Spoiler Alert: Motherhood Can Be Lonely.
Let's just cut to the chase, shall we?
MOTHERHOOD CAN BE LONELY.
Standing in the school yard, waiting to pick up your kid, you may find yourself scanning the playground for another familiar "Mommy" face to stand next to. You may notice the groups of moms all huddled together. They have found their squad to belong to... while you stand on the outskirts looking in.
"Is there anyone here that will be my friend?"
When I first became a mom, I naturally assumed that I would find "my people" ... other likeminded mommies that would become my "village". It didn't quite happen as organically as I hoped. In fact, I felt terribly lonely and my loneliness made me feel like some kind of freak. "What is wrong with me? Why I am finding it so hard to connect with other moms?"
THE MORE ISOLATED I FELT, THE MORE OVERWHELMED I BECAME BY MOTHERHOOD.
I had to do something or I was going to go crazy. I had to find my "mom squad" - women that would support me as a mother. So, I took a deep breath and ...
1. GOT OVER MYSELF.
I am going to be honest with you. The biggest reason why I found myself so lonely as a mom was because I was very insecure. I was constantly worried and obsessing over whether other women liked me or if they approved of how I mothered. I was a hot mess of low self-esteem. I never asked anyone to hang out because I was terrified of rejection. When I did attend events or gatherings I was invited to, I acted awkwardly because I was always trying to figure out what version of "me" the other moms would like. It. Was. Awful.
If I was going to overcome loneliness, I had to get over myself. And that's what I did. I learned to embrace my own awesomeness and stop worrying about what others thought. The more comfortable I became with who I was as a person and as a mother, the easier it became to find and connect with other moms.
2. GAVE UP MY EXPECTATIONS.
I had to give up the "Hollywood" fantasy of what I thought a mom squad would be. In my mind, it was a group of 5 mothers, whose children attend the same school together. We all volunteered for the same events and we would all meet every Tuesday for brunch at our favorite corner cafe - dressed in yoga pants and top buns.
This is not always reality.
In fact, my mom squad is made up women from all around the world - and some of them are not even mothers. Once I let go of my "fantasy" mom squad, I was able to cultivate deep friendships with women who have truly made be a better mom.
3. GOT TOGETHER WITH OTHER MOTHERS.
Look, moms need to be together. I realized that I needed to find places where this could happen easily. So, when my kids were little, I went to a "Mom + Tots" group and it was one of the best decisions I made as a new mom. My toddler and baby played while I had coffee and cookies with women who were in the same season of life as me. Did I become best friends with all the women? No. But it was wonderful to have adult conversation with someone else who understood the misery of having 2 children in diapers. I used to call those Friday mornings, my "Sanity Hour". It was a place where I felt like I wasn't alone or crazy.
4. GAVE IT MY ATTENTION.
Bottom line: As a mother, I have made my friendships a priority. This isn't always easy because I have little people in my life who rightfully take up a lot of my time. Yet, if I want to be a good mom, I need to consistently cultivate healthy friendships in my life. When I am feeling lonely, it's often because I have stopping being intentional in connecting with others. Loneliness has only hindered my ability to parent well. Connectedness has helped me find success as a mom.
Mama friend, if you are feeling lonely - please know that you are not the only one.
We have all felt isolated at some point in the journey but please believe when I say:
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO STAY LONELY.
And for your kids' sake and your sanity, please don't choose to be. It really does take a village.
From one mama's heart to another,