Every mom needs a village, but most moms can’t seem to find one. Isn’t that the general consensus we have seen online? When I became a mom, I was surprised by just how lonely my days were. So much of my time was spent with a tiny human being who couldn’t talk or give back in any way. My kidless friends were working during the day or staying out far later than was realistic while I was breastfeeding.
The solution to my loneliness seemed so obvious, I needed to find moms who were just like me. I spent so much time wondering where all the other moms were, the ones who were looking for a village, too. During my first two years of motherhood, every effort I made to connect with other moms fell flat.
I attended play dates, I joined mom groups, I even invited a complete stranger to meet up with our kids at Chick-Fil-A (and instantly regretted it). Most of my attempts to make new mom friends were complete failures and each failure made me feel less willing to keep trying to put myself out there. To make matters worse, I was dealing with social anxiety as one of the symptoms of my postpartum depression, so each failure to connect was devastating and I eventually gave up trying.
I dealt with rejection and spent a little time licking my wounds, only to force myself to try again because I knew the rejection would be worth it.
It wasn’t until last month, four years after I became a mom, that I realized something had changed. I still dealt with loneliness from time to time, but it wasn’t an ever present feeling or a dark cloud over my life as a mom. Over time, I had made mom friends. I had friends who brought me meals when things were hard. Our daughters’ birthdays were cramped and crowded, in the best way possible. If I needed to get out of the house, I knew a few text messages were probably all I needed to find someone to meet up with at the park.
What had changed? Thinking back over the last few years, I realized the only thing that had really changed was me. Eventually, I found the bravery to keep trying. After the worst of my postpartum depression had tapered off, I started putting myself out there again, except this time I was much more intentional. I stopped waiting for other moms to take the initiative. I quit letting one failed playdate scare me away from trying again. I planned get-togethers and moms nights out.
I kept showing up, over and over again.
Most importantly, I was honest about what I was looking for. I wasn’t blurting out “Hi, I need friends!” the second I met a new mom but was being pretty upfront that I was trying to get connected and looking for ways to spend more time with other young mothers on a regular basis. I knew there had to be other moms out there looking for mom friends and I felt certain all I needed to do was consistently put myself out there and be honest about what I was looking for and eventually I would find my fit.
It worked. I have people in my life I know I can depend on, especially when I need them the most. I have friends who tell my children they love them and happily accept goodbye kisses from my toddlers or offer to babysit if I am falling behind at work.
I won’t tell you finding your village is easy. It’s not, but it can be done. Honestly, for me it felt a lot like dating. I dealt with rejection and spent a little time licking my wounds, only to force myself to try again because I knew the rejection would be worth it if I could find my people, if I could connect with my village.
It won’t happen while sitting behind your laptop screen or if you passively attend playdates and wait for someone else to make the first move. It will probably involve rejection and awkward conversations, but it is totally worth it. Keep putting yourself out there, lonely mama, and you will find your people.