"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

Not mid-life & not quarter-life, but the family-life crisis?

The other day, OPB's Think Out Loud discussed the "quarter-life crisis", a situation arising from "upwardly moble, college-educated young professionals" who are "dissatisfied with their careers", leading to feelings of "instability, isolation, frustration, and reassessment."

It made me think - not that I was suffering from mid- or quarter-life crisis - but about moments when I felt that I was ridden with some family-life crisis, the same feelings arising from the pressures, stress, isolation, and expectation that accompanies the role of mama and life partner.  It made me think - when we are caught in an endless juggle, managing calendars, making dinner after dinner, carefully planning so grocery bills are within budget - it only makes sense that some of us would find ourselves in crisis.

I know it's hard.  For all of us.  When you really need help, when you really need a hand, and when you really need another ear to listen, where do you go for support?  How do we meet new moms, make new friends, build community around us?  Time and time again, we receive emails from urbanMamas new to Portland, new to mamahood, or new to unique life challenges, that leaves her in search of more.  What would be your number one suggestion?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I could use some help with this myself. I had my first son when I was 21 and my second son this February at 32. I had a child before most of my friends and although most of them have begun having children in the last couple years, I would LOVE to meet some mamas whose circumstances are similar to mine. Balancing the needs of a newborn and a preteen has been interesting...

I heard the same radio show and found it quite interesting, made me think back to my 20's (I am now 40) and the choices I have made to get here, and how similar my life feels to that time. I stayed home with my two boys for 5 years and now need/want? to go back to work. But I am not sure I want to do what I did before and so . . . Anyway, more to the question, I recently moved back here from a small midwestern town where EVERYONE went to church. Our family does not but I can see the appeal for meeting new mom's, making friends, building community . . .

Amber, I can totally relate to your comment. A good friend and I both had our first kids in our late teens. She went on to have 3 more kids since then, and I am just now trying for my second, at 32 also. Meanwhile, most of my friends and relatives my age are just having their first or second while the first is still a toddler. It is very interesting trying to get into 'baby' mode while my first baby is getting into boys and makeup. (!) It is difficult to find others who can relate, but not impossible. I've met a lot of great moms through my daughter's school, and in our neighborhood, through other neighbors and community events.

I've, lately, been meeting like-minded mamas through Twitter and Facebook. you have a chance to test each other's lives in the offhand comments, gently and safely see how you interact, what are your values, how do you spend your time, and then one day you find a reason to connect off of the internet, and then... if all goes well... you'll find your kindred spirits.

and: oh so well do I know the family-life crisis. I too listened to a bit of the quarter-life crisis show thinking to myself, 'oh, these people have no idea what they're in for!' and looking at my life, now, when fulfilling career is pushed aside for fulfilling my boys' complex needs. the idea of meeting a mama in one of the "traditional" ways (through birthing class, preschool pickup, PTA, soccer club) is discarded utterly, as how could I presume to foist my raft of special circumstances on a casual acquaintance? I need someone to really know me and my struggles and loves before I can trust that a playdate won't end in tears and recriminations.

thank goodness for you all, here, and early connections without collateral damage on the internet.

also, I've lately decided that I really need to make better friends with all my neighbors. like your relatives, you can't choose your neighbors, much: like relatives, they're always there and it would be nice if we could be there for each other.

I heard part of the program and wondered what others thought. I have gone through so many career changes I get dizzy, and the stay-at-home mom thing, art/craft thing, the garden thing, etc. Having friends who are at a similar point in their lives AND friends who have gone through those issues has helped me put my circumstances in perspective and appreciate that life is messy.

I really don't know, either. I've met some through work, but then sometimes theres' this feeling that you should leave work relationships at work. I'm better friends now with friends whom I met at a previous workplace. I'd like to get together with some at work, but don't quite feel comfortable asking, and don't even know what to ask. With the busy family (it's hard just to get chores and errands done and connect with the kids), I can't even think of anything to do. I'd love to develop friendships in the neighborhood so we don't have to pack up and drive, but those haven't really blossomed.

For me there's not much family crisis as much as work-family crisis. I'm hands down more interested in my family dynamics than my career. Career can come later, and shrinking down the time I spend in it during the week would be welcome if it were possible. The one piece of advice I give my younger acquaintenances is to prepare now to want to spend less time working later. Even if they don't have a family, I think it's still valid.

I've met all of my friends through church. I have a very large community of women in similar situations as me and it so comforting to have this core group around me. I can't imagine life as a mama without them.

Its worse than dating, isn't it?! Cause with dating, there is only the dynamic of two to consider...But with mamas and children, you have so much more to match up!

I felt very similar, starting mamahood at 38.
I gotta say, volunteering for Nursing Mothers Counsel has lead me to many wonderful mamas, and a couple that I've become really close to.
And recently, I joined a meetup group -like 'SE Moms on a Budget' and 'NE Moms'- and it's been great! There is also the St. Johns or Sunnyside 'Swap and Play'. These are great resources for trading meals, childcare, clothes, toys and support, etc. I have also discovered a few awesome neighbors..And they make such a nice difference.

My neighborhood association has a kids club. Being relatively new to Portland I took full advantage of the opportunity to meet other families. I've been lucky enough to find a number of like-minded families with similar aged children, and now we get together at least every other week with the kids, and once a month for adult time. It's been wonderful!

The comments to this entry are closed.