We do not have to compete.
We can rally together with our pile of imperfections. We can celebrate the march of time.
We can bond over messy houses and stretch marks. Together, we can mock Snooki and the lack of any reality on TV.
Never Alone Yet Lonely
Motherhood, while marketed as a life stage of peppy bliss, can produce tremendous anxiety and isolation all, interestingly enough, while a woman is not physically alone. As moms we have little people literally hanging on us all day. We sleep with kids, nurse kids, strap kids to our chests in kangaroo-like carriers. We cannot leave the house, the car, the restroom without them. We are never physically alone and yet our souls starve for connection.
Often our best efforts at connection can be hijacked. Perhaps we finally make plans to connect with a new friend, only to wake up to a toddler with a fever of 102.9. Your poor pediatrician has just become the conversational high point of your day.
Competition. Labels. Cultural barriers. Physical limitations. Life-stage obstacles. These prevent us from engaging with meaningful friendship circles every day. Is it any wonder that many sociologists and psychologists have declared an epidemic of loneliness in our culture? In 2008 the Today Show reported some 96 percent of moms today felt more stressed than their own mothers were. According to research by the YMCA of the USA and the Abundant Assets Alliance, 53 percent of parents say they do not regularly seek support or parenting advice from friends, family, or the community. Umm … that's over half of all parents going it alone! Fears of appearing weak or needy prevent parents from reaching out for help, so they make major decisions and often parent in isolation.
Hearing the Cry of a Mother's Heart
Back to the graceful, natural mothers … no amount of balance, wisdom, or insight can shape a perfect mother. Everyone struggles. We should find this tremendously freeing because it helps to know we do not struggle alone. The old cliché "misery loves company" applies.
At this life stage where emotions feel crisp and near crumbling, even a simple invitation can shape our days and weeks. Author Adele Calhoun says, "Invitations challenge and remake us. They can erode and devastate. And they can heal and restore us. Being wanted, welcomed, invited and included are some of the most mending experiences on the planet."
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