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.