I find myself comparing more than I want to. That comparison often turns into jealousy and feelings of deep loneliness.
I have this group of moms. Moms who I go to a women’s Bible study with once a week and sometimes see more than that on playdates. I am the outsider mom. I consider one of those women one of my best mom friends, and she invited me to this Bible study. So technically, these are all her friends and I’m trying to make them mine too. For some reason I am finding that hard. I am finding myself more and more to be the outsider mom.
You see—they all live close; I live a good distance away. Most of them go to the same church; I go to a different one. They are all stay-at-home moms; I work part time. On top of all that, they are ALL pregnant. ALL. OF. THEM. Most with their third. I have two kids and don’t plan on getting pregnant anytime soon. When they talk they have more in common with each other than with me, so they just seem to know each other better. They definitely do.
Those differences. They feel unfair. They make it seem impossible for me to be on the same level as those moms. They make those lonely feelings come to the surface and they make me want to disappear so I don’t have to deal with the “left out” feeling.
But wait. Is that those moms talking or me?
If I let myself, I can let these comparisons overtake me from letting these moms in. I can let these comparisons rule over our friendships so they stay shallow and distant. I can let these comparisons keep me blinded from what friendships these could be, from how we could lean into each other and love each other. I can let these comparisons keep me in my despair of loneliness.
In some ways, I may always feel like the outsider mom. I put that on myself. But I don’t need to let that status define my friendships or the moms who are around me. I don’t need to let that outsider mom label I put on myself stop me from reaching out and opening up.
It’s my choice.
These moms? They are pretty great. But these friendships will stay distant if I let them. It’s on me.
Instead of comparing, I need to be celebrating their friendships. Instead of jealousy I need to be looking beyond myself and to who they are and how I can be a friend to them. I need to be celebrating their pregnancies, offering help when needed, and loving them in the ways I can. I need to be offering up myself to support them.
Because that’s what friends do. And to have a friend you need to be a friend first.
So, I’m going to work on being a friend to these women I feel on the outside of. And who knows—maybe that feeling will go away; maybe it won’t. But I will know I tried it all selflessly as much as possible. It is worth taking a chance on new friends. It is worth being able to love on others. Differences don’t have to be considered bad qualities for friendship—in fact, maybe it’s good I don’t have the same due date as them (or any at all). Maybe I’m meant to be there to support and love. Maybe an outsider friend is a friend they could use.
Self pity, woe is me, selfish desires—they are all pretty unattractive qualities for friendship, let’s be honest. So, here I go. Learning to be selfless within mom friendships. Taking initiatives, opening up my home, making long drives, sending texts, saying “yes,” and loving on these women. Perhaps if I choose to focus on them instead of me, if I become a selfless friend and stop the ugliness of comparison, perhaps that sense of loneliness will slowly start to disappear. Perhaps I will be reminded that friendship is so much more than my selfish desires and my need for inclusion. Instead, friendship is about the sweetness of caring for another, letting them know they are truly loved.