Mom Friends

Making friends in adulthood is difficult. You’re no longer attending class with the same set of people for months at a time. If you’re like me, you’ve refrained from making friends in the workplace because you don’t want to mix the two worlds. While I was pregnant with my son, I started looking into mom groups. After I had my son, I felt isolated. The majority of my friends I made before I had my son worked outside the home. I didn’t have family nearby at all. It got lonely. I joined a few mom groups through the internet. For the most part, everyone seemed to talk about the same topics at the meet ups.

After a while, I got tired of hearing about parenting, about life as a mom. No one would delve into other topics like musics, sports, or movies. It got to be the same ol’ thing, no matter what mom group I joined. It seemed like the only thing that united us was the fact that we had a child around the same time. That was the only common thread. Everything seemed so superficial.

Of course you want to stick to the safe topics when you first meet someone, but after a few months, that’s all they would talk about. I aired my frustrations to a friend of mine. She gave me some advice that has stuck with me all these years. She told me that being a mom is a fact, not an interest. She encouraged me to join groups that shared the same interests I did.

I took her advice to heart. I looked to the internet again, but this time, I made an effort to look for groups that shared my interests, versus mom groups. These are the groups that I started making friends in. Finally, I was able to talk about things other than motherhood. I learned how to play new board games in my gaming group. I found other women who ran as slow as I did in a running group. I found concert buddies in a music group.

I’m very grateful for my friend’s advice. I’ve made some very good friends by finding other things in common than being a mom!

— Bianca

Day Care and Mom Guilt <3

My kids are five years apart. I had a nanny for my son for three mornings a week from the time he was 8 months old to when we moved away from LA when he was two. Having that time to myself was very much needed. It was nice to get away for just a few hours, be around other adults. Something as mundane as running errands suddenly turned into a field day since I was kid free. My son is now in first grade. So he’s “on his own” at school.

It’s been my daughter and I on weekdays from the beginning. I had forgotten how consuming motherhood could be with a small child. I’m exhausted by day’s end. Of course I love watching her grow, hit those milestones, and I enjoy taking her to a park or a play date. I will be the first to admit that although watching her grow has been rewarding, it’s also been tiring not having a break at all this time around. There was no rest for the weary either since I’d have to care for my big kid when he got home from school.

The nanny search hasn’t been as fruitful as it was in LA. I found myself feeling overwhelmed. My little baby was now a toddler. I knew I needed some adult time, even more so now that I have two kids. I recall how relieved I was to have a nanny around for my son. Since we had no luck finding a nanny, I decided to put my daughter in daycare. There was a waitlist, so I figured it would be a while until I heard from them. As luck would have it, the daycare contacted me two weeks later when a spot opened up.

My emotions were mixed. Yes, this is what I was waiting for, what I needed, some me time. On the other hand, I wasn’t expecting a spot to open so quickly & I started second guessing myself about letting my daughter go to daycare 6 months earlier than her brother did. This was the same daycare that my son had gone to previously, so I knew most of the staff & I was familiar with the facility and the routine. Remembering all of this made me feel a little better, so I went ahead & booked my appointment for the tour, and two trial visits with my daughter.

The tour felt so surreal. Just being back at my son’s old daycare brought back a lot of memories. Couple that with the fact that my daughter would be starting there soon, and it brought about a whole bag of mixed emotions! Next up were the two trial visits. I would stay with my daughter for an hour in the classroom to see how she liked it. On the first day, it took her a little while to warm up, but once she did, she explored the classroom and played with some toys. She didn’t even stay that close to me, so I took that as a sign that she was comfortable. She warmed up very quickly on the second visit. She even interacted with the other kids and played with them too. She had so much fun that she didn’t want to leave. I knew at that moment that I made the right choice to send her to daycare.

It’s been over a month since she started daycare. She’s been adjusting fairly well. She never cries when I drop her off. She also squeals sometimes when she sees the building. Her teachers tell me that she plays well with the other kids. I’ve been getting used to my new routine as well. It does feel nice to have some time for myself, not only to get things done, but to have a chance to relax and recharge. I do feel like a better parent now since I do get a small break for a few hours twice a week. I feel more focused on the rest of the days I have her now.

Have you sent your child to daycare? How have you coped with that ever present mom guilt?

— Bianca

Just Breathe

My daughter and I are enrolled in a mommy & me gym class, which offers makeups for missed days. The class that we went to for the makeup was completely night & day from our regular class. The teacher was low energy & seemed to be going through the motions, compared to our warm and kind instructor. The other parents and children also kept to themselves. No one talked to each other at all, which made for an unwelcoming environment.

This is the moment I felt a pit in my stomach. Suddenly, I reverted into my awkward middle school self. I wondered why no one was talking to us, even when I smiled & waved at the other parents, or complemented their children on their cute outfits. Why didn’t the teacher seem pleasant? Why did these parents keep to themselves? Was it something I did? Was I not dressed nicely enough? Maybe it was because I wasn’t wearing makeup. Maybe that’s why I was given the cold shoulder.

I caught myself in the middle of this negative self talk, and told myself to take a breath and calm down. I reminded myself that class is almost over, and to just focus on my daughter until the end of class and to not worry about anyone else. I remembered that the gym I go to was open and that I could utilize their free daycare so I could regroup.

Those negative thoughts kept creeping up while I was driving, and I kept telling myself “just get to the gym” over and over again. Once we got there, I felt a little better after being greeted with smiles from the front desk and the childcare workers. After dropping my daughter off, I made my way back to the lobby, where I took out my ever present notebook & started journaling about my experience at the mommy & me class, just to let off some steam.

Just taking a step back to breathe, regroup, and get all my thoughts out of my head and onto the paper worked wonders for my mood. It takes some practice, but taking a step back to breathe works wonders.

-Bianca

Keep On - Keeping On!

Sometimes, as moms. We find ourselves in a physical vs mental battle. Ok… Not sometimes, most of the time, maybe even all of the time!

Even when we are sitting on the couch at home, and one of our little one’s is napping on top of us. We are fighting against ourselves.

I really should be doing the dishes or laundry right now, but if I move, she might wake up. Well, maybe if I let her sleep for 30 minutes, and then get up, she will stay asleep.

But what if a dish falls or the laundry door slams out of habit. She will probably wake up crankier than when she fell asleep. Then both of our days will be ruined.

By the time we have convinced ourselves that it’s worth a try, after-all, you, I mean your spouse, can’t shower without a clean towel… We are lucky if we can at least get 10 minutes of sorting done. Or, we have exhausted ourselves so much from the well fought battle, that we just end up zoning out on whatever is on tv or our phone. (If we were lucky enough to have it in hand when our little one fell asleep.)

It’s a constant cycle that happens every day. Our working counterpart comes home and wonders what we have been doing all day. We honestly can’t even think of the answer because our mind has forgotten the battle we put ourselves through all day. So we say the usual. “Not as much as I would have liked to do. How was your day?”

This is an experience I know all too well. This is why I created CCH, or Just Right, in the first place. It’s not about what’s physically in front of you. It’s about what you are mentally capable of doing because so many other distractors are now off your radar.

It’s about your needs and your child’s needs. That is why I constantly tell people. This is NOT a kid’s cafe. This is an adult space that welcomes and encourages your child to act like children. This is a space, trying to change the perspective of what it means to have multiple generations under one roof, and being ok with it. (Like times used to be.)

Now, parents actually have the opportunity to get work done if they choose. Or not get any work done and enjoy being present with their little one. Finish the book they started 2 years ago and forgot about. Catch up on emails or dare I say it, make a phone call. Yes, our phones still do that! Or best idea of all, have a real, less distracted, conversation with another human being!

It’s truly a unique experience you can only have when you come to CCH. It’s something I fought hard to make happen, because I know, firsthand, what it’s like to become isolated in your own head. Nothing good can come out of that.

Whether you meet your next best friend, or just enjoy some well deserved downtime, a healthy meal option, a cup of hot coffee! Whatever your me time requires. We want to be that space that’s all about Y-O-U!

That’s why, with my Faith in God for putting this will in my heart. The look on older generations faces lighting up when they see a little person playing. The relieved look on parent’s faces when they are ready to leave after experiencing the true purpose of the space. (Yes we have to charge. This is Campbell, California for goodness sakes.)

I believe once this space is full of all types of individuals, just naturally loud with conversation you won’t even realize the child’s space is there when you come in the door. (It’s a little obvious right now.)

But despite the pushback. Despite the days when I wonder if next month is going to go as planned. God sends someone in who tells me. Just keep on - keeping on. So I do. And so should you. Because you’re worth it!

-JQ

It's the Little Things

I had a long morning with my 18 month old. We went to a park for a few hours, and then to music class. I was exhausted. I had a little downtime during her nap, but I needed more! Most of the indoor play areas we visit are closed in the afternoons. Fortunately, that’s not the case at Campbell Coffee House.

On the drive over, I felt so eager to get there. I felt so much relief when we pulled into the parking lot. My daughter made a beeline for the play kitchen the moment we set foot in the play area. She loved opening and closing all the cabinets and playing with all the pots and pans. I just love seeing her play on her own and watch her figure things out.

She came over to me for a hug, and went to the slide with a small ball pit and maze. She squealed every time she watched the balls zig zag their way down to the pit. She climbed up the steps, but wasn’t quite ready to go down the slide. Instead, she played with the ball pit a bit more.

Since my daughter was occupied, I actually found a moment to sit down and write in my planner. I definitely couldn’t do that at home, she’d be climbing all over me. Something about being somewhere new, a change in scenery seems to do the trick. I loved being able to watch her play and have some much needed and deserved me time! After I had some delicious coffee and a tasty smoked salmon dagwood, and my daughter a small snack, we headed home.

There’s really no better feeling than hearing your baby sing and babble away on the drive home. Between playing with my daughter, watching her play on her own and having time to myself and a warm meal on top of all that, I felt a sense of accomplishment. It was truly a successful afternoon!

Excerpt from Bianca’s Blog