It’s easy in the days of early motherhood to feel alone and overwhelmed. If the endless diaper changes, feedings and lack of sleep didn’t leave you curled the fetal position mumbling to yourself, it at least altered your perspective about what motherhood was going to be like. The days of dressing up to meet your girlfriends for a long, relaxing lunch turned in to mystical memories from someone else’s life. Who had time for it?
Most of us were lucky to be showered and wearing somewhat clean clothes.
As if overnight it seems the baby becomes a toddler and the toddler is almost a preschooler. Life’s just a bit more manageable. You find yourself smiling at the childish antics and think wow, I can finally breath. This isn’t so bad. We made it!
You’re dying to go out and celebrate with your girlfriends – to just share some laughs about the journey you’ve made into motherhood with someone else who gets it. But there’s no one there to listen and laugh with you. They’re all gone. While you were on the front lines just learning how to survive in this new life, it seems everyone else has moved on. And you find yourself desperately looking to connect with the rest of the world.
So you hit the playgrounds, meetup groups and kids classes with a new agenda. Sure you want the kids to have fun, but you’re hoping to make your own circle of friends this time around. You get out there over and over again, but it’s just not working. The other mom’s already formed their own groups, and you’re not part of it.
You find yourself thinking it’s impossible to forge new, meaningful friendships once you’re a mom. You’re ready to throw in the towel until the kids get older.
But here’s the catch. It doesn’t get easier when they get older. The longer you spend on the outside, the easier it is to just stay there.
My best friend, who lives across the country, sent me an article called Searching for My Village. I read it, and couldn’t get it out of my head. There seems to be two types of parent out there. There are those who have family and friends nearby, whose schedules are full of play dates and lives are overflowing with companionship. And then, there’s the rest of us.
I wondered how many moms in my neighborhood have also scoured the playgrounds and meetup groups, only to find themselves still looking for their tribe.
So I shared the article with a local mom’s group on Facebook, and the results were astonishing. Dozens of women of all ages and backgrounds responded that they feel exactly like I do. Whether working or staying home, single or in a relationship, with young kids or teenagers, so many moms are struggling to make meaningful connections.
My first thought … Oh thank God. I’m not alone! There are plenty of awesome moms out there who seems amazing. Motherhood doesn’t have to exist in a bubble.
I’m excited … and scared.
A lot of the moms have already started connecting with each other, forming their own groups. The “potty-mouthed working moms”, the “moms with school-aged kids and teens”, the “conservative Christians” and so on.
Oh my God, the mom’s are already starting to find each other and I’m still not sure if I fit into any of the tribes.
So I got out of my comfort zone and posted again to the group. This time I’m really putting myself out there – not sharing someone else’s hopes and fears but my own. Here’s part of my post:
ISO: MY TRIBE
I’m a SAHM with little boys, who’s still so overwhelmed trying to keep my boys alive that sometimes forget what I’m saying mid-sentence. I’m probably a bit too bohemian for the neighborhood and though I played sports most of my life (and I’m a bit of a tomboy) I haven’t been to the gym on the regular basis in decades. I practice yoga, but not in those hoity toity studios, and a drink wine (often).
…I dabble in all things creative, love to write, and hope to connect with some laid-back, bohemian mamas who won’t judge me for drinking a couple glasses of wine or feeding my kids chicken nuggets 3 times a week.
And to my amazement people responded, sharing their own personal hopes and imperfections. I can’t wait to meet these lovely ladies and their families in the weeks ahead.
I invite each and every mom that still hasn’t found their tribe to create one.
I’m here and I’m trying because I’m worth it – we all are.