Josh’s university term is now well and truly underway and after eighteen weeks of summer holiday my days are suddenly filled with baby groups, college events, church activities and social visits again.
Although I didn’t plan it I have managed to end up going to at least one group every week day which is considerably more than I was doing last term. At first I thought that I was way too busy and that I was worrying about which group I should cut out. Three of the days mean a 1 ½ hour round walk and it just seemed like it was dominating my whole day and I worried that Ivy was getting too out of routine.
However, after a couple of weeks I realised that I was actually feeling really happy. In fact, I felt much more like my ‘normal self’ which I have been struggling to find ever since Ivy was born. I don’t think I was necessarily depressed but I think I have struggled with the huge change of having a baby and the isolation that can sometimes bring.
I’m an introvert and so it’s not natural to me to want to go to baby groups and meet lots of people I don’t know, but I am beginning to realise that having lots of social interaction in my day can make a lot of difference to my mood which in turn means that I am able to be a better parent.
I think the biggest thing I have noticed is that it allows me to be more present and active in playing with Ivy. There’s only so much that you can do in a small cottage to entertain an active one year old before you just crave some escape and adult conversation. If I’ve got no-where to go I tend to do that through social media, blogging or television. There’s nothing wrong with those things, but the problem comes when they start dominating your time and taking you away from your children.
I would use the computer to escape the loneliness and boredom of being with a small child by myself all day but then I would feel worse because I’d feel guilty because I don’t want Ivy growing up thinking that playing on the computer is the norm. It was just a giant cycle of doom and frustration.
However, the groups allow Ivy to let off some steam with other children and allows me to talk to other adults. It also means that we have less time at home which forces me to be more productive when we are and makes play time fun instead of looking at the clock wondering how long until bed time.
Anyway, the purpose of this post isn’t to make me sound like a bad parent - although I think I might be doing a good job of it – but simply to celebrate feeling a bit more joyful about life and actually enjoying my days.
I don’t doubt that it has also coincided with getting more involved with a great church and having our curacy to look forward to but whatever it is…long may it continue!