It wasn't until recently, when a friend of mine started a playgroup for the ladies that I go to church with, that I decided to give it a real try. Tiffany (the lady who runs the group) does a great job making sure the activities are either free or very inexpensive, and she also makes sure to switch up the location so no one's house gets overwhelmed with hordes of hyper active children for too long.
Anyway, today's activity was a FREE story time and craft activity at Lyman Woods and I decided it would be nice to get the girls out of the house. So, we went. About half way through the activity, it finally dawned on me... Women don't go to play group to show off their kids, they go to get a break! Not necessarily from their kids, but from their preschool oriented lives. It gives them the opportunity to turn off Dora the Explorer, or zone out their 3-year-old's chatter, and have some real adult conversation with other ladies who live the same life they do! And once you've spent 2 straight hours listening to your 3 year old explain why ballerinas and race cars don't mix, or trying to explain to your husband what you did all day, adult conversation with women who relate to you can be a VERY welcome thing!
The point is, you can never really underestimate the benefits of socializing yourself and your children. I feel like I caught a fresh breath of air and a second wind, and I guarantee I won't have to talk my husband's ears off as bad as I usually do when he gets home. Also, my kids had a blast, went down for naps SUPER easy, learned new things, made new friends, and got to shake off their cabin fever! So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, my inner critic has been shuffled away and I am a believer.
Oh, and as an afterthought, if you don't have a local playgroup you can join, you should definitely consider putting one together yourself. It doesn't have to be a big deal or even every week. You could try a once a month thing if you wanted, or something with just one other mom. Really... something is better than nothing!