During my early years of having children, I can recall feeling like I needed more help with juggling—taking care of my little ones and our home. Although my mother-in-law was only a 10-minute drive away, she was preoccupied looking after my nephew and nieces. Awkwardly, I would only ask if it was really necessary—like a doctor’s appointment or the dentist. Even at church, it was difficult to ask for help—either we didn’t know certain members well enough to entrust our kids to their care or they were friends with children too and that hardly seemed fair to burden them. The first years only saw my husband and I take a few dates a year together, mainly birthdays and our anniversary.
There was also a challenge to maintain friendships after having babies and giving up employment for a new type of work—homemaking and child-rearing. I managed to meet up with a few former work colleagues on their lunch break when my daughter was a newborn, yet it wasn’t long before I realized doing such social activities was too disruptive with my baby’s napping schedule. The invitations to get-togethers became fewer and far between as those at my former office carried on with business as usual.
Meanwhile, I was growing more distanced from my pre-mama season of life. Sadly, I also lost touch, one by one, with many friends who didn’t have children themselves—my role of full-on motherhood being all-consuming.
The Bible talks in Ecclesiastes, chapter three of everything having a season, and I believe that includes certain careers, roles, friendships, geographic locations, churches, etc. So even with my failings to keep in touch with friends, family, and work colleagues, I know I was doing my best in an exceptionally challenging season.
Mama, it is okay to acknowledge feelings of sadness, grief, and loneliness in those day-in-day-out, busy years of little ones. It is perfectly fine to miss being able to date your spouse whenever you want. And sometimes, even with other mom friends around us, we can still feel isolated and a bit lonely.
The first kind thing we can do for ourselves in the motherhood season is to be gracious with our hearts and understand that other life elements in the early years phase will have to take less priority because that is how full-on raising little ones can be. There’s no point in beating ourselves up for failing to meet the expectations of our pre-baby selves. Surrender to exactly what God has for you right now—being a loving mama to your precious little ones.
For the first few years as a mother, I longed to be invited to get-togethers with other mothers and their children. And when it didn’t happen frequently, it was easy to have a pity party for myself. Over time, God shifted my heart attitude to stop feeling so lonely waiting for others to extend an invitation.
Instead, I could be a creator of community, by welcoming other mothers into my home for tea and a catch-up. So often, we might wish for others to recognize our need for connection, but I have learned there is such joy to be found when we create space and let others in. We, mamas, have a huge impact when we nurture real friendships with other mothers in such a beautiful and challenging season, all rolled into one.
You might be thinking, “But what about when there’s a lack of community and there simply aren’t many to even invite over for a hot drink, let alone people I could ask to help with some childcare or housework?”
I feel for you, mama! I think to some degree, all mothers face isolation. If done well, our jobs are to raise, nurture, and guide our sweet children—and in order to do this, we must frequently pioneer alone in our homes and circumstances.
Sometimes, isolation might be found in the late nights of catching up on folding laundry, nursing the baby, and sorting out the kitchen for the next day, or maybe it feels more like a long, repetitive season where the days all seem to blend together. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of mama isolation, believe that God is near to you.
As we admit our loneliness, God gently meets with us and gives mamas his Spirit to remind us we are never fully alone. The days and nights of meal preparation, laundry, dishes, and every detail of raising children, can all blur together—and our great God is available to meet with us through every single moment of motherhood.
Choose to remember that the season you are in currently will not last forever. You will be grown and brought into new seasons. Until then, embrace your motherhood of little ones—as it can fly by all too quickly. See any isolation as an opportunity to stretch your hands and heart open toward the Father, letting Him fill the needs you have, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct your role as mama, and having Jesus as your closest friend.