Open Letter to the Lonely Mom

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lonely mom

I know there are many of you out there who have a good group of girlfriends. You laugh and cry together. You have a group text together. You know pretty much everything about each other. You probably even refer to each other as a village or a tribe, if you’re super-trendy.

This is not a post to discredit you at all. Full disclosure — I’m really jealous of what you have and of what you are. I really want a village too.

So this letter may not entirely be for you. Maybe you can relate because you’ve been here too, or maybe you can share this with someone who needs what you have — a friend.

To the mom who feels she doesn’t have friends or the energy for friends. To the mom who schedules “dates” with potential friends and cancels them because she is afraid of actually going through with it. To the mom who feels lonely, isolated, rejected, or less-than.

I am writing this to you because I’m a lonely mom too — like, really lonely.

I see groups of girlfriends and instantly feel a tightening in my throat and burning in my nose and eyes. I picture myself standing outside on the street with my face pressed against the window looking in at them.  I wonder why I can’t have that too. Is there something wrong with me? Am I not friend material? Maybe they have something I don’t. And then I walk away feeling hurt, thinking that maybe I just don’t have it (whatever it is).

Looking back over the last decade, I feel like I did have close friends once, but for whatever reason it’s faded over time. It could be them or it could be me or it could just be kids life messing it all up. But, I’ve struggled with believing it was all me and I still beat myself up about it. I’ll never forget the conversation I had when someone I called a friend told me that I didn’t really want community. She accused me of being fake and only wanting the perks of relationships without the work. That conversation echoes in my head every time I try to build new relationships. For a long time, I walked around thinking I didn’t deserve friends because but everyone deserves friendship. Everyone.  

And then there’s that whole “being a mom” thing.  

Sometimes I think that being a mother is one of the loneliest jobs on the planet. So much of what we do and what defines us as moms is done without anyone around. We get used to taking it all on and learning to make do with the two arms we were given. But in our striving to be good moms, we forget about ourselves and what we need. It doesn’t have to be a one-woman show.

You have SO much on your plate. Mothering isn’t easy and life can be hard. You’re doing your best, pouring everything you are into being there for your kids. It’s hard to even think about enjoying (usually cold) coffee and conversation with anyone other than your toddler.

But even in your isolation as a mom, you are not truly alone.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

There are other moms who are in the trenches with you. Doing their own mothering day in and day out. Feeling exactly how you are feeling. It doesn’t have to be every woman for herself.

I’ve decided I don’t want to be a lonely mom anymore. I’m still figuring this out but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with… get ready for it… putting myself out there.

I have to take the first step.

I know it’s scary for those of us who struggle with rejection, which is why I encourage you to choose one friend, acquaintance, co-worker, carpool buddy, to reach out to. Be honest and see what happens. 

I’m here. Pulling for you. Cheering you on. You are not alone. I know it’s scary. I know it’s hard. I know life, kids, fear, work, and other things get in the way but you CAN do this. You don’t have to be a lonely mom anymore.

25 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve always wanted to be remembered as a person who was “always there” for people, so I’ve always tried to reach out to friends, acquaintances, neighbors, to meet their needs in some small way (letting them know the parking ticket person is in the neighborhood, reaching out to someone with a serious illness, a death in the family, providing a ride, a meal etc.) but somehow, it is never reciprocal. When I had cancer, back surgery, shoulder surgery, etc. I heard from no one….I finally had to post a caring bridge to get a little encouragement. I meet people and get the usual, “you’re so nice, you understand, and let’s get together!” but even when I try to reach out, it never pans out. I don’t want to try anymore, I’m exhausted from work, my parents failing health is draining me, and my one and only daughter just told me she wants to stay overseas and live there the rest of her life! Great……:( Unfortunately, my husband just doesn’t get it.

    • Joyless
      I hope you have found better comfort in the world. I have been a lonely mom, wife, and friends. People who aren’t introspective they cannot give of themselves to a point where empathy and connection is possible. As a servant you may want comfort in being ‘good’, ‘nice’, or helpful for others it will never be enough. Even those you have had long relationships with will turn their backs to you for the simplest of things- judgmental and indifference.
      Just know that you aren’t alone – as a servant you were created that way. It is a connection to your joy and should be something you rejoice in. Don’t do it for others, but contribute to others as you are a blessing. God never has left you even in days you are utterly sorrowful for that In which you long for.

  2. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this blog and the comments from other women who are mothers who feel lonely and isolated. I have 2 neighbors who I am friendly with, but they are older than me and have grandchildren my kids’ ages so they’re on a different path than I am. I’ve had girlfriends, but then we moved out of state, I found two women in our new state (6 years ago), but both friendships faltered over time and I. Now find myself lonely and depressed. I tried the PTA thing, chatted up moms at school and the park, but nothing pans out. Most recently, I befriended a few moms at my youngest son’s preschool and we all began texting to arrange play dates, but that went downhill fast as everyone kept cancelling on one another and one of the moms just wanted to have me in her life for free babysitting—needless to say, I quickly left that group for self-preservation. It’s been an 11 year, difficult journey and I’ve just about given up hope that I’ll ever have a group of girlfriends that truly care about me like I had before I moved. Just focus on yourself and your families and find a hobby or something that brings you some amount of joy!!

  3. Lately I’ve wondered if I can have a real friend again. I’m the person with 2-3 really close female friends and a bunch of guy friends. After moving back to Wichita last year, the last of my college friends and coworker friends were left behind. I have plenty of family, but not a single close friend anymore. I worry myself silly about what other women think of me after a conversation and leave most interactions actively thinking, “she hates me.” I have “foot in mouth” syndrome and often say things I wish I could take back. It makes me replay conversations in my head amd worry what the other person thinks.
    BUT I asked a few women at my Bible study to “pray I find a friend” and one of them later said she wished she could say “I’ll be your friend!”. I hope it comes to something, but I’m already worrying even though she’s awesome!

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