I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was years ago. There I was this newer mom standing in a room full of women who were laughing and chatting and hugging and there I stood right in the middle of all this energy and fellowship and yet I was feeling very much alone.
Why isn't anyone talking with me?
I don't measure up.
I knew I shouldn't have worn this shirt.
I don't fit in.
I want to go home.
I stood there, a bit frozen, with my baby in the stroller and the pang of my heart after I dropped off my toddler in a class, and I just felt so out of place. I wanted to run - to pick up the little ones and pack them in the car so I could drive straight home where I could ignore this whole thing and pretend that I wasn't feeling so alone. Here I was, insecure and out of place, and so needing of a friend, and someone to invest some time in me and to invite me to sit at their table.
I felt invisible.
It was just me. In a room. Filled with women.
But, I stood there, with my brave smile on my face while my insides ached, and I just watched. I knew I needed to be bold, but I also wanted to find a friend. To know I wasn't alone.
That is until another mom came up, asked if she could help me find a spot, and started talking to me. She walked with me to get coffee, and told me she thought the baby was cute, and introduced me to her friends at the table. Those friends became my friends.
They linked arms with me.
It's easy to journey through motherhood on autodrive and to not link arms with other mothers. We can get caught up in this comparison cycle, and the one-ups, and the having everything perfect, and never let people see you sweat type of mothering world. And then we lose the real. We forget to look across the room and see the mom standing there just waiting for someone to come up to them and say hi and cute sweater and to learn more about them. To link arms.
We are looking to be told that we matter, that we're not failing, and that others care. There is power in becoming a generation of women who decide that we're going to be in this together and support each other. Let's be that friend to the mom standing in the preschool room alone, or who comes in the Bible Study and doesn't know where to sit, or who goes to a conference and stares blankly at a room full of people. Step out. Introduce yourself. Be real. Authentic. Care.
We're stronger when we journey together.
I'm so grateful for my now wonderful friend who came up to me, the gal alone, that day.
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