In a small town, a newcomer takes a while to understand the culture and can often feel on the outside of the community for a while. Try getting a job in a small town. It’s not easy because all the businesses are small and they are hiring their sisters or cousins or friends. A job may be advertised in the local paper but only because legally it has to be. They have already made up their minds who they are going to hire and they are just going through the motions. It’s hard to break in. Sometimes it takes time but mostly it takes getting involved and making friends. Small town people are not going to come to you, you have to go to them.
The secret to breaking the walls down is to sit down in the coffee shop and talk to people. It’s introducing yourself to a church community and going to a small group or volunteering at the local homeless shelter. It’s getting into a writers group or hitting all the garage sales and asking the families about their treasures. It’s striking up a conversation and listening to the stories that make the community stick together. It’s reading the local paper and attending events such as high school football games, planetarium shows, Kiwanis pancake breakfasts and community forums.
You don’t have to be on the outside for long if you don’t want to be. To make friends, you must show yourself friendly.
Today Abby (6) asked me if she could get a grown up job. She wants to make money so she can buy things that she wants. She also wants to feel important in this world. I get her. However, she’s six. I can’t even get her to clean her own room or do things around the house without alot of prompting. Hmmmm….
The thing is, I remember this. Those things like cleaning my room or helping mother were not on the priority list for me – even if I got paid for helping, it felt fake. I wanted it to be real! I wanted someone to appreciate me for my skill and my contribution and I couldn’t understand that with my parents.
Even now, it’s hard. I work for them. I run their business and I feel every minute like I need to justify the job I’m doing with profit margins or payable reports or whatever. I get my six year old. Now how do I help her?
Here in a small town, I’m sure there are people who would allow me to use them as parenting helpers. I’m thinking about finding a neighbor and asking them to allow me to use them as a front man. She’ll come in and do something and I’ll give you the money to pay her. I mean, I think I could work that out. Is that lying to my kid?
I sat down with another mommy the other day to shoot the breeze in the coffee shop and we of course were talking about parenting…
Well, I was talking. She was listening.
I talked about how I just feel like I’m not the mommy who plays with her kids and I’m not the mommy who wants to do all this “mommy” stuff. It’s hard to be a Pinterest mommy. Those mothers who do projects, homeschool, keep a perfect house, are organized and are able to just embrace being a Stay At Home Mom are amazing. It’s really a job… a job that I don’t want. It’s one that some are amazing at.
I can’t play the violin. I never really wanted to play the violin. I love watching people play the violin. It’s an amazing instrument but it’s not my gift. I’m ok with that.
Why am I not ok with being a working mom? Why do I feel guilty because I’d rather do dishes and cook dinner than play barbies? Why do I feel guilty that I’d rather be at work and make money and run my business than be at home doing crafts and taking the kids to the park?
I love watching them grow. I do the best I can to maximize the few hours in the evening I have with them but… I’m just not THAT mommy.