Have you ever walked into a playgroup or group of moms and immediately felt a rush of insecurities come flooding back? The room is buzzing with children laughing and moms chatting. But you don’t know anyone. You look around for a place to post up. Standing by the door a little bit longer trying to decide which direction to head. Hiding behind your equally nervous child. Acting as if she is the hesitant one when really it’s you. You feel like you are walking into the high school cafeteria on the first day of freshman year all over again. Hoping for a warm smile and invitation to join. But it never comes.
So you go and put your bag down somewhere not too far but not too close to the other moms. You hear them excitedly chatting about birthday party themes and their big family vacation. You’re feeling like you don’t quite fit in and wonder why it’s bothering you. Self-conscious and nervous and not like your usual confident self it bothers you. But as a human being, you crave connection and a sense of belonging and when you don’t feel that, you crumble.
As a stay at home turned work at home mom I’ve experienced this more times than I can count. I never liked staying home so I’ve always searched for any opportunity to socialize with my daughter. Each new playgroup or activity we attend has left me feeling like I was walking into the high school cafeteria all over again. Uncomfortable. Self-conscious. And fearing judgment from every direction.
It’s a fact though that motherhood can feel a lot like high school. You want to fit in. You want to be accepted. You want to have friends. In fact, you need friends now more than ever. Without mom friends the isolation will leave you feeling like you are trying to survive alone on a deserted island.
So what can you do when you feel that wave of old insecurities wash over you? It’s uncomfortable, I know. But with discomfort comes growth. You are not that scared freshman fearing judgment for her thick thighs, big boobs, and bad skin. Don’t let that story define you or stop you from making meaningful connections in this new chapter of your life. Before I had my daughter I was adamant I didn’t need new friends, especially not “mom friends”. I was dead wrong.
Eavesdrop on the conversations you’re hearing all around you and find a good place to jump in. If these moms are worthy of being in your tribe they will welcome your input. If they’re the “mean girls” then you don’t want them in your tribe anyways.
Taking that first step to initiate or join a conversation is the hardest and most uncomfortable part. But it can have the biggest payoff. I met one of my nearest and dearest friends by randomly initiating a conversation with her at the library. We have daughters the same age and live in the same town. It was totally out of my comfort zone but now I couldn’t imagine doing motherhood without her. If I never struck up a conversation on that cold winter day I may have missed out on meeting one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. See, discomfort leads to big payoffs.
Put yourself out there. Don’t let the old insecurities and stories take control. Motherhood changes us all and the beauty in that is that it gives us the chance to start fresh. You don’t have to lose your identity to motherhood, you have the amazing opportunity to create a new one.
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