Let me just paint a little picture for you: I had a 2 month old colicky baby and a husband who had just gotten out of the hospital. I’m fairly certain I was surviving through lack of sleep not approved of at the Geneva Convention, and my husband took me to an informational talk at his chiropractor’s office. My idea of a hot date night if there ever was one.
We sat behind another mom who had kids the same age as our kids. My first impression of her was that her baby ate a lot. Her first impression of me was that I burped my baby too loudly. And thus our friendship was born.
I met this friend at an outing for crunchy moms. I met another friend at Bible study kid drop off. I met another friend at library story time. And on and on down the list.
Truth time: I totally use my kids’ playdates and activities as the vehicle through which I make friends and get filled up.
Why Moms Need Playdates, Too
Listen, when I first starting staying home full time with my oldest, I rarely left the house. NCIS marathons on TBS and my mom were all the company I needed. And I lived with my mom, so I was set.
However, I’m a lover of people. I get filled up in social situations and I like learning and being around others.
But then I had a colicky baby and my husband had a crazy work schedule. Leaving the house was both amazingly thrilling and completely overwhelming.
So I thought really hard about what it would take for me to leave my house – the energy involved and the orchestration (because we also only had one car at the time) and decided that outings weren’t going to just before the kids.
Playdates had to be for mom, too.
The meant I was looking for something that didn’t have a ‘drop off and leave’ mentality and I also wasn’t looking for ‘this is the first break I’ve had all day so I’ll be on my phone’ time.
I was looking for community, for building up and into other moms as well as for my kids.
This may seem like a tall order, but it’s easier than it sounds when you think what will work for both of you.
Killing Two Birds with One Stone
I really try to ration time out of the house. Between homeschooling, housework, and working from home, I kind of have to be, ya know, home to get stuff done. Also we kind of live in the half way between somewhere and nowhere so stores an outings are far and I don’t want to be running around for the heck of it.
But I also need to be out of the house. I don’t know about you, but I think the air gets stagnant or something over here and after days of being cooped up at home, we’re all in a special crazy place and sometimes a change of scenery is just what we need to stop the whining-for-a-cup-of-juice, mommy-losing-her-freaking-mind cycle. Ya know what I mean?
When we head out to something that fills all of us up, I’m excited to get out of the house, even when it would be easier to stay home. The kids are excited to get to do their own thing and spend a little time in their own environments with their own friends.
I can’t say there’s a science or a formula to this. Choosing an activity that’s good for you and good for them probably takes more art than science. And there’s a transition period as everyone gets used to their part of the activity.
And my kids will definitely get to have their own things as they get older (soccer soon what what!) and I’m excited about that, too. But that won’t take away from my need of being filled so that I can pour into them. In fact, I have a guess that as I’m pouring more out, I’ll need even more quality things poured in. Good thing a few of my friends’ kids will be on the same soccer team. 😉
At the end of the day, as much as I love my kids, my husband, and my life being all the things I am for each of them, I cannot only pour out, and never get anything put back in. My personality, my fearfully and wonderfully made-ness needs other people around that I can know and be known by and give encouragement and get encouragement.
Finding outings that fill me up and fill my kids up are an awesome way to spend our time out of the house. What kind of outings, playdates, or events fill up both you and your children? Share it in the comments!