Just this week we posted a simple status on our Facebook page asking: Today, I am feeling so ________________ !
What caught my attention was how many fellow mamas were exhausted, stressed, and lonely. Having children is joyful – an experience of unparalleled change and love. But the side of motherhood we don’t talk about is the one that rocks our world. The one that turns us inside out, filled with confusion and frustration. The side that leaves us exhausted, depleted, and alone. And it’s time we stopped hiding it.
Motherhood isn’t always joyful. It can be overwhelming and disorienting. For many of us, motherhood is one of many life ambitions we have but when we get there, we lose ourselves. We lose our professional identities, our personal time, and our social connections. We feel alienated within the walls of our homes, struggling with little or big challenges, like sleep, showering, and eating. We love and adore our children – we carry them and wear them, breastfeed them and cuddle them – and then we feel guilty for wanting some space and needing “me” time. So we forge ahead and often let ourselves fall by the wayside.
And we believe that we are the only ones in the world who feel this way. We wonder why other moms seem to be managing so beautifully, with such ease and grace. We wish we could do better, feel better, be better. We beat ourselves up. We shut down. And we feel tired, depleted, and alone.
And this is exactly why we need support. This is what community is all about. Real community. Connecting with others who understand our journey. Who can walk in our shoes – even a for a little while. We can spend hours on discussion forums, poring over Facebook statuses, or Tweeting our dilemmas, and sometimes that helps. But we don’t feel that surge of energy, share a laugh, cry or hug, or feel empowered without personal connection. We can watch girlfriends getting together for coffee on TV, but it’s not nearly as fulfilling as doing it ourselves. Even for a moment, an hour, a few hours – personal connection feels good. It can inspire us for days to feel better about ourselves and our parenting. We can be assured that we are “normal” and that the challenges we have are not unique. We can enjoy the company of another adult, some mom-to-mom conversation, and a shift in our routine. And it fills us up.
Whatever your community - whether Holistic Moms or another moms group – value and treasure it. Participate and be active – find the support and connection that can get you through the hard times, as well as rejoice with you through the happy ones. It is so easy to feel lonely in this digital age and so hard to remember the power of personal engagement. Finding your way to connection and community is that HMN is all about. We wish all mothers could feel empowered and connected each and every day.