As a mom with a wide range of kids’ ages (17, 12, 6, 3) in various activities, I find myself not really belonging anywhere as of late. Not in the sense of “poor me,” because I am certainly very blessed to have very close friendships that have spanned years and geography, but in my every day life, there’s less connection than I’m used to or than I like. I don’t have a friend who I even semi-regularly meet for lunch or a drink to reconnect with. There isn’t someone who swings by if I’m sick to make sure I can function or that I list as an emergency contact for my kids at school. Having grown up in such a connected community, I wish that for my life here in Pittsburgh. I truly have had glimpses over the decade that I’ve lived here, but it’s still something I’m missing. It’s important to me to connect with my husband, my kids, my colleagues, my friends.
Remember as a kid that desire to feel like you belonged? I think as adults, as moms, that feeling absolutely still exists. Despite the busy that life is, at least for me– connection is something that I value and need.
Last night, I had a fellow band mom say, “I don’t know how you keep your head above water sometimes.” I smiled at her and said, “Some days I don’t.” Which is the absolute truth. Some days I’m so overwhelmed and I feel lonely that I do just break down and cry. Funny thing, yesterday was one of those days. Other days, I muddle through and some I sail through like I know exactly what I’m doing.
I also received a gift from a friend last night that I was lucky enough to meet through our teenagers several years ago. When I opened it, she said, “I want you to know that you’re part of this group too.” Without any previous conversation about it, she knew that simply the season that my life is in, I am not able to participate often and wanted me to know I am supported nonetheless. I cried and thanked her. She had no idea how I’d been feeling lately.
The reason her gesture impacted me in such a raw manner is that being a mom of a 17 year old, a 12 year old, a 6 year old, and a 3 year old, I don’t really fit in any one place. Most days I’m ok with that. Sometimes, I need more.
My teenage parent peers are in the season of having more flexibility on the time they have for themselves personally and not needing babysitters for kids to go do something. My stepdaughter parent peers are mostly new into my life, so it’s simply that it’s just not really connected. My 6 year old is new into school, just started in cheer and Girl Scouts this year, and beginning to make new friends. Many of her peers’ parents are first time parents and can’t relate to my life. My baby is 3 and simply due to my schedule, she isn’t involved in any peer setting yet–no mom’s groups or preschool. She goes with the flow until next year when she begins preschool of her own. All of that to say, while I have a place in all those seasons, finding a place to belong with other adults in it, is not always easy.
I try to let people who are in my life know that I miss them, they mean something to me, I appreciate who they are… even if it’s just through a simple text message. And I do it often. I love deeply and feel very fortunate to have really good people in my life in all of my groups. I just miss having that deeper connection in my every day life.
I think as women we truly do need emotional connection– to feel valued as people outside of being a mom also. I know I do.
What do you do to stay connected?