As soon as I announced my pregnancy to the world in June of 2015, first came the shrieks of joy and excitement, which were then swiftly followed by mounds of advice for this first time, new mom. Opinions about breastfeeding, working vs. staying home, sleep schedules, diapers, bottles (or not), and everything else in between suddenly became the white noise of my life, and though at the time I would never have claimed to be lacking advice from well-seasoned mothers in any aspect of mommy life, I can now say that there’s one area in which these moms failed to advise me: connecting.
When I arrived home with my all time favorite gift on Christmas Day, there was no part of me that cared about connecting with anyone but this tiny, beautiful, vulnerable human that I had been blessed with. The days, weeks, and months passed quickly though, and I began to crave a different connection that I had been missing– a connection with women who understood from within the deepest part of their beings what I was going through. I had gone from the daily responsibility of teaching my sweet first graders right up until Christmas break, being so greatly valued in their little eyes, to all of the sudden sitting at home questioning what good I was doing for anyone. There is absolutely no part of me that takes for granted the fact that I get to stay home with my son because to be in my mid-twenties and have that ability continues to blow my mind and makes me cherish my hard-working husband in an entirely new way. But that didn’t change the loneliness that I began to feel in my new occupation as a new mom.
It was frustrating! I logically understood the vast value of both my role as a mom and myself as a woman, but I felt that I desperately needed some new-mom camaraderie. So thus began my search. The first group clashed right with my son’s newly routine morning nap. The next group was in the evening, when I’m exhausted and want nothing more than to lounge around in my jammies watching Netflix with my hubby. A Bible Study my friend told me about sounded promising, but much to my disappointment ended up being for women more in the retirement stage of life – not that I’m opposed to socializing with women outside of my current life stage, but the whole goal right now was to connect with young moms, so that was a no. It seemed that no matter where I looked, these groups simply weren’t fitting into the mold of what I was looking for…was it really too much to ask for a group of young, stay-at-home moms who were just starting families of their own?
It was in that moment that I realized what the problem was: me.
I’m not the kind of girl to show up to a well-established mom’s group as the “new girl” and feel comfortable. I’m not the kind of girl to start a Bible Study halfway through the year, plopping down at a table of women I don’t know and chatting them up about their lives as moms, wives, and women of God. I’m not the kind of girl to see you in the grocery store with your little one(s) (and oh, I’ve seen you) and strike up a conversation knowing that you’re likely feeling many of the same exact things as me, eventually swapping numbers and grabbing coffee between our kid’s naps. All in all, I had found myself in the midst of self-sabotage; I was feeling extremely alone in my new journey, and it was all thanks to me. Awesome. Now what?
I’ll be completely honest with you – I still haven’t completely figured out the “Now what?” I’m still the same girl that I was in many ways. But I can tell you that I started a workout class that I attend daily (okay, lately more like 3 times a week between the Holidays and sickness…just being real) that makes me feel strong, independent, and gives me an hour of me-time. I can tell you that I now have a dear friend who recently became a stay-at-home mom that I have weekly dates with. And I can also tell you that, after one year, I’m feeling more connected to my son, husband, family, friends, and, most importantly, myself. My mom self.