got at any other job.

Even if you can't (or don't want to) stay home, do find something that you love to do and then *make* time (whether it's once a week or once a month) to do it. Schedule it in, ahead of time, and then go do it. Everyone needs time for themselves. Consider talking to DH about each having a day a month that is your own (for example the fist and third Saturday of each month) so that you can watch your little one while he (golfs/goes fishing/hangs out with 'the guys') and then the next time he can watch your LO while you go do something that brings you peace. Don't forget to also *make* time to spend together, both with and without your little one. (*make*, not find :-)

Kind thoughts!!
Verena


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

I feel like you do, but it sounds from your post that you are in your 40's (I am guessing, so if I am wrong, sorry!) and I am still in my 20's. The reason I can relate, almost none of my friends are married or have children (I am married with a 4yr old and 4 month old). They are still "partying" or just sleeping (lol, how I miss sleep!) and I sometimes get jealous of their never-ending alone time. But, almost all of my friends, at some point have mentioned that they are jealous of me! I am always shocked when someone says this, but the grass is always greener they say...
How I've dealt with it: I work part time. This gives me adult time, an income, and then I can come home and be mommy, and still have time for some of the things that I enjoy. I still freak out now and then, and sometimes I think longingly of the days where I could grab a towel and a book and head for the beach, but that is no longer my life, and I have so much more now.
You sound as though you enjoy gardening and want to work out, those things are still possible. It is all about making "me" time now, it's not just going to happen. I wish you all the luck in the world!


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

I also want to encourage you to be a "bit" persistant with new people that you would like as friends. During this time when our children were babies, one mom was definately persistant about getting together with my best friend. At the time, I suppose it bothered me a little bit, but she did not give up. She ended up very close friends with my best friend. Now, I am glad she did! We are all friends now, and she is so worthwhile to know, and a welcome addition to our group. I am so glad that she hung in there and kept calling to get together!!!!


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RE: Anyone else feel like this?

I totally feel like I went through the same thing! I think that having your first child is a huge transition. You redefine your role as a woman and honestly I didn't feel like I was interesting anymore. I couldn't live the same life anymore. I have awesome friends that I have known for 15 years now and they were there for me as much as they could be but it wasn't the same. We just weren't in the same place and I needed some support. The good thing about your position is that it's easy to make friends with other moms of small children. Most of them feel just as isolated as you do.

When my daughter was 2, we moved to a new city where I knew nobody and I was desperate for friends. I would see 2 moms walking and talking with their babies in their strollers and I would want to cry because I was so lonely. I decided to treat making friends like dating. Here is what I did:
-I would go to McDonalds a lot because my dd could play and I wouldn't have to chase her. This way I could sit and talk to other moms.
-Spend some time getting ready but don't look too nice or the other moms will feel ugly and give you the cold shoulder or they won't talk to you because they will think you are the nanny.
-Scope out the playland as you are waiting for your food. Look for kids your daughters age or look for moms your age.
-Sit close enough to talk to them.
-Try to get your kid to eat first but don't make it a huge deal. The last thing you want is a tantrum. Moms are judgemental (even if they nod sympathetically) and you don't want to seem like hanging out with you or your kids would be unpleasant.
-Smile at their children as run by and then say to their mom, he/she is really cute! Wow...look at all that hair/those big eyes, whatever.
-Then ask them how old their child is to try to get the conversation started. If they don't want to talk you will know it but usually I found that moms were starved for adult conversation and had all kinds of things to say.
-If someone has a toddler and a newish baby the best conversation starter I used (yes I used it often) was 'So, was it more of an adjustment to go from no kids to your first child or to go from 1 kid to 2?' Say that you are thinking about having another one (even if you aren't) but are sondering how it will affect your family dynamic, blah blah blah.
-I also would coach my dd to go up to little kids and say, 'Hi, Im Kimberly!'. If she started to play with one kid in particular it was a lot easier to talk to their mom.
-If you sense someone lingering just to talk to you, you should say, 'They play so well together. Maybe we could have a playdate sometime. Here, let me write down my email address' (much less threatening for them to email you than call you).

Ok, so if it isn't already obvious I have spent a lot of time thinking about this but honestly it really paid off to have other moms to talk to. After a few playdates you can suggest a moms only night and go out for coffee or sushi and mai-thai's or whatever it is you feel like doing.

Just because you are feeling a little sad about your 'lost' life doesn't mean that you don't appreciate all the good things that you have. You just don't want it to be all you have. It really helped me to make other friends that had little kids because they understood me. You need someone to see your humor and who has been there when you say 'I'm going to drop-kick the baby if he doesn't stop crying'. And to understand the jubilation you feel when your toddler poops in the potty for the first time! I also noticed that once I had a few new friends that I stopped thinking about being unhappy. Oh, I just remembered. I also made friends by going to matching moms dot com. We would schedule a get together every week. They usually have groups for working moms as well at stay at home moms. I really hope this helps. It's a tough adjustment but you will find yourself again. :)


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