A Surprising Remedy for Tiredness: Host a Playdate

I woke up this morning already drained, and just knew it was going to be one of those tired days. I hadn’t gotten much sleep, woke up at 5:45 to feed the newborn, and felt a real dilemma once that was done over whether to lay back down for 15 more minutes or have a shower while my partner was still home and could look after the boys (I chose the latter). I was preemptively cranky about how exhausting the day ahead was going to be. I also had a playdate planned for later in the morning; a couple of friends of mine and their kids were going to come over.

I contemplated cancelling, apologizing but saying I just needed to ‘lay low’ and get through the day. I knew they would understand. But I didn’t really want to do that, because I haven’t had that many daytime adult interactions since my son was born a month ago, and frankly, I was craving some company and conversation.

Now my friends have come and gone, with their kids in tow, and surprisingly, I think hosting a playdate has actually helped me on this very tired day. Sure, I’m still very tired, and sure, there’s a mess of toys to clean up in the living room – but both those things would have been true if it was just me and my kids at home all day. But I think I’m a better mom today because they were here with me: our kids kept each other occupied (as much as 20-month-olds can do), and even though our chatting was interrupted (as understandably happens with 20-month-olds), I still felt more relaxed having them there than I would have been on my own.

So why was I so quick this morning to think I needed to cancel? Maybe it was an assumption that ‘hosting’ is tiring – but it’s not, as I have lovely, laid-back friends. Maybe it was the thought of the noise and extra energy of additional kids in the house – but really, they weren’t very noisy, and in any case, the reassurance of having extra parents around definitely outweighs any worry about having extra kids around, in my books. Or maybe it was subconscious social expectations to be at my ‘best’ when I am with others – but I’m pretty sure other people understand that life can be tiring or chaotic, and they won’t even raise an eyebrow if I’m not at my peak.

For me, this is one of the best parts of having a village: being able to live alongside people, sharing our un-glamorous, simple, everyday experiences; and adding some good company and laughter to those moments or days that you weren’t really looking forward to. So next time I wake up to one of those tired days, instead of thinking how hard it’s going to be to get through, I might just start calling friends to see who wants to play.

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2 Comments

  1. I often feel like bailing on social things when I’m cranky and haven’t had enough sleep, and then if I force myself I almost always am glad that I did it. I think your points are spot-on about worrying that we will be judged and then finding it liberating when we’re not, but I think it’s also because when we’re in that cranky mode it’s hard to remember how good social time can be.

    And that’s why it’s so important to get new moms especially into playgroups or other social things. For the first nine months of my older child’s life, I was wholly isolated without any mama friends and back then “social media” was Livejournal. I learned the hard way that a lot of the anguish is made tenfold by going through it alone, so for this second kid I drag myself out more often.

    Like

    • raiseamother says:

      Thanks, Kimberly! You’re absolutely right, and this applies to many of us even outside the time of new motherhood. Once we’re already cranky or down, we sometimes avoid or back out of the very social activities that might be just the thing we need to feel better.
      I (this is Lindsay here) didn’t start doing anything with other moms til my first son was 4 months old, which meant I didn’t feel like real bonds had been formed for another 2 months, which is when I had to go back to work. So I’ve made a point with #2 of trying to connect with people more often, earlier on. It makes such a big difference in my well-being!
      It’s a good point about social media, too!

      Like

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