The #MOMLIFE reality that isn’t trendy

If you are a new mom, a mom of small children or just in a new phase of life, odds are you are not unfamiliar with the feeling of loneliness.

Everyone always recites that cliché saying “your whole life changes when you become a mom” right? You hear it, and it passes in one ear and out the next. Honestly though, your life changes in ways you totally did NOT see coming. I could write a bazillion, yes I said bazillion, posts about the ways your life changes after being a mom from postpartum bodies, sleep deprivation, to succumbing to a messy house. But what I’m wanting to write about is how you mentally change. Yes, there is postpartum depression and that’s a very real thing that so many women have to deal with, but there are plenty of women who are undiagnosed (and may or may not have ppd) and struggle with LONELINESS.

The loneliness you start to feel creep in is subtle, but its real. Here you are a new mom, you’re adjusting to a whole range of things like how to keep this child alive, how to function on 3 hours of sleep, how to adapt to your changing body, how to breastfeed, how to formula feed if breastfeeding didn’t work out, how to not guilt yourself, its ENDLESS. At the end of the day, I’m sure you are left feeling lonely and like no one else is struggling like you and you’re the only one that understands you in these moments. You probably feel like other moms have this all figured out and they’re just coasting through life with their bffs and loving life. This was one of the lies I let my self believe for too long.

I wanted to be a young mom, to basically do the opposite of my parents (who were older than most parents) and start a family young. When I did though, I of course knew I changed my life, but the change I didn’t see coming was in my friendships. I was the first of my “friends” to get married, first to have kids, and because of those things I was just in a different phase of life than anyone else. That alone separates you and puts you in a different category than your friends. I felt myself not connecting the way I used to, and it just made me feel lonely. I got in my head and questioned if I had made a mistake wanting to make these big life choices earlier than people I knew. I was left feeling empty, lonely, and just sad a lot of the time. Those feelings weighed on me, like a weight on my shoulders I carried around with all of the other things I was juggling at the time… like being a mom and a wife.

So for about 4 years I didn’t really connect with women like I wanted to. I felt different, I didn’t feel like I had any real friends, and I was just bound to my house as a slave to the nap schedule of my child. When we had our second child, our lives had to adjust to the new addition and when he was close to one, someone mentioned to me casually that I should attend a MOPS group. I responded to.. um what the heck is that?!

MOPS stands for Mothers Of Preschoolers. Typically MOPS groups are ran through churches across the nation, but I (at the time) was not a person who had been to church. I did not grow up attending church, and the idea was pretty foreign to me. But, I was feeling lonely, and I thought, there was some promise in the idea that moms met 2 times a month, who were just like me in this unique phase of life with small people to chase after day in and day out. A few months earlier, I had started my first online bible study through some ladies in a direct sales company I worked for at the time, and felt I was semi- prepared to enter into a church environment because I had been doing that for a few weeks. So I asked around on facebook who attended a “MOPS” group, and I did get a couple responses and looked one of them up and went to their park play date sign up. I hesitantly walked up to a table with a big sign and signed myself up for “MOPS” and whatever that was.

I have been apart of MOPS for 5 years now, and unless we have another baby, then this will be my last year. Truthfully, I wish I would have known about it SOONER! That first year, I was a new-ish mom and didn’t have any connections or friendships, I struggled with loneliness, and I became SO connected and had life breathed back into me!

I sat at an amazing table of 7 other women and one mentor mom, who happened to be the head of women’s ministry at that church. It was a life changing year. It sounds so corny, but just going to those meetings, and listening to the speakers, the videos, and other moms at my table and not at my table revitalized me. Suddenly, I was not some leper cast away on an island to live alone, but I was JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. Other moms struggled with not feeling like they are enough, and feeling like they were one timeout away from losing their minds.

That year I made lasting friendships, and to this day, 5 years later I still call most of them great friends. Several of them have “aged out” of MOPS and their kids aren’t in the 0-5 year range, but I still text and connect with them on a pretty regular basis. Each year I met amazing women and it truly opened up a door for me to see that I am not alone.

If you are feeling at all like how I felt, and this is how you are hearing about MOPS, you should look on their website and connect with a local chapter and GO! You can look for a group here. Nothing is holding you back but yourself and your fear. If I hadn’t walked up to that table at that park play date and let fear paralyze me then I wouldn’t have made any of the friendships or connections that I have over these last few years and my life would be SO different. No one can support you, or understand you like a fellow mom. Don’t let yourself live isolate and feeling lonely.

We are meant to live in connection with each other and not apart from each other.

With this most likely being my last year at MOPS, and with it being the beginning of the year, it got me thinking about my time there and left me with the feeling that I needed to write about MOPS. Maybe there is a mom who will read this who is feeling just like I felt.

This year’s theme for MOPS is called “FIND YOUR FIRE”, and its so fitting. Most of us let our fires go out when we become moms because we have to do so many new things and we lose ourselves. Don’t let yourself make that mistake, because our fires were not meant to be extinguished.

“Never let your fire go out. When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. Share with God’s people who are in need. Welcome others into your homes.” Romans 12:11-1 NIV

Lies We Tell Ourselves

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves as moms and women?

Why?!

I think there have been subtle changes in our society, and even our thinking, almost conditioning us to the point of believing we are not enough. I am so tired of it. I am fed up that I second guess myself all of the time.

“Am I making the right decision?”

“Should I be doing more?”

“Am I doing enough by staying home?”

“Should I work outside my home?”

“Should I work less?”

“ I should have this more together by now.”

These feelings play like a broken record on a loop in my mind.

They’re rooted in lies. Each one of them.

We feel we can’t just “stay home” with our kids, if that’s what we choose. We should be doing more with our time at home, because as a stay at home mom all you have is extra time since you JUST stay home.

If you’re a working mom you need to have the perfect balance of home life, and you somehow need to climb the corporate ladder effortlessly.

This isn’t just something moms do, even women who aren’t moms struggle with needing to be the best, conquer the world and basically kill it at life and embody Wonder Woman.

The list goes on and on. But why?!

We are rarely comfortable in our situations and with our decisions.

It’s exhausting, and these lies we tell ourselves are ridiculous.

We battle with this feeling, this constant pull from social media, and society to take life to the next level all the time. This feeling is just the pull from the world, and its is a race we will not win. We have to stop the crazy game we play in our minds and just remind ourselves of the truth that WE ARE ENOUGH, just as we are, however that may be.

*****

We need to push against the current of todays world and slow our minds down, slow our lives down and be grateful and satisfied with where our lives are, because He orchestrated it.

One of my favorite pieces of scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, NIV “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” He has plans for us and we are all carefully guided into different places and situations in our lives according to His plan.

We need to Trust in Him and not try to juggle a million things all the time. I need to repeat this to myself a million times each day.

The times I find myself feeling frazzled, which is more often than I’d like, I know I need to slow down. SLOW DOWN.

*****

I reflect on what He has given me, I remind myself NOT to focus on what I need to achieve or cross off on my to do list, but really be present (that’s such a hard thing for me) and reprioritize.

Sadly, this is a problem that’s becoming an epidemic in our society and I know I’m not alone.

We’re told it’s not ok to slow down, or even admit you’re not in control for that matter.

I know I am enough, because He tells me I am. I need to remind myself of this truth when I’m struggling with life, and I fall into the all too familiar cycle of hectic life.

I am a child of God. I am more than my resume of accomplishments and what I can post about on social media.

This is a constant battle, a war that wages inside of me daily. I know I will be victorious because of His mercy and forgiveness that He offers to us all.  All we need to do is ask. Stop, slow down, and pray.

If we don’t say these lies aloud, that all we struggle, that it’s OK to not DO IT ALL, each one of us, whether we are working, stay at home, single, married, divorced, whatever your situation is; then we are fooling ourselves.

We are fooling ourselves and each other if we let ourselves believe that struggle isn’t a part of life, and that you have to do it all. Whether you are working, whether you start at home, are single, married, divorced, widowed, whatever your situation is don’t let yourself be fooled.   We all struggle, we don’t have to do it all!

Stop believing the lies, and take the burdens you place on yourself off of your shoulders.

Instead, believe that each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and that YOU matter.

Today, choose to tell yourself three things

  1. I am enough.
  2. I am where I am supposed to be.
  3. I am a child of God.

Knowing you are those things are all you should be focused on and anything else is just not essential. Take the burdens off of yourself mama, slow your mind down if you feel like your drowning in guilt and to do lists, and just BE.

Share this with any momma or friend who you know should hear this.