I recently read a post from Motherhood and More (one of my favorite blogs) called It Takes a Village to Raise a Mother and this post resonated with me so much. I cried. And I am not one to cry easily. But, it brought up so many emotions from my past, and made my heart full in gratitude to the women who reached out to me during my initiation period to motherhood. I wrote about my high dive into motherhood and its trials originally on August 1, 2012 (more than 2 years ago) and am sharing it for the first time with everyone today.Growing up I loved being with people and definitely considered myself a “people-person.” I wasn’t happy if I was alone for too long. I needed to be with people to be happy. I love talking, I love leading and helping and learning about others. I had a small to medium sized group of friends I associated with in high school and then in college. I made friends fairly easily. I was a confident person, comfortable in my own skin.
But as I got married and then had children, my associations with groups of people became smaller and smaller. I was still in college while married and then while pregnant, which served my need for human interaction fairly well as I was surrounded by awesome people in my classes and at work. But, shortly after graduation and the birth of our twin daughters, we moved across the country, from Utah to Indiana. After only two months of living with my in-laws in Indiana, my husband finally landed a job and we moved to an hour away to Indianapolis where we knew no one.
We had one car and my husband’s commute was about 25 minutes and he left early in the mornings, and came home in the late afternoon. And while he worked, I was a stay-at-home mom and I was alone, with two newborns, who needed me constantly. My life was completely different than I had ever known it to be – I was no longer in school; I didn’t have a job; I was a brand new mom to TWO babies; I was “trapped” at home with nowhere and no means of going anywhere (I was used to walking everywhere in college but now lived in a place that apparently didn’t believe in sidewalks or crosswalks); and had no friends or family nearby.
I desperately wanted friends. My only social interaction was with people at Church. Thank the heavens for Church. There were several people that reached out to us at church, inviting me to attend a monthly book club, and occasionally go out for a lady’s night. There was another family that picked me, my kids, and all of our laundry up every week so that I could use her washer and dryer since we still hadn’t acquired one for our new apartment (oh, I forgot to mention we were extremely poor with several thousands in credit card debt). People supplied us with things for our apartment – most of our furniture, a dryer, and some kids clothes. We loved and appreciated the help we received, but never felt like we made everlasting friendships with the people there, despite how much we loved them. We will never forget those who we spent so much time with and who often helped us so much.
After a year of living in that apartment, we decided that we had to move closer to my husband’s work. Twenty-five minutes of driving each way was guzzling gas in our 1999 Chevy Tahoe. So we moved, leaving that Church congregation behind, joining a new one, and absolutely love it. There are many more “young” people in our ward who are in similar situations as we are. Our kids have more playmates, and we often feel more social.
But sometimes, we still feel like an island, even though no man is (or should be) an island (Full quote “No Man is an Island” HERE).
This past Monday was my birthday. My husband was gone most of the day as he is now attending graduate school, second summer block, and the classes and workload are intense. But, after he got home we went out on a fantastic date and saw the new Batman movie which proved awesome.
While I know I have the unfortunate curse of a summer birthday and they are often forgotten, my sister was the ONLY person to call me on my birthday to wish me a happy birthday. Not my parents. Not my in-laws. Not any of my other eight siblings. And less than 15% of my Facebook friends wished me a happy birthday on my wall. But, my parents and in-laws did send me a card in the mail along with one friend from college, and I did have a joint Birthday party two weekends ago with friends, I guess my Birthday just reminded me that I indeed only have two-best friends.
My husband is my bestest best friend, and that’s why I married him! He’s awesome and I’ve been missing him terribly this summer as he’s often been gone for 10-12 hour days to study. My only other best friend is my sister Brittany. There a few others that are pretty darn close to that title, but none of them actually live near me and we don’t talk often enough.
Even though I see people often with Church on Sundays, playgroup on Tuesdays, and occasional other get-togethers, I still feel like an island. I guess it all just feels a little fake, a little forced. I have to get along with these people because they are my “brother and sisters in Christ.” Because I will continue to see them regularly. But, the truth of the matter is that we may not be “best friend’ material no matter how often we spend time together.
[Tweet “Sometimes all a mother really needs is a best friend.”]
My sincerest desire is to have that female best friend, the one I can call just to chat with; the one that I have no problems sharing personal experiences with and who share their right back; the best friend that cares deeply about me; who laughs hysterically with me; and who loves me for me, and not because our kids are playmates.
While there is one family in our ward that my husband and I greatly enjoy spending time with, and feel like they are true friends, they aren’t always there, as we both have our own families and things going on (and we still only have one car!). So, we are often left feeling alone, isolated, floating along as our own little family unit, left to the whiles of the sea, just the four of us.
I still spend most of my days home alone with my twins, now two years old. I’m still getting used to motherhood and the demands of raising twins. We’re still poor. We still only have one vehicle. We’re still far away from family. And I sometimes feel like I don’t know who I am as a person, an individual, as I am separated from what I often believed to be my core identity – being a People Person. But I am not around people very often. And most times when I am around other adults, many children are present too. We don’t have the chance to have those intimate, personal conversations that help you to foster true, deep, meaningful, and fulfilling relationships and friendships. Those develop with quality time, not quantity time, which is lousy for me as my primary love language is quality time.
While I love being a mother and I love my super awesome cute and funny twin toddlers, and my wonderful husband, we are often on our own to defeat life’s hurdles as we are on our own island out at sea.
And that is why we need the Savior alive and active in our lives again. We need another person (a super-duper awesome one!) on our team. We need Jesus Christ guiding us to a village. We need to feel His presence and His love. We need to feel the fire in our bosom to do his will more fully and to give back and serve others with 100% of ourselves and not just our presence. Because if we have Him in our lives, we will not feel like an island. We will more readily recognize and accept His blessings in our lives. We will get past our “woe-is-me” attitude and start thinking more about doing than waiting for things to change. And trust me, we definitely need this change in our lives and in our home. We have such a lousy attitude often about our situation and how hard things seem to be for us. But, I think as we come unto Jesus more, we will forget ourselves more. We will get over ourselves. May God bless that this is true and that we can have it again! Because I don’t want anyone to feel like an island.
Has Jesus helped you to feel more like you live in a village than an island?
Lauren Tamm says
I hear exactly what you are saying! It is really hard to make friends sometimes, and then after you meet someone it takes a lot of time to grow a friendship. Add in kids and everyday life and it’s hard to make time for a girlfriend. I really love a friend that can just integrate into my every day life. Pop on over for dinner, meet me for a walk, or just chat on the phone for a few minutes. My favorite way is really just to invite people over for a meal or a snack. The kids play and I can chat with a friend. Totally relate to this post. Thanks so much for sharing and being vulnerable.
Wow- Katelyn. Thank you for sharing this! I definitely feel like an island since becoming a stay at home mama 3 years ago (3 year old and 1 year old boys). While they are the greatest blessings in my life, along with my husband- I still feel like I am in “survival mode” and my outgoing, attractive self- seems like is too far in the past. Honestly, I feel socially awkward at times now, when I do get around a group of adults. We are also getting ready to move 18 hours away from any family that we have- into a small apartment- and only will have one car. We know it is God’s plan for us- but that still doesn’t make it easy. Back to your post- Thankfully we have a Savior and someone we can turn to. Thank you so much for sharing and know that you are not alone. 🙂
Brittany Bullen says
You know, it’s funny. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes wish play group was every day, all day! I kinda wish we lived in a different kind of society where all the moms just worked together to raise the kids! But, that said, I really do enjoy my time at home with the kids… ir’s really true what they say, motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever love!
You can do it! If nothing else, you have a great big community of bloggers who loves you, and that community grows every day!
Annie Reneau says
Aw, I love this! Thanks for sharing my post and for your kind words about my blog. I’m so thankful for both my online mothering community as well as my support system in person. It is so easy to feel like an island. I try to reach out to new moms to bring them into this circle because it is SO important.
Katelyn Fagan says
Thanks for stopping by and commenting Annie! I like to think that my experiences will help me reach out to others as many have done to me. It IS really important, just like your article said!
I live close to family and have still felt like an island being a busy mom. I think we can all relate to this post in one way or another. I know that because of my introverted tendencies I may be harder to approach, but we all need one another. And, sometimes it is just too hard to ask. Thanks for a great post! Sharing.
Heidi @ One Creative Mommy says
So true, Katelyn. I think that’s why a lot of us blog. It feels like people know we exist! Have you tried finding a morning or evening walking/running buddy? I can’t do that right now, but when I was running with a friend, it made a huge difference! I was taking care of me (which we don’t do enough) while getting to visit. Definitely a win-win. (You might be surprised how quickly a friendship will grow with a morning visit while walking. Even if it’s not someone in your age bracket.)
Ama B.K says
Wow, this really touched me. Everything you wrote about yourself being a peoples person, I can relate to that.
Before getting married and having kids I had a full life with a close circuit of family and friends, attending college, worked and travelled. I did expect some of these things to go once I got married but I did not expect the loss of identity.
I am slowly working on getting myself back and have realised the loss of identity has been no ones fault but my own. I now see motherhood and being a SAHM as a blessing, because I get to create a better version of me. A mature version of me, a more organized version of me, a realistic version of me. I get to reflect on who I was and who I want to be (because motherhood changes you) and working towards becoming that woman.
So thank you for writing this post, it has really motivated me to stop feeling sorry for myself and make the best out of what I have with God’s help.
Katelyn Fagan says
I am so glad I could bless you in that way! I really understand and wish you the best in finding who you are as a person, while in these new roles. God bless!