“Is there something wrong with me?” I said to myself as I left the mother’s prayer breakfast. A wave of loneliness enveloped me in an almost physical way as I thought about how I had been in a room with 15 other women yet felt so isolated and alone. I longed to connect but realized I had failed to do so that day.
Before having kids this feeling was foreign to me, but as I’ve entered the mommy world, I’ve heard this sentiment repeated from the mouths of others in the trenches of dirty diapers, laundry, sleepless nights and hormonal changes. It’s hard to connect with other women when there is so much expected of us. How can we make the changes necessary to make those deep connections?
Below are three questions I’ve started to ask myself when I’m feeling lonely and I’m not sure the next step to take in getting to know other women.
Am I prioritizing friendships?
As a mother of two, my schedule quickly fills up with errands, church functions, preschool drop off, doctor’s appointments, grocery trips and so much more. Some weeks it’s enough to make me go mad. But when it comes down to it, I spend my time on the things I value. If I long for connection, does my calendar reflect that? What could be removed so time is available for quality interactions with other women?
Am I afraid to be vulnerable?
C.S. Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” If motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that vulnerability and love go hand-in-hand. When you put yourself out there for other women to know, there is a higher chance you will be wounded. But with the possibility of being hurt there is also the opportunity for connection on a deep level. That’s exactly what we are longing for. How can I be my vulnerable self to the women in my life? What expectations of myself do I need to release?
Do I “talk back” to my thoughts when they turn negative?
There are times after I meet new people when my thoughts turn to all the things I did wrong, what I shouldn’t have said and why they probably didn’t like me. I’ve learned to take every thought captive. When those negative words come to mind, don’t accept them as fact. Talk back to them with truth. Speak what you know about yourself, read scripture, recall positive friend interactions in the past and remind yourself of your good history.
We are all a work in progress. We need each other but sometimes the hardest part of engaging with the people around us is making time in our busy lives for people, breaking through our fear of getting hurt, and engaging the negative self-talk in our heads.
We were never meant to live in a vacuum. We can’t do this mommy job alone. That’s the beauty of connection.