Today was our 5th weekly playgroup meeting. We've been to everybody's house so we're going to start all over again next week. The kids are starting to fight over toys more which I see as a good thing because it means they are getting more comfortable with one another.
The moms seem to be getting more comfortable too. It is interesting to see the parallels between the dynamic of the children and moms. There must be a 4-5 week window for building comfort, no matter the age... Today's play group ran 45 minutes longer than all the rest because we were having some real conversation. We talked about crazy hormones during the first month postpartum and all of the irrational things we did and cried about during that time and stuff like that. There are a couple of moms with two kids (toddler + infant) and they opened up about difficulties with being there for both and the guilt that can go along with how impossible that actually is. We also talked about our efforts/journey so far with night weaning.
In my real life I don't usually open up to people, especially new people, about any struggles I am having while I am having them. I tend to like to figure things out on my own and worry that opening up before I've got a handle on it could invite unsolicited advice or perhaps cloud my perception of my thoughts and feelings on a subject or experience. Another reason that I don't often talk about my own obstacles is because I really enjoy putting a lot of energy and reflecting on what is going right in my life. I value this in myself because it is what brings me inward peace and contentment with my life just the way it is, which I feel is so important. I think bringing up or dwelling on negative or difficult things can result in negative energy and can place a storm cloud over someone's head that they can't shake.
Though I value that I truly feel happy and content, I do recognize that what brings that to my life often leaves me unreachable or difficult to relate to for many people that I meet. I give off a false sense of perfectionism and she-has-it-all-together-all-the-timedness. Many people in my life will come to me to celebrate when things are going right but rarely do so when things take a turn for the worse. Part of me accepts that this is just who I am. I don't "sugar coat" things in my life intentionally to paint a perfect picture for spectators. I just save my energy for focusing on the positive and try not to give the negative too much attention in my own mind so that is what always comes out.
I went into this play group seeing it as a new opportunity or a clean slate if you will since none of the ladies knew me before we met at story time. I am still being myself but I have been intentional about what kind of listener I am and make a point to open up a little to show that I am no more perfect or have it anymore together than any other mother out there. I do not offer advice unless specifically asked and try not to elaborate too much when asked about our lifestyle, farm journey, etc. I chose our night weaning journey and Ayden's sleep obstacles as a personal struggle, yet safe subject for me, that I discuss with these ladies. As an introvert, it can difficult for me to let people in and build friendships. I have decided it is a part of my life I am ready to work on and so far, it's going well.
I hope to continue to be mindful and intentional about this aspect of my life. I'd like to be someone to whom friends not only come for celebration but also someone who can offer support when things aren't going perfect for them. One of my favorite quotes says,
"The reason we deal with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." I don't want to dwell on the negative but at the same time I am realizing the importance of letting people in so they can see your "behind the scenes" every now and then. Imperfection is what makes us all human.
Do you have trouble letting people in? What do you do about it?
Flashback! Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Let The Winter Holidays Begin!"
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