The Go-It-Alone Culture (On Needing People)
I haven't been as regular on recording my thoughts brought about by this book as I'd hoped to be, but that's nothing new. I either haven't had time to write or I've had other things to write about... life has been a little crazy!
What's funny is I had planned on writing about this chapter this evening, but before I got started my home phone rang. We only got that phone when we realized the landlords weren't calling us because our cell phones were long distance for them, so it doesn't ring very often except for salesmen and debt collectors for people we've never heard of. So it was a pleasant surprise to hear a voice from someone I actually know. Our conversation included her telling me there were some people that wanted to do something to help us out, something that would make my life as a mom easier.
I was floored. And I honestly wasn't sure what to say. I'm finding myself in that situation a lot recently.
This chapter talks about how we as moms can isolate ourselves. We don't want to inconvenience anyone. We certainly don't want to admit that we're struggling in areas we think everyone else has under control. We just try to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and figure out our own problems. We don't make the effort to build relationships with other women. That takes time and emotional energy and sometimes it feels like more than we're capable of handling with all our other responsibilities.
This was a hard chapter for me, because it speaks to an area that I really struggle with. I am very much an isolationist. I am getting out more here in MT than I ever did in TN, and it's stretching me. But I have seen what happens when women isolate themselves and I don't want that to happen to me and my family. So I'm making the effort, but it's not an easy thing. A friend of mine from college who moved even further than I have wrote a beautiful post about what it's like to be the new girl, especially as an introvert.
Sally sets a wonderful example of how to make friends in a new town. And I read that and think, this is great! But it's simply not in my comfort zone. I have to ask myself why? Why don't I invite people over? Why am I hesitant to join others in their homes or set up a meet & greet with other moms? This is my second time through this book, and the first time this chapter left me feeling inadequate, like I clearly wasn't doing as much as I should be to reach out into my new community. But as I read the rest of the book, I realized that I can't conquer every area of my life at once. You can have too many good things.
I hate my house. I am a horrible housekeeper on top of that. Put the two together and you have a place you're ashamed for anyone to see. I am an introvert, so I need to be comfortable in my surroundings before I bring other people into them. One of the things the Mechanic and I wanted when we first got married was to be hospitable, but that just has never really happened. But I want to get to the point that it does. So I need to get my cart and horse in the right order. Work on my housekeeping, work on adding beauty to my home so that I am comfortable in it, work on meal planning and improving my ability to keep a grocery budget... and then, work on expanding my social circle through my home.
However, that doesn't mean I can ignore the need for other people while I work on improving these areas of my life. And that brings me to a subject that this chapter doesn't directly speak to, but it came to my mind anyway.
Charity. To be continued...