Motherhood: Unexpected Loneliness

"Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong."―Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm

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There are periods of our lives that I would say are “normal” to feel alone, middle school, even high school to a degree, feeling different and going thru the awkward stages, but when you hit motherhood you don’t expect to feel that way, at least I didn’t. Motherhood is a whole new level of feeling alone especially if you are a stay-at-home mom. Let me tell you about my journey…

When I moved up to Michigan 10 years ago I expected to go through a period of feeling lonely because everything was new…new city, new church, new job, new friends. I especially knew it would be difficult to meet potential friends because of my status in Biggby Coffee; an Owner of a business shouldn’t have “co-worker” friends. Making friends always seemed so easy for me, but when placed in an environment where I couldn’t be friends with the people I interacted with the most, I was left at the mercy of my own thoughts.

Two and half months after getting married and moving up here I got pregnant, this was definitely not part of the 5-year plan, but I had to believe it was part of God’s. I quickly adjusted, and began to think about all the ways motherhood would bring community into my life; I was going to be joining the sisterhood of MOM. As I continued to live life, the dream started to become reality and I was often in another room away from people, nursing or dealing with a screaming child. I had to stay home for long periods of time while Caleb, my oldest son, was napping. So if I wasn’t at home caring for him I was at Biggby training + making coffee. I thought surely I would make friends with the other parents in the Nursery at church. Nope. Pick up. Drop off. No conversation. Then, I thought well of course I will make friends with the parents at preschool. Nope! same thing. At this point Joy has entered the picture. I don’t even know where to begin with her. Haha. I will have to save it for another blog post, but I will say this: she had GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease ) a chronic digestive disease. So basically she screamed non-stop or she was throwing up. Okay, so now you have the gist of how motherhood began for me. I now have 4.

So all day long you are caring for the needs of your little babes. Day in and day out you are wiping butts (even your 4 year old), making meals, and cleaning up after meals, over and over again. Many times with no “thank you” or regards to your feelings. It doesn’t leave many opportunities to make friends, or even to meet new people.  I kept wondering how I could form such amazing friendships in 6 months during college, but not have any friends after years in Grand Rapids. As my husband and I discussed it, I figured out it all comes down to time. I invested countless hours with my friends at ECU. But now I can count the hours on one hand spent with another “adult” in any given week.

It became comical at times, because I had been so desperate for conversation that I talked to complete strangers at the park, at the grocery store, the gym, story time, practically anywhere… I think I was searching to validate my feelings, that other people felt the same way. I have actually become friends with the random people I met at all these places, we have connected on FB + Instagram. But its so hard to connect when you get an hour here and there at a play date and most of the time you are still trying to entertain the children.

I feel like some part of me throws a tantrum inside when I hear that I wasn’t invited to an event because they didn’t know if we could make it since I have kids. Pretty sure I have cried over this one many times. LIKE WHY? Why don’t people give families a chance? Why are we left on the sidelines to watch other’s form community…?

I asked myself all the time “how do I feel alone when I’m not alone?“

Honestly, I don’t have the answers.  I think women are relational beings who seek to form community.

my shirt is from TheBeeandTheFox + above photos with me taken by a friend I met on IG@jennabragenzer

Let me just a take a moment to encourage you though:

I want to say, if you are feeling alone you are NOT alone.  I am realizing now that others feel this way and not just moms. It’s so easy to fall into this downward spiral thinking that “no one understands”, but it’s a big fat lie. We live in a lonely world and we isolate ourselves because we are embarrassed to show anything but insta-perfect, or even say out loud that we feel alone.

I have learned over the last 10 years that sometimes I NEED to be alone, even when I don’t want to be. I need to strip all my distractions away + explore my emotions + the why behind them.  Quiet the busyness of my mind to listen to what God has to say about me, and not what the world says wants me to believe about me. Here is a hard one for me, accepting that this is just my reality. I don’t have the time to go grab lunch with everyone that asks me, I don’t have time to go out and shoot pictures when I want to, I don’t have time to travel across country for the fun of it. And not that those can’t be in my future but my current place to is care for my little ones, because that is where God has placed me. 

Lastly, the best you can do changes from day to day. Your best today could be getting out to grab coffee + getting to the gym with a friend, but tomorrows best could be snuggling with your kids on the couch watching a movie. There is nothing wrong with this… strive to do your best for the current moment and avoid self-judgment, self-hate, self-abuse, and regret. Remember today’s battles are enough to tackle without making it complicated with yesterday + tomorrow.  (This is still something I have to tell myself regularly).

I love all you beautiful souls + I simply want you to be encouraged + know that you are NOT alone… please reach out + share with me if you need an ear to listen!