Of all the novelty (not the good kind) that this last year brought us, it wasn’t the pandemic, political or social crises that surprised me most. It wasn’t the toilet paper hoarding or the sudden shift of school-and-work-at-home. It wasn’t the time when my son bounced naked behind me while I was on a video meeting about our organization’s budget (“memorable” is one way to describe that time…).
I was completely caught off guard by the stark shift in relationships. I had always romanticized that when hard times fell, we’d come together, wrap around one another and cling to our connections as a source of strength. And, oh, how I’ve craved nothing more through this season! I don’t think I’m alone in that, right?
There have definitely been beautiful bright spots – “love-up” moments where we (humankind) showed up in the small things. Then there are the times where we really showed up big. The optimist in me chooses to cling to the areas where we see progress, hope and truth.
And, yet, I suddenly found myself feeling like a stranger to my crew. The mommas who I ran to for empathy, commiserating and celebrating. Our common ground – our shared experiences – suddenly became our own, alone. No one could relate to my experience, nor I theirs. Not for lack of desire/trying – the connection just felt… broken. No one person is to blame for a shifting relationship. And, we’re all the victims in the disconnection.
I know we’ve all experienced it – some of our closest friendships will forever be changed. Some families struggling to get over the chasms of differing views. All our lives were thrown in a whirlpool and here we are, (hopefully) coming out of the downward pull and into the slow waves lapping back-and-forth as they find their new place.
As a mom, I feel like a teenager again, trying to figure out how to find those mom connections once more – to use my middle-school relationship skills to re-bond with friends. To make new friends. To navigate complicated topics. To ignore “clique” mentality (anyone else feel them forming around masks, school, who will/won’t go to parties, etc.?). Who would have known that the lessons I’m teaching my sons about inclusion, respect and bullying would be my mantra as a full-grown adult some days?
Where do we go from here? I don’t know a single mom who wants to go it alone. We all want and need that connection. We are designed to learn from one another. To show up when others are depleted. To say, “I don’t just hear you. I get it. I really get it. And we’re in this together.”
So, if you’re a full-time working mom with little ones at home, and you can barely keep your days straight and your mind clear, I’m here for you. If you feel like your life took so many turns this year, you hardly connect to the person you were, I’m here for you. If you find yourself wanting to send that “only moms would get it” text or meme, count me in. If you’re just craving human connection and authentic, non-tip-toe conversations, I’m here for it. Who’s joining me?