I have been a full time stay at home mom(SAHM) for 7 months now. I can confidently say that it has been the most unique months that I’ve experienced so far in my life. Unique in that they’ve been the most rewarding, the most challenging, and the most progressively lonely and trying months. When I reconnect with friends and acquaintances that I haven’t seen in some time, they always ask about my staying at home, proceeded by commending both my husband and I for allowing me to do so. While I do agree, it often doesn’t feel like anything I’d want to be commended on. While I do like the recognition, it feels like empty words. It feels like a distant memory for those who are offering the applause yet have forgotten what its like to be in the trenches of constant little hands on you, peeing with an audience and scurrying to accomplish as much as you can as quietly as you can during nap times. While I love these trenches and would re-enlist a million times over(and plan to), I never could have imagined the difficulty that the loneliness produces. It strains my marriage, my parenting, my friendships.
When Lacie was born, I slowly lost friendships especially with my friends who didn’t care much for children. For the first 6 months, I couldn’t be apart from her for more tthan 30-45 minutes at a time(yay for a baby who loves her some boobies). I didn’t know how to balance my new precious, perfect, cute, snuggly ball and chain with my previous non-mom life.Church was difficult and discouraging to sit through because I’d get called out within 15 minutes to come get my poor screaming little. Bible study? No way would she sit still for that long on my lap.
And slowly, I gave up. I stopped trying because my friends did. “I don’t want to pressure you to hang out. I know you’re busy. Just let me know whenever you’re ready.” I get it. I’m sure I’ve even said the same thing to some of my friends with babies in the past. I’m sorry that I have. It’s unintentionally isolating. Because I will honestly never be ready to hang out in the same way I used to. Never again. My world has changed, my daily tasks are different, my joys have exploded exponentially and revolve around a 3 foot tall human.
Insert the transition from non-mom friends to mom friends. Insert GOD’S GRACE, because really that’s what it is, that’s what it was, that’s what it always will be.
I remember crying to my husband about feeling so lonely and not having friends anymore. Not just not having friends, but not having a depth in my friendships that I once had. That depth had been flooded by little tiny baby cries and made shallow as it filled with poopy diapers. The daunting task of navigating my way back to a depth scared me to the fact where it was almost easier to remain where I was in my self pitying loneliness. David told me to make friends, he’d set up double dates for us, he urged me week after week(to the pint whee I told him to stop) to hang out with my friends and go take some time for myself. Finally, and much thanks to a friend who joined me, I decided to go to the MomMe group at church. Socialization! And with other moms! We could relate and it was like the heavens opened up and poured out blessing after blessing in form of conversations that didn’t feel forced, that I could relate to. And praise Jesus that Lacie stayed in nursery for hte full 2 hours, and continued to stay and play, week after week. Still, my heart was sad. I was missing that depth of doing life with people, the depth of learning about Jesus together and really the spiritual challenge that went BEYOND mothering. Again, he answered prayers as the women’s Bible Study started up at church. Other women, of all walks of life with DEPTH! Praise! Despite my excitement, I wrestled. I was scared, I still am! Nervous, to have to make new friends, worried because I’m broken and empty and haven’t spent hours each week studying Scripture like I used to. I have no memory verses, and can barely remember to say grace before my meals. Yet I ave this idea that I have to go and be sharp to sharpen others, but I did go, just barely, and the Lord gave me a peace about where I am. They understand that I have a baby, that I my soul is panting and thirsty, and we are all searching for and helping each other drink from the River of Life together. College students, young wives, young moms, older widows, middle aged wives, empty nesters. People to pour into and to receive from. From the fellowship of these women, I can finally feel the Lord telling me after 7 months(if not more) that I am not alone, that I can come as I am, that He will do the work in me. He has placed in me the desire and reassured me of the importance of fellowship. I think I’ve found my home; I think I’m ready to make friends and finally put in the effort. I’ve been challenged to pray big prayers, impossible prayers for impossible things, and to be honest I didn’t know what that meant for me in this season.
I think the biggest thing for me right now is making friends and chasing vulnerability within these friendships, making room to be humbled and to be built up by the truth that will be shared. I’m thankful for the God who gives courage and never leaves my side, who sends bold words and challenges to my husband to encourage me, the God who sends women to fight these battles with me, even if they don’t realize they’re fighting.
I guess this is my long winded way of saying being a SAHM is freaking hard and making new friends is freaking hard, but nothing is too hard for my God and I am crushed by the beautiful weight of that glory. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m following the God who not only makes my path, but makes it straight
Also, please hang out with your mom friends and just endure their kid stories and the things that bring them joy. Offer to help them and hangout with them(and their kids if need be), and do life WITH them, not while they have a babysitter. Maybe even be their babysitter so they can take a shower without having to simultaneously patrol what gets thrown in the toilet. And definitely pray with them, because I promise you they need it. It will bless your heart too.