When Ezra was six weeks old we moved from Florida to Tennessee.
Let’s be honest. We weren’t planning on becoming parents so soon. We thought we would wait a few more years, but waiting wasn’t in the cards.
So we decided we had to change our life. For us, this meant moving closer to family. With our new baby we packed up our house and made the 15-hour journey. Michael got a new job. We moved into a new house, and I settled in as a stay-at-home mom.
I didn’t really miss my job, but I did miss work. (I love work.) Luckily I had my writing, but I felt I needed something else to occupy me.
Because while motherhood with a newborn was really busy, it was also kind of boring.
Don’t get me wrong. There was always something to do—a feeding, a diaper-change, another mess to clean up. But it just didn’t fulfill me.
That was okay though because I hadn’t come to motherhood asking to be fulfilled.
And I don’t think that’s the job of our children. I knew having a baby would not make me a content person. I’ve struggled with this my whole life. I am always reaching for the carrot out in front. Always pointing to the calendar and counting down days. This is how I’m wired to stay motivated. I’ve learned to accept it.
Although motherhood didn’t fulfill me, it did give me a new perspective on life. I treasured things more. Cherished more. Adored more. Embraced more.
And I took to it like a fish to water.
But as we got settled into our new house in our new town with our new baby I felt loneliness creep in. Slowly at first. After all the boxes were unpacked it really started to weigh on me. And by the time Ezra was a year old I would walk to the park and pray there would be another mom there with a baby.
This was not the first time I have prayed and asked God for companionship. I’ve done this more times than I can count. But it seemed this time God was taking his sweet time.
I would walk around Target and see a mom with young kids and think “Oh, we should be friends.” But I could not muster the courage to just walk up and introduce myself. I couldn’t even imagine how that conversation would go. That scene from Superstar kept playing in my head. “Do you have a best friend? Do you want to be my best friend?” It just felt so desperate and awkward.
Finally I met a girl. Just one girl. And I would walk to the park all the time hoping to see her so we could chat. Then one day on a whim she asked for my phone number so I could join a playgroup she had at her house every Friday morning.
I had no idea how much this would change my life. I showed up to that playgroup with a bowl of fruit and low expectations. Five other girls from the neighborhood were there too. They all had young babies like me. That was almost two years ago.
I didn’t know how much those women would change my life when they came along beside me. They help me to be a better mother. They listen to my dilemmas about nap time and offer solutions or a piece of chocolate cake. When my husband is traveling for work and I’m home with the toddler, they invite me over for dinner with their families. When we are under the weather they call to see what we need from Walgreens.
When one of us has a new baby we show up with dinner and sweep their floors. And we celebrate every birthday with a girls’ night out–complete with dessert and gifts.
We are sharing these precious early years of motherhood together, figuring it out arm-in-arm.
The thing I really didn’t expect about motherhood was the isolation. I didn’t know that you can never be alone but feel so lonely at home with a baby.
I know the best hope we have to succeed at this motherhood thing is found in each other. There is a deep sense of gratification that comes from knowing you are not in this alone. Though the nights are long, the days are short, and we cannot mother in isolation. We need each other.
So to the lonely mom out there: I see you. I was you. And let me tell you: Every time I have prayed for companionship, that desire has been met.
The mantra of my life has become this: God knows.
He knows you feel lonely.
He knows you need friends.
He knows you need someone to talk to while your kid plays at Chick-fil-A.
And I know that if you take small steps and go out on a limb, you’ll find yourself coming out of that tunnel of loneliness. Go to the park even when you don’t feel like it. Show up at MOPS. Say “hi” at Target even if it feels awkward.
Trust me, motherhood is so much better when we do it together.