While I wasn’t sick enough to receive Extreme Unction, I was too sick to function. (Now, if you can get Conjunction Junction out of my head, I’ll give you a nickel.) The ordeal reminded me of how important it is to have a few people you can rely on before things fall apart. Once you find those people, feed them, water them, and never let them go.
Seriously, I am a stay at home mom, I don’t have a daycare or a permanent sitter on standby. I know working parents have to deal with emergency sitters and the hassle of what to do with Little Johnny when he’s sick and you still need to get food on the table. Sometimes though, if mom or dad is sick, Little Johnny still has a childcare he can go to so mom or dad can rest. A lot of times SAHMs haven’t developed these contingency plans for when these things fall apart.
When we first moved to our new home, my mother was an hour away and working full time. So she really wasn’t an option except in extreme cases (childbirth, surgery, etc). I realized how badly I needed some other people in my life and joined a mothers’ group. The first one I became involved in was Mothers and More. It was hard for me to find the courage to come out of my shell, but at the same time it was so nice to find others who were home with their children. As we settled into the community we became involved with our church and fellow members have become an important part of our “network.”
Yesterday it was such a relief to know that there were people I could call who would watch the rugrats for a couple hours while I drug myself to the doctor. Still, there are others who wanted to know if there was anything I needed from the store, so I didn’t have to drag the monkeys or myself out. Never in my life have I lived where help was a simple phone call away. This network didn’t magically appear, I did have to make an effort to meet people and let them know that “Hey, if you ever need anything just call.” Harder yet is finding the courage to “just call” for myself. I must say, once that pride has been swallowed, it’s really nice to have someone who cares bring by some soup or drop off some juice.
Here are a few possible starting points for building your own safety net:
- mothers groups (find one in your area)
- church or synagogue
- local members of your blogging community**
I know the last one sounds silly, but I know several examples of when local bloggers have come to the rescue. Our own dear Ivy let another blogger use her dryer, others have rescued people stranded at the airport, and there are many more stories of people helping out.
It is important to remember as you are cultivating your support group that you offer help as well. So if you here an acquaintance of yours has come down with the plague, drop off some juice or (yes, even mustgo), even if they insist they are doing just fine. It’ll be appreciated more than you’ll ever know.
**Always be careful when meeting strangers, use common sense and meet in public areas until a relationship has been established.