Lifestyle,  Mindset,  Motherhood

A Lonely Season

She’s feeling much better.

I’m in the middle of writing a blog post on the empowerment of stress (yes, you read that right) but last night, something happened. Something admittedly stupid, but eye opening nonetheless. A weight that I’m still deciding if it lifted, got heavier, or just plain more visible. Whatever way I look at it, I need to talk about it.

A little background to my week: I’m exhausted on every level possible. Ava (my 3 yr old) came down with a nasty virus, which I assume is RSV given her exposure at school and the rapid spread of it right now. She is on the mend as I write this, but my emotional state remains raw from the long, out of routine week we’ve had. 

Which leads into a very real, honest conversation here.

So, back to the stupid thing…

I plopped down on the couch last night without a tiny human attached to me for the first time all day. I picked up my phone, opened my Instagram, and started the mindless right to left tap thru of stories. Until I was stopped dead in my scroll. I was staring at an infamous ‘boomerang cheers’ that I was clearly not a part of, but people I knew were. A girls’ night I was not invited to. 

I immediately started creating a narrative in my head. 

Why wasn’t I invited? They must not like me.

Now mind you, I didn’t even know half the women in this screen shot. Nor did I know why they were together, who organized it, what they were doing. (See, I told you… STUPID.)

But what was not stupid was how it made me feel. Because our feelings, of any shape and size, are still feelings. It does not matter how they are triggered and certainly do not need to be explained to anyone else in order to make sense of them. For the sake of this story though, I am going to do just that…

At first, maybe I felt jealousy because I was at home, where I had been for the last seven days straight, covered in tiny human snot and having everyone else’s need trump my own. Why couldn’t I be out having fun too? 

Then, I got mad. Stubborn and defensive, if you will. Fine, if they aren’t going to invite me, I’ll stop inviting them.

And lastly, before I mustered enough energy to peel myself off the couch, I was overwhelmed with sadness. Why don’t I have any friends?

Clearly, I was on a knee-jerk rollercoaster of emotions. All probably exaggerated given my state of mind before I even picked up my phone. I had set myself up to over analyze something, searching for something to make me feel anything other the burden of a Mom taking care of sick kids all week.

In hindsight, these feelings running through me were all superficial. Although they all felt very real in the moment, they weren’t what is really going on. (I know better than that- turns out this Health Mindset Certification has taught me a few things along the way.) And let’s not forget about the fact I literally had ZERO context of the situation I scrolled across, more proof that these thoughts of mine were no different than what IG showed me- they were all just stories.

As my night continued on, reality set in. I went from one bed to the next, kissing my babies goodnight with their sleepy little eyes looking back at me with so much innocence and pure love. I landed in one of their beds, as Emma’s sweet little head fell asleep on my chest. I was exactly where I needed to be. And wanted to be.

I could breathe again. 

And with that breath, I felt the truth. The deepness I’ve known, but continuously try to shove down with “smaller” feelings I can grab for, just as I did earlier. 

The true feeling at hand:

I am lonely.

How can my heart be so full and happy, with the family I’ve always wanted and the ‘feel good’ alignment of my own personal growth… yet feel so alone at the same time? 

Because this is the season I’m in.

I am in the trenches of motherhood with four kids, 8 years old and under. Four kids who are the best part of me and who also get the most of me. My time is their time. When days are spent reading books about how Spidey saves his friends and the biggest mental challenge is convincing a 5 year old that the floor is indeed not lava, the time is certainly never boring. But it most definitely can feel alone sometimes. 

I am in the midst of a thriving marriage approaching our milestone 10 year anniversary, that is also longing for more date nights, trips together, uninterrupted time. But everything around us tells us ‘not right now.’ Busy calendars, unpredictable work schedules, chaotic days all seem to come first. Sometimes the best we get is a quick minute to say “good morning” and, if we are lucky, a second one to say “goodnight.” 

I am in the thick of starting my own new path of blogging and coaching, which could be a whole novel in itself on how lonely it feels. How making connections feels nearly impossible; how self-doubt creeps in as my best friend as opposed to an actual human standing beside me; how talking to myself seems to be the most engaging conversations I’m having these days. 

A season of life I am so grateful for, don’t get me wrong. I am beyond fortunate to even have these opportunities in my corner, let alone to be living them to the fullest. 

What I am saying, though, is with these things, come some trade-offs. 

My friendship circle is small. Invitations are minimal. Social outings even more rare. Is it because I am the worst person to hang out with? (don’t answer that) It’s because my priorities are simply where they are right now, and there can only be room for so much.

It’s not settling for less than you deserve. I see it more so as the reality that not everything in life can always line up in a perfect, ideal way.

It’s important to remember this in a very matter of fact way because feeling alone in the manner I am referring to, can be presented with an ugly head or as a gift. That feeling alone is directly related to something being wrong with you (which it is NOT)… or as a reminder of all the good you have and all that you are. 

And the second half of this gift? Is the matter of fact that you indeed are not alone.

Think about all the moms out there experiencing a similar path as yours. The business woman who is freshly starting her new journey, too. Quite frankly, anyone that appears to have it all, because chances are, he or she could be feeling the same silent loneliness. 

Think of me, who is openly telling you that even amongst my beyond blessed, current season of life, I too can feel lonely. 

It’s normal. And it’s ok to talk about it. 

I actually encourage you to. I know writing this is even helping me feel better.

It helps me face it. To not hide behind feelings that I know aren’t the real case (if you didn’t catch that lesson, re-read the first part of this post again).

Be aware. Be present. Feel your feelings.

Most importantly, the little time we do have to offer, don’t waste it. 

Put the phone down because newsflash, social media probably won’t help this situation (again, read that lesson above).

Make the circle you do have, even tighter. 

One of my favorite quotes out there is from Maya Angelou: Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

Read that again. Don’t just think long and hard about it, but live it. Find your people, and you may even be surprised with who stays and who goes. (Spoiler: those friends on IG? Still my friends. Because our friendship runs way deeper than a story- I know what and who matters most to me at the end of the day.)

You can’t control who likes you, who wants to hang out with you, who will support you. But you do have a choice who, where, and what to surround yourself in. The longer you hold on to people or things that don’t match your values, the more lonely you will feel. 

But if you match who and what you love, you will cherish even more what is right in front of you, and the rest will come naturally.

The loneliness? It will fade. This season does change. Priorities will shift. (And you’ll have a new ‘problem’ to deal with- sorry, I warned you about the real talk!)

I wish I had a better answer. That I had some mind blowing wisdom to make this lonely season, in whatever form that may be for you, feel easier. Be less lonely. 

All I can say is, we must be patient. Do with what we have, what we can. 

Know that this feeling, it isn’t forever. 

And while it is still here, no matter how strong it may feel at times, how you might perceive a story, or how you think your days are consumed…

You are never alone. 

Until next time❤️

PS Hannah just got home from school and said “her nose doesn’t feel good.” Back to the couch and tissues I go (and I’ll be re-reading this myself next week as to not feel so alone again…)