My first year as a stay-at-home mom was socially awkward.
Finding the right chemistry with other moms and toddlers was as
difficult as finding a street without potholes on the south
My youngest daughter is developmentally delayed. Getting her to
cooperate during our community programs is exhausting. At times
I've left in tears. Raised eyebrows and stares left me wanting to
run for the hills and never return. Once during our mom and tot
class, I actually announced, "Please accept my apology for any
disruptions. My daughter is experiencing some delays, but we're
working on it with therapy." As uncomfortable as that was, it was
easier than leaving people to ponder their own suspicions.
My awesome therapy team suggested we try the Birth to 3 Program
offered through Saint Xavier University.
Our first day was disastrous yet beautiful. Things were fine at
the beginning. The children were playful and curious about us. The
parents were quick to interact and share information. However, 20
minutes in, my daughter signed, "All done!" Staring into her baby
brown eyes, I said, "It's not time to go." This agitated her. More
aggressively, she signed "Eat!" I glanced at the clock. Snack time
wasn't for five minutes. "Almost," I told her.
Frustrated, she rose on her tippy-toes and roared with despair.
Finally, five minutes dissolved and I'd gotten her to a cooling
point. When snack time was announced, I led her to sit at the
adorable miniature round table. She refused. This sent our cooling
period back to a boil. The director intervened. "It's OK. She can
stand and eat." Whew, I thought. She accepted the snack and chewed
happily until I attempted to get her to sit. She became enraged and
vomited down my leg, her shoe and the floor. Before I even could
react, a mom swiftly wiped up the mess. The director lifted my
daughter from my arms to soothe her and another mom stroked my back
while offering words of comfort.
I was in awe. There wasn't an awkward distance between us. We
were unified. We were there for our children and we were there for
Now, when encountering a new mom, I'm eager to welcome her into
Claudia Parker is a writer and stay-at-home mom of two living in Evergreen Park.
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