Now to answer my friend's question. "What do you do to beat the crazies when you are stuck at home alone with the kids?"
First off... I don't stay home alone. We are blessed to live four blocks from a park. So we walk to the park. Even though most of the time BigBoy has complained enough that by the time we get there, we have to turn right back around. It still gets us out of the house. You've changed your routine a little, and presto! You've beat the crazies.
Second... I like to join a mom's group in the area. Preferably one with an Internet presence. Just as not all moms are alike, not all mom's groups are alike. (And for those grammar geeks like me... this is Mom's group, not Dad's group or Joe's group or Jane's group. So the apostrophe belongs inside the "s". LOL) I like the Internet part because you can post to the board (or whatever) a message like "I'm going to Burger King at Illinois and Scott around 11:30a. I'll probably be there about an hour. Love to see you there!" And some of the other moms might think "Hey, that sounds like fun. Entertainment, soda with free refills, and grown ups to talk to! I'll be there!" Presto! You've beat the crazies for another two hours.
Third... Find a restaurant with a play room and GO THERE. I've met several moms with kids my sons' ages at our local Burger King. So, built in entertainment, built in playmates, and built in grown up time. And presto! You've beat the crazies.
Fourth... Get on the Internet. Twitter, FaceBook (MySpace if you're desperate), and (a new favorite of mine) Omegle all provide people to talk to, network with, etc. Omegle is kind of cool because it sets you up with a total stranger. Doesn't work out? Just Omegle again! Twitter lets you chat with people in your area or around the world, and you can search by location, interests, or current buzz words. FaceBook lets you play games, chat, fiddle with pictures, etc.
Fifth... Have an awesome hubby like mine who realizes that for every night that he gets away from the kids, you get one too. Or make your hubby an amazing man like mine. :D In all gravity, remember that your husband is the father of your children (maybe not biologically, but he is part of their life now!!). You undercut his authority and his influence in their lives if you never trust him to put them to bed by himself. Don't let your husband get away with that!! So what if they forget to brush their teeth one night? You'll do it in the morning anyway, right? So what if they go to bed with their shirts on backward or no socks on their feet? Whatever is medically necessary (as in, your child will die without his heart alarm or breathing treatment) remind him of, then LEAVE THE HOUSE!! Go for a walk during bedtime if you don't plan to go somewhere. But trust him. He loves your kids as much as you do, and he will not kill them by wrestling too much before bed. You have one less chore at night -- let's face it. Putting the munchkins to bed can definitely be a chore. And your kids get needed time with Dad. (BY THE WAY... this applies to mothers, mothers-in-law, and babysitters whom you've hired. If you don't trust the person you've hired to safeguard your child's life... well, we need to have a talk. In another post maybe...) You've changed your routine and presto! You've beat the crazies.
Sixth... Be active in your community. You will meet other people, learn cool things, and teach your children responsibility. Pick up one of those free newsletters at the Library or a Library Program Guide and circle all the free activities you can do. Pick at least one a week, and do it. We like StoryTime Fridays, Playgroup Wednesdays, and Movie Mondays. And I'm not sure why I listed the week backward there... You've built a routine (I know! I know! I'm full of contradictions) and presto! You've beat the crazies!
What about you other moms? What do you do to beat the crazies?