This is a guest post by Jen at Simply Restored.
As a busy mom, I long to make mom friends. But it’s a full season and I often don’t feel like I have anything more to give. I don’t have anything left to offer.
But I know that it is so important to connect.
I need to connect with community, and I need to make the effort, even if it’s just in the small details.
Full, Hard Days of Motherhood (My Story)
I opened one eye and peered at the clock on my nightstand. It was 6 in the morning. I hadn’t slept well that night. I hadn’t slept well last week either, or the week before, or any night for the past four weeks ever since our second son was born.
Noises: little bumps and thumps, had disturbed me from my broken sleep.
“Today is the day”, I remembered. That was my last night in our first little home. My last night in my home town.
It was moving day. My husband, Tim, was already awake packing the moving trailer.
I felt a sense of excitement as I quietly rolled out of bed, tip-toed passed the sleeping baby, and quickly dressed- but not before I took a quick snapshot of his adorable sleeping baby face- why don’t you sleep at night?!
It was a beautiful fall morning. Crisp and fresh.
To my surprise, Tim already had the vast majority of our belongings packed into the trailer, there were just a few little things left in the living room.
It rattled me a bit.
I wasn’t prepared to see our house so empty. It was really happening.
We were moving to a new city,
new mailing address,
new doctor, eye doctor, dentist, chiropractor, hairdresser, even new grocery store!
I waffled between going back to bed to cover my head with the blanket, and running out the door to hop into the vehicle to get this adventure rolling!
Soon enough, we were on the road.
As we entered the new city, I told myself that one day these foreign roads would be so familiar to me. This will be our route home; every winding curve and coffee shop in this local area would be well-known, commonplace, and routine. My new normal.
I pulled up to the town house. There were already a lot of people there unloading my parents’ pickup truck. Hesitantly, I walked into my new home. I was confused to meet people in the doorway that I didn’t even know.
“Hi, there!” I said with what I hoped was a friendly smile. He smiled back. There was no talking because his hands were full carrying our sofa.
Another new face weaved through the bustle of people and squeezed around the door. “I’m looking for Tim, and his wife,” she said. Her hands were also full, but this time with delicious-looking food: a tray of lasagna, dessert, and muffins.
“That’s me”, I gave a quick little wave with my free hand before I hoisted my baby higher on my shoulder and patted his back, hoping he didn’t spit up down my shirt.
“Oh, hi! You probably don’t even know me, but I know Tim from back when he lived here after high school. He hung out with my boys.” She walked over to the fridge and deposited the goodies. “I figured supper would be the last thing on your mind today, so here’s something in case you need it.”
I could’ve cried. Yes, she was right. Supper was, absolutely, the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t thinking about much at all, to be honest. It was kind of an overwhelming experience. It was the first time I had really moved away from home, not to mention, I just had a baby and a toddler was hugging one of my legs.
At some point, pizza showed up at our house. I spent lunchtime being introduced to old friends who had just spent the last few hours hauling our belongings up a narrow staircase.
I know I wasn’t really expected to do anything, being postpartum and all, but I truly did nothing (other than nurse a fussy baby and find a toddler snacks while trying to keep him out from under people’s feet!).
But by the end of the day, my kitchen was unpacked, boxes were tucked away, the table was cleared, and there was room to sit on the couch. I wandered upstairs to see the bedrooms where I stopped short and was speechless to see both cribs set up and our queen bed in the master.
An acquaintance, who later, along with his wife, grew to be close friends of ours, seemed a little sheepish that I’d caught him red-handed during his act of great kindness. He said, “Someone did this for me when we moved and it made all the difference to be able to fall into bed at the end of a long, long day. From then on, I always make sure to do the same for others. “
“Wow, this is just perfect.” I smiled wide and chuckled a bit. “It’s perfect.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I think I laughed so that I wouldn’t cry.
The progression of the day astonished me. I had expected my parents and in-laws to help us unload our cargo and then have to drive back 3 hours to their homes. Then I would spend the rest of the week slowly unpacking a little bit every day while Tim was at university. I sure hadn’t expected a host of people to be here serving us. Where did they even come from?
They came from a very special little church that my husband attended ten years prior, when he was at Trade School. All of those people still have some sort of connection in our life, even twenty years after their first meeting my husband. Some relationships have faded, as life pulled us in different directions. But a few of them are still pillars in our lives.
Relationships and Friendships
You might read this and have a deep longing in your heart for those types of relationships.
I do too!
Even though this is a true story, my real life, I still long for those connections because there are so life-giving!
But the days are busy.
I don’t feel like I do a great job at nurturing those types of relationships at the moment.
Schedules don’t align, interests change, and people move away. Offense happens.
But let me tell you, one day matters.
I can be hard on myself thinking that I’m not doing enough. I’m not involved enough, I’m not hosting enough. I’m not reaching out enough.
And maybe that’s true. Sometimes I am a hermit and get too engrossed in my comfortable life and comfort zone. I don’t want to be bothered with all of the extra effort it takes to be more engaged.
But most of the time, it’s not true.
A lot of the time I’m knee-deep in toddler life with little kids and juggling older kids. Potty training and driver training, printing practice and proofreading, nap time schedule and youth group, bedtime routines and late-night chats.
It’s a full season and I often don’t feel like I have anything more to give. I don’t have anything left to offer.
But I know that it is so important to connect.
I need to connect with community.
To find people that are older and wiser.
Moms who are in the trenches with me, who will respond to my text at 3 am because they’re in a similar situation rocking their baby in the middle of the night.
To have a safe space to seek advice.
I need to rebuild good friends whom I can call on when I need help, who will pray for me when I’m exhausted, true friends whom I don’t need to clean my house for. Someone to reassure me when I need confidence, to talk through challenges and worries. To inspire and support one another.
How do I find those friends when I am already maxed out?!
Remember: one day matters.
This moving day made a huge impact on me; it revealed a culture that I wanted to build, and a community I wanted to be a part of. All in one day. That one day made a difference.
So don’t feel like you have to fill your schedule with book clubs, birthday parties, and school activities, because that might not be feasible or helpful.
Save it for later.
It’s in the Small Moments and Efforts
Could you aim for one connection this week?
Would you be brave and reach out once?
Maybe that looks like attending a moms group that you’ve never been to before and meeting new people. A great place to start could be striking up a conversation and small talk with someone at the local library or the grocery store.
How about a phone call or a lengthy email to someone you look up to.
Maybe it’s sending a text to some new mom friends or starting a group text.
Or putting out a message in some Facebook groups and heading to a few local parks for a play date.
What about inviting over a friend that you’ve been meaning to get together with and just sit on your couch while the little ones play on the floor?
Get something on the calendar, even if it’s weeks away.
You Are Not Alone
Motherhood can feel lonely sometimes. Real life isn’t a highlight reel.
But you are not alone.
There are people out there that want to care for you and love on your family.
There are people out there who need you, uniquely you. You have something to offer, you have something that others need. You are valuable and worth the effort.
I need you, friend. You are important. Your friendship makes a difference in my life and in my family. I’m a better wife and mother because of you.
There is community out there, there are new connections and mom friendships waiting for you. Maybe you just haven’t found each other yet.
You might have to be the brave one and start; make the first move, take the first step.
It is scary and you will probably be disappointed sometimes.
A new friendship can be awkward. Do I even know how to have an adult conversation anymore?
How do you ask for someone’s contact information these days? I haven’t had to make new friends since grade school! This sounds like a great way to make a fool out of myself.
It’s Worth the Effort
Don’t give up.
From a fellow mom, who’s been there before, and is still there struggling along, wading through the waters of adult friendships;
Because one day you will be that retired lady taking lasagna over to a new mom’s home (or your daughter’s) and you will offer her hope. Hope that the days can be rich, that she doesn’t have to do it alone, and best friends can come in all shapes and sizes.
Jen is a wife of 16 years and a homeschooling mom of 5 remarkable boys. She blogs about her family’s debt-free journey to their little homestead on the Canadian Prairies. You can read more about her on her blog Simply Restored. Thanks for sharing, Jen!