Just the other day, I blogged
daughter's playdate fail: On her very first play ate with a baby she'd
met months ago—actually, her very first playdate ever—she began bawling as soon
as the other baby squealed her hello.
Obviously, I feel responsible for
this. As a WAHM who is trying to simultaneously care for her daughter while
juggling clients, neither of us has very many opportunities for human
What this playdate made clear,
however, was that I have to try harder.
Still, since I find most day care
options to be unaffordable—and since I already struggle to take breaks during
the work day so Em can, at the very least, for the love of god, interact with
me—I know I'm going to have to get creative.
So here we have it. Nine alternative
ways to socialize your child when you're a WAHM with no paid childcare and life
1. Exploit the Fact that Your Child's Grandparents Are Madly in Love
This was actually my one
concession when I realized that simultaneously working and watching Em was
going to be super-duper hard. I swallowed my (rapidly diminishing) pride and
asked my mom and mom-in-law if they could each help out a few hours a week.
Thank God our families live close by. I am truly #blessed.
2. Very Sporadically Attend Mommy & Me Activities
When I first had Em, I went to
& Me Yoga classes. I went to two regular new mom groups, plus a third for
people with postpartum depression. I tried Mommy & Me Storytime at my local
independent bookstore. After a while, though, it began to feel as if I had too
many obligations on an already full plate. My advice? Go once every few months.
Your baby may not build lasting friendships, but at least it will never feel
3. Attend a Random, Awkward Meetup in a Nearby Park
I'm an introvert who also has social
anxiety. So I was really going above and beyond when I ventured out to a new
mom meet-up at my local park. Unfortunately, only one other person showed up. I
winced my way through the awkwardness for an hour and a half before calling
mercy and heading home.
4. Schedule the Occasional Playdate
During my new mom support group
blitz in the early months of motherhood, I exchanged contact information with
only one person. And this person was not a WAHM, so it was difficult to find a
date and time that worked for both of us. Which is actually ideal when life is
overwhelming and the thought of one more weekly obligation makes you want to
curl up into a ball and cry.
5. Run Errands Together and Chat with Strangers
The first time I took the baby
out to Target, I felt like a moving target in an action-packed,
explosion-filled video game. "Awww ... how old is she?" strangers
would ask, moving toward me at an alarming speed. "Two weeks!" I
would shout, over my shoulder, without breaking stride, maneuvering away from
them as quickly as I could. Another time, while waiting to fill a prescription
at CVS, an old man walked up and started patting Em on the head. It took every
ounce of restraint I had to resist tackling him to the ground and running away.
Now I actively invite conversation with complete strangers because, if we are
out and about, it's likely we haven't interacted with another human being in
6. Take Him to Other Baby Showers
I loathe baby showers. Especially
baby showers without booze. That's why I didn't have one. I didn't want to
subject anyone else to that slow, cruel torture. Still, occasionally I am
invited to one and, for some reason, RSVP "yes." Pro tip: Take your
baby. There will be other babies there, providing manifold opportunities for
socializing. Then, at the first sign of fatigue on your baby's part, you have a
built-in out. NO ONE QUESTIONS YOU WHEN THE BABY IS TIRED.
7. Include Your Baby on Work-Related Conference Calls
I usually wear a headset when
conducting work calls but, sometimes, just for funsies, I don't. This gives
colleagues ample opportunity to make cooing sounds at my baby when they hear
her screaming, and gives my baby the chance to hear voices other than my own.
8. Draw Out the Meter Reader's Visit for an Uncomfortably Long Time
Or the UPS guy's visit. Or your
time with the guy who delivers your pizza. Whatever. It doesn't matter. Those two
extra minutes your baby experiences with the stranger on the threshold of your
home are golden. I actually know my PSEG guy's favorite weather and bring
it up in conversation because this is what things have come to.
9. Finally, Allow Your Baby to Be Raised by Your Passel of Cats
The level of excitement my
daughter displays when she makes eye contact with our cats eliminates any guilt
I might feel over allowing them to be her primary source of conversation. Yes,
you can be a crazy cat lady and still maintain a family.