Monday, March 4, 2013

Compartmentalized Life

You have kids and find that you lose a lot of friends. Single people that like to hang out at bars have little in common with couples with children. Add a "special needs" child and you've alienated yourself even further. There are groups... My FB Group list has gotten far too long, but I'm not ready to leave any of the groups yet...

  • Natural Parents Network Volunteer Group - My largest group of closest friends with whom I truly feel I can share anything. I may or may not be understood, but I trust I will not be judged. None of these people are local to me.
  • Local DS Association - Ranging from very experienced to very new parents of children with Down syndrome. This is an invaluable resource for questions about DS and local resources.
  • Casual DS Moms - a FB group started by a local mom for other moms of children with DS. This is a good place to brag on our children and ask questions.
  • Team B - A Solavei page, good for questions and resources associated with Solavei.
  • Midtown Produce Coop - I'm new here, but its a good place to keep up with the various local coops. Volunteers are requested here. I could also use this group to find someone to pick up my Bountiful Baskets, if need be.
  • N's Updates - Updates on a friend recovering from West Nile Virus. This has been going on about 9 months or so and he is finally making great strides!
  • Mamatography 2013 - I co-host this project this year, so this group is obviously important!
  • DiaperFreeBaby - long-running community of moms practicing Elimination Communication. This is a great place to brag on our babies, share funny pee/poop stories and ask for advice when we're having trouble.
  • Local CD Group - Local group of cloth diapering moms, obviously. This group is VERY busy, supportive but also manages to harbor a lot of drama. I rarely read the group, but do occasionally connect (online) with people there. I have also attended a few events in person!
  • Holistic DS Parents - Decent place to get ideas for natural treatments to common (and uncommon) problems associated with Down syndrome. I have natural parenting groups and DS parenting groups, but this is the only place that they seem to cross over a bit. There is lots of talk here about vitamins and organic foods.
  • DS Playgroup for Babies - I've been to a couple of events with these local parents. I had high hopes for this group, but can't seem to make most of their events OR plan one myself that fits anyone's schedule.
  • Parenting Bloggers - This one is a great place to ask technical questions or ask for some support sharing a post or giveaway.
  • Town Cooks - I was just recently added to this casual little group. It is new and intended for sharing recipes, tips and ideas. I'm trying to get more into cooking, so it seems a good place to be. Plus, plenty of these folks are getting Bountiful Baskets, so sometimes a lot of people are working with the same ingredients.
  • DS Moms - a larger, national, casual group of moms that have kids with DS. There used to be fun photo contests each month. I'm not even sure if they're doing those, but I haven't caught one in a while. Another place to brag / ask questions associated with Down syndrome.
  • Non-religious Parents in OK - It is kind of amazing to connect with other parents that might be atheists. A lot of people are in the closet about their lack of religion, especially here in the buckle of the bible belt. Most of the posts her are just funny or WTF kind of posts. They do host play dates, but I have not yet attended one.
  • Blogger Help - technical help, requesting comments or attention or sharing for a special post or giveaway, that sort of thing. Its a good place to share carnivals and to connect for guest posts / guest posting.
  • DS Writers - this group is international! I'm new here, but it seems it is mostly people posting links to the blog posts that have to do with Down syndrome. I made a new friend there and think she is amazing.
  • Local Unschooling Help - I'm still torn about unschooling, but just can not get behind the way or state handles school. Our students only study to pass tests now, even with the online charter schools. Its quite sad, really.
  • Village Garden - I think this is a purely local group. They connect with ideas on how to do gardening locally. I'm having my first ever garden this year, so this may turn out to be a great resource!
  • Urban Farming Guild - meant to meet once per month, this is a local group. Folks share links and even connect to share seeds.
  • Local Granola Moms - This group merges the natural parenting and the local aspects, but without the DS aspect. Still, I was excited to have even found that combo!
  • Local Babywearers - I'm impressed. This group has meetings and a lending library. I've only stopped by a meeting, but they are a helpful bunch. There is a lot of membership crossover with the Local CD Group.
  • Local Gentle Parents - I've not yet made it to a play date with these people. I don't frequent their page much anymore. I can always use reminders on gentle parenting. It can be hard to keep your cool sometimes.
  • EC Tulsa - I was amazed to find that there is a local group for Elimination Communication. They even have meetings! The main leader is moving on, though, so I don't know what will happen there.
  • Team A - My other Solavei page, good for questions and resources associated with Solavei.
  • Unschooler Interests - a place to ask a topic and get resource suggestions. An awesome resource once you are on your U/S path.
  • Southeast Food Coop - I guess its similar to the midtown group above, except I'm Northwest so I never check this group.

This doesn't even cover all the compartments of my life. I haven't found a community that fits my "adult" interest, local or otherwise. And now I've had two DS communities start trying to censor what we say. It makes me want to run for the hills, so to speak. It brings back the painful pinch that I lost my best friend. I didn't lose her to accident or disease, no. She didn't move away. She just stopped talking to me. She was my best friend for over two decades, despite going through times when she was single and I was a married parent.

How do you replace that?? Other than my husband, I don't feel like I have a single local friend that has time for me and is interested in all aspects of my life. It is heartbreaking. It is so hard to make friends as a mother. As a member of so many communities, why do we often feel so very alone?

Do you have a local bestie? How do you do it?
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