It’s been 142 days since I became a mom, but who’s really counting?
I can’t say I’ve conquered much or mastered many things, but I have survived. I’m still standing.
I’ve already established that loneliness is a real factor in becoming a new mom, but it was just recently that I finally found the ceiling on expectations of how to solve that problem. And the conclusion I’ve come to is that it just takes time.
A few weeks ago my husband and I met a sweet couple at our first little kid birthday party. Star Wars themed, yah! Our daughter wore a princess Leia costume and all seemed right in the world. Fast forward a couple play dates later, we found ourselves invited over for dinner. (Of course it happened to be the same day my husband was getting a cavity filled, cue the awkward limp-face that you never want to have when you’re trying to make new friends. Yes honey, let me wipe that drool for you that fell all over your numb chin).
I made a girly fruit salad, piled up all the toys we’d need, and we arrived at their darling home. We connected over sleepless nights, baby confusion, and quiche. I ate standing up, their sweet boy smashed potato all over his face, and my fruit salad seemed like a hit- overall a great time. But when we left I felt confused by how all that effort resulted in what felt like just a tiny baby-step deeper in our friendship.
Pondering this for a while, I realized how hard it is to make friends when you have small children. Out of the two hours we spent together, an hour and a half of that was spent tending to some sort of need of a child. 10 minutes spent tending to yourself, ie: eating as fast as you can cause you have a small child and that’s what you do now.
10 minutes spent in awkward silence since you barely know each other. Which leaves a total of 10 minutes to actually connect with one another. There is no quick fix to this dilemma. Not even the four-leaf clover I found on the ground the other day will suddenly change things.
But we’ve got to keep investing. It’s endurance that’s needed for the long haul if we’re going to stomp on the face of loneliness in motherhood once and for all. It won’t be disappointment, frustration, discontentment or envy that changes our circumstances. It will be the endurance of investment.