lonely motherhood connected

I feel so alone.

Would you write a letter to the lonely mom?

I get email after email after message after message after tweet after comment and all again asking me to write about the lonely mom. Yes, the lonely mom. The mom, like you, or me, or the mom at Target who has actually mastered pushing the jumbo cart that needs blinkers and two weeks of training and yet, still feels alone. The lonely mom in a world of crazy social media connectivity.

We have facebook, pinterest, twitter, email, phones with us at all the time and yet, sometimes, I think we as mothers feel more alone than ever when hypothetically, we should be connected more than ever. We share status updates and like things. We add friends. We love instagrams and favorite tweets. We send texts with cute little heart emoticons and messages with clever quotes. We share our pictures, videos, and sometimes our hopes for the week. We update our lives and check in at places and take pictures of us smiling in a crowd.


Yet, so often, we feel alone.

Isolated.

Watching a world of information, perfection, could do’s, should have done’s, never-ending projects, vacations, expectations, fabulous dinners, cute homes, clever kids, and scrapbooks of life scrolling by.

Truth? I think the reason so many of us feel so alone it is that so much time is spent labeling and unintentionally competing and thus less time is spent embracing each other for who we are. And that categorizing of motherhood just might come with the crazy flood of information that we’re presented with every single day.

But, listen. At the core, we’re still all mothers.

Mothers who wake up often tired. Mothers with dreams. Mothers wondering if they’re going to make it through the morning and toddlerhood. Mothers working several jobs and praying that the food stretches the week. Mothers with one child. Mothers with many children. Mothers who are worn out. Mothers who are content. Mothers who are married. Mothers who are single. Mothers who don’t care what anyone else is doing. Mothers with kids that sit still. Mothers with kids throwing tantrums at the check-out lane in Target. We’re all mothers painting different canvases of motherhood. Making choices best for our families. Loving our kids. Working hard. Giving of ourselves.

 

What if this constant stream of highlights contributes to the culture of loneliness that mothers feel? What if it’s a disconnect between really getting to know someone versus only getting to know someone by the information that they share? There is a deeper level of intimacy with really getting to know the mom at preschool and sitting in the Starbucks that she instagrams all the time (haha…like me) versus simply looking at her instagram picture with the artsy looking caramel macchiato cup with the Starbucks logo turned just perfectly and her toddler who sat still for the eleven seconds it took her to take the picture.

When one gets to know someone more they see the mom ordering the macchiato and dealing with the toddler and hearing her share her story and seeing tears sometimes well in the corner of her eyes as she talks about being overwhelmed with the toddler who sat still only for the eleven seconds it took to take the instagram.

The frenzy of social can add layers of should have’s, could have’s, why didn’t I do that’s, and other unneeded expectations on our lives. It’s fabulous to share, to be social, but in that sharing and reading other’s lives we also need to remember that it’s only a snapshot of the entire canvas, the entire story, of another person.

Do you know what matters at the deep core level? It’s the bond of motherhood. It’s the bond of being brave even when sometimes we’re scared out of our minds and don’t know what to do with those kids that we love unconditionally. It’s the connection of giving of self – losing sleep, counting to ten, praying for peace, driving here and there, teaching them how to thrive as adults – while we live our lives as mother day by day teaching them, those kids, the skills and the courage to leave our homes.

 

We’re not raising kids to make ourselves look like super moms.

We are instead blessed with the awesome responsibility of teaching and training and loving and guiding the kids who we love to be adults. And that’s motherhood.

If we as women, as mothers recognize the potential for loneliness in what appears to be a very socially connected world, then we have a responsibility. Not to try to keep up with everything that we think would make us be a perfect mother but rather the responsibility to be real, to reach out to the other moms, to open our doors into our lives and not worry that everything isn’t exactly right or that we have different opinions on parenting topics but to rather embrace each other simply for who we are as mothers.

Motherhood isn’t meant to be journeyed alone.

Let’s celebrate real. Let’s celebrate our differences and the fact that we can learn from others.

Let’s connect motherhood. One phone call. One five extra minutes spent talking in the doorway. One trip to Starbucks. One message telling a friend how much they matter to you and how grateful you are to have them as a friend. Let’s create a community, a culture of women that decides to strip away the layers of unneeded defining expectations of motherhood and let’s instead start to celebrate the little things in life. The moments of bravery and teaching and brushing off the dust and trying again. The times spent together learning about others.

 

It’s about real heart connections. And being okay with not having the perfect life but instead opening up your life, your home, your heart to another. So to you, all the moms that have emailed me telling me you feel so very alone in this world of motherhood, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are many moms feeling this way. You and I and the next mom and the mom on facebook and on my finding joy facebook page we all can work to change that loneliness. Let’s be real. Let’s linger a bit more, sit with coffee, and not worry about measuring up but rather invest in each other’s lives.

Motherhood is beautiful. And motherhood is a journey meant to be shared.

So today, today I challenge you to do one thing to connect with another mom. One thing. A phone call. A smile at Starbucks (do you feel a theme with me and Starbucks?). Meeting at the park. Open your life.

Lonely motherhood connected.

~Rachel

#littlethingsmatter

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Today’s photos? A mixture of real life live from the instagram feed. Find me there at finding_joy
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.

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15 Responses to “lonely motherhood connected”

  1. November 11, 2013

    Darla Smith Reply

    One of my favorites, so far. I appreciate your words. I have shared with my husband many times, that feeling I feel of isolation. Every time I read you blog, I feel the camaraderie. Thank you!

  2. November 11, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply

    Bless you Darla. And those camaraderie words? Yes. They matter.

    Rachel

  3. November 11, 2013

    andrea Reply

    This is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. Lonely and only connected on the surface. And it hurts. I desperately need to make some sort of community but I don’t know how…

  4. November 11, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Did you write this for me Rachel? So often you seem to be peering inside my head and putting into words what I can’t… What I fail to communicate in any way other than silent tears when I’m so tired/worn out/lonely/scared that I can’t think straight. Thanks. As always, thank you.

    English Amanda xxx

  5. November 11, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    P.S I’m still in the ‘weeds’ by the way…but a friend from my village who I don’t know very well sent me the lovliest text yesterday along this theme. She told me she see’s I’m struggling but see’s I’m doing the best I can and has been there and is there for a hug if I ever need one. That one text made the world of difference…

    English Amanda xxx

  6. November 11, 2013

    Sarah Millar Reply

    I absolutely love this. I love your mission and everything about you.

    Sarah Millar, managing editor, Mamalode

  7. November 11, 2013

    SusanP (HomeGrownKids) Reply

    This is beautiful and touching but it is more than pretty words. It reaches to the heart of mothers – we need to connect but in a real and authentic way.

    I don’t have little children anymore as mine are nearly all grown up… but it doesn’t change. Whether a mum is faced with nappies and toddlerhood or teaching a teen to drive – we need to enjoy and share in the journey of motherhood.

    Bless you for sharing.

  8. November 11, 2013

    PrettyMama Reply

    Oh I so needed this today, Thank You! I have been thinking along the lines of what you said about social media for a while, but not in the way you put it–so well said. Sitting here at my computer feeling lonely, just checked email and facebook but those things don’t make a difference. It’s the phone calls and little chats, texts with friends where we share how we are really feeling… like you said.

  9. November 11, 2013

    Jen Reyneri Reply

    Fabulous day reading this- smiling after so deeply feeling that connection with the mamas here today and their kiddos running around like crazy. That kind of chaos really can bring deep peace. Opening home=open and full heart.

    Bless you my sister, and friend. xxoo

  10. November 12, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Definitely relate to this one. When I was raising my kids I was definitely lonely. As a pastor’s wife it’s not a good idea to get too close to people. And we’d moved away from both families, too. Not a lot has changed…
    The Lord will be with you always! I’ll be here praying!
    Colossians 3:15-16 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

  11. Love this so much Rachel. I think in so many ways all of our “connectedness” drives us apart. We see everyone’s Pinterest Perfect moments, and we don’t see the real, the nitty gritty, the emotion, the things that bind us together, not make us feel less than, intimidated or that we don’t measure up. Thank you for sharing!

  12. November 13, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Probably the most well-known words in all of Scripture, but oh what comfort they give! Praying hard as always!
    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    My email address

  13. November 14, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Know that you’re always in my prayers.
    Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (8) And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
    My email address

  14. November 18, 2013

    Kristin Kat Reply

    Inspiring as always, thank you for continuing to share.

  15. October 19, 2015

    Theresa Humphry Reply

    I am even more isolated because I am raising my grandsons. Sad that I didn’t raise my own child to be responsible enough to care for his children, and hope I don’t make the same mistakes with my grands. I pray a lot. I love my grandchildren enough to sacrifice my own plans for my future for them. There are some things bigger than ourselves, but still the sadness rises in my heart from time to time.

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