Since before my daughter was born, I feel like all I've heard is "Join a mommy group." "Make mom friends." "Your mom friends will save you."
I have taken this advice to heart. I have tried really hard to make mom friends; like harder than I ever tried to connect with any other group of individuals in my entire life! In my mind, it should be easier. We are all women at a similar stage in our lives. We are raising children. And, yes, there are some definite ties that bind mothers together. However, beyond the small talk of child rearing, the truth is that sometimes you have almost nothing in common. I have met many moms over the past couple of years. But when I think about what I really know about some of them, I draw a blank. I don't really know much about them.
Why is this?
For awhile, I was troubled by this. My introspective self was always asking, "Is it me? Do I just not click with other moms?" Maybe. But, it could also be any number of variables. Perhaps it's just as simple as not being at the right place at the right time, i.e. I've been joining all the wrong mom groups. Or it's conflicting schedules. I have met a couple of wonderful mom friends along the way, but our schedules haven't allowed us to really devote the time and effort we would like to nourishing a friendship. Distance could play a role, too. I've got a long distance mom friend who is awesome, but we live so far apart, it's hard to have any continuity.
So there are all of these reasons why there may be lost connections. Yet, there is also the fact that, for me, mommy groups have brought me right back to junior high school. I've felt the sting of not being invited to get togethers; with other moms openly planning play dates in front of me and not inviting me. I've dealt with that bitchy mom who has met me a handful of times and still pretends like she has no idea who I am. I've even been unfriended on Facebook from a fellow mom from a past mommy group because...well...I don't really know why. *eye roll* Needless to say, it can be harsh out there in the land of moms.
All of this emphasis on making new mom friends has made me self-conscious. I started to really care about what others thought and have lived in fear of being judged by other moms. At times, it has been downright miserable and lonely. It has made me feel vulnerable and unsure of myself. It has brought up old insecurities that I let go of back in...eighth grade.
For me, having mom friends is more about quality than quantity. I don't expect to click with tons of people. It's not as much about being a part of a pack as feeling like you are surrounded by people who lift you up and empower you; who don't judge you and just get it. We all want to feel like we are loved for who we are. When you are part of a group, but not connecting with anyone on that deeper level, that's where the loneliness comes in. It's that feeling of being in a crowd, but still feeling completely alone.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, consider yourself lucky. But, I'm putting this out there in case other women have gone through or are going through something similar. Mommy groups can be tricky sometimes, and forging connections with other women at this time in my life has been tough.