Welcome to February ladies and gentlemen of grit! I'm so happy to be back with you following a week of ministry events, fasting and reflection. Thanks for being here - let's talk about motherhood.
They sit in the dark together, shades drawing lines on their faces from the streetlights steaming through the window. She's too tired to sneak back to her own room, or eat, or move in even the slightest direction, fearing she'll wake the baby tucked into the crook of her arm. Tears stream down her cheeks and she reminds herself to be thankful. The TV hums at a barely audible level, playing just loud enough to keep company. It's three am. Nobody's awake anywhere in the universe. That's how it feels, anyway.
Some moments of motherhood feel both peaceful and profoundly lonely all in the same second. She never knew.
I was invited to join a group of women for breakfast last week. It took me by surprise that someone would reach out so spontaneously. Sometimes in the hustle of the school year, it seems like everybody else knows one another while I peek in on their lives from the fringes. Caring for my family, volunteering, organizing a small group or meal, and finding words worthy of being air kissed into cyberspace each week passes time in a flash.
Where do the days go?
I almost said yes. Almost. But then the little guy's ear ache happened and there was a doctor visit. Because of it, I left home with out my youngest child's alligator slippers for "pajama day" at school. There were tears. My superhero husband saved the day on that one, but by that point, I'd managed to let down my carpool buddy and barely got either of my own children to school within the target window. Forget about the hours I was supposed to volunteer. The schedule was blown. Priorities, shifted.
I get that "3 am" mama from the story above. I've cut through the murk of loneliness and struggled to find friends. I've moved and married, chose the stay-at-home job of raising a family. I know some of you have too. Our kids get sick and there are fender benders and speeding tickets. Life gets in the way of real connection sometimes.
Other times, we get in our own way.
We're busy. And so, we gather around "playdates", birthday parties, game schedules, product sales, and school activities. Though joyful occasions, there are a million distractions (and constant noise) which prevents us from really connecting.
So many of us have left the workforce to serve our families in the home - we left the professional place where adult interaction happened and where many of us felt proficient and seen. An equal or greater number of us struggle to balance the responsibilities of both home and professional life.
No matter our circumstance, what we all look for as women is belonging. A place.
We forget that women used to connect every single day. They gathered and prepared food together in communities. They huddled shoulder to shoulder at the riverside, cleaning clothes and connecting over conversation. They cared for each others' children and rested as the sun went down. Their daily routines were filled with life, laughter, and togetherness.
When was the last time you gut laughed with a friend? With your husband or significant other?
We can live in the spirit of of community once again, if only we choose it. Maybe nobody told us about the loneliness. Maybe they did and we simply weren't prepare for it. Maybe we made a big move or the marriage is breaking down and the kids are relentless with needs.
Whatever it is - you're not alone. God sees. There are others who have been where you are right now and He is faithful to send them.
"Those who know your name trust in you, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who need you." Psalm 9:10
Won't you make a move this week? Reach out. Get involved in a mom community or neighborhood activity. Our families need us healthy and strong. We need each other.
With you and for you,
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.