5 Quick Questions About Connection

It’s time for a new edition of 5 Quick Questions!

This is my opportunity to get to know you better, and it’s one of the best things we do here because it turns out you are very good at truth-telling, friends. To those of you who used the last few volumes to delurk, it’s wonderful to meet you! And to those of you who’ve been around a while, mucking about in this space and putting your feet on the furniture? You’re always rad. Thank you.

As you may know, 5 Quick Questions can be anything from the EVER IMPORTANT What Is Your Family Booger Rule? to the more serious (and my absolute favorite because you were so deeply honest) Questions About Faith.

Today, though, I want to ask you about Personal Connection because your responses to the story of Melanie’s 16th Birthday broke my heart wide open and made me feel humbled and sad and strong and weak because you so willingly gave us pieces of your hearts to hold. I treasure that gift. I do. And I ache with you. So many of us are lonely. And wounded. And have received the message that we’re not valuable or worthy of friendship. Which is a bullshit message, but still painful… and sometimes we believe it even though it’s not true.

I ended that story by saying Life Gets Better. And We Find Our Tribe After Too Much Searching. And We Discover We Are, After All, Deeply Worthy of Love, and Worthy of Celebration, and Worthy of People Who Show Up. 

I believe every one of those things. To my bones.

But sometimes it takes too long, doesn’t it? And it’s too much work. And it’s too much of us showing up and putting ourselves out there and feeling hurt when our efforts aren’t returned the way we want them to be.

Several of you asked important questions after that story. Questions filled with longing, like, “But where and how do you gather a tribe? It can be so very hard,” and “Where is that damn Village, anyway? I’ve been lost in this jungle FOREVER  

I wanted to answer you IMMEDIATELY with SOLUTIONS, because I’m a Fix It girl at heart, but I’ve lived long enough now to know there isn’t a quick fix to feeling lonely or feeling lost. It’s a process. A climb. A ladder with many rungs. A muddy path through a jungle. Or just Jungle and a machete to carve our own way.  

 

The problem with Tribes is they aren’t static. Tribes are evolutionary. They ebb and flow as people come and go, emotionally and geographically, and we don’t usually know who’s going to stick around until they’ve stuck, you know? And sometimes the same people stick and unstick and stick again, because tribes are made out of humans, and humans, as we all know, are just awful. And awesome. Horrible. And heroic. Steady. And unstable. Which makes seeking the Village so very risky. 

The good news is, we all come to the Village weary and wounded. And I know – that sounds like the bad news, but I swear it’s not. The good news is, we all come to the Village weary and wounded, which means there’s a tribe full of people who know how to lay down in the mud with us. How to look at the sky and just breathe for a while. How to offer a hand up when we’re ready to stand. How to let us heal slowly. 

Which is why I’m coming to all of you today with 5 Quick Questions about Personal Connection. Because we are wiser together than I am alone, and this question of community needs all the wisdom we can muster, and our stories, too.

And so, without further ado, here are:

ID-100400665 Quick Questions about Personal Connection and Finding the Elusive Village

  1. When in life were you the loneliest?
  2. Do you have a Village? Have you found a Tribe?
  3. If so, who are they, and WHERE, EXACTLY – with GPS precision instructions, people! – did you find them?
  4. If you could give any comfort to our friends here who are lonely, what would you say?
  5. If you could give any advice to our friends here on how to find the Village – how to seek out your tribe – what would you offer?

Here are my answers:

  1. You can find my answers here and here. Both times upon becoming a mama. And I was pretty lonely when Greg and I first got married, too. Change is hard on the heart. Go figure.
  2. Yes.
  3. Precisely, I’ve found my tribe in my family, my church, my town, and here online with you. My parents are excellent tribe builders. My brother, my cousins, my sister-in-law — all of us have done a huge amount of hard work to choose each other, over and over again. Also, my church – North Valley Friends Church – has had a huge impact on my tribe. Our little town in Newberg, Oregon, has been an amazing place to grow our family. And THIS SPACE HERE has changed my life immeasurably because you are the world’s best at letting me and each other be REAL. 
  4. I would tell you that even though you’re lonely, you’re not alone. I would tell you there’s someone out there who needs you to be part of her tribe as much as you need her to be part of yours. I would tell you there are seasons of life that are hard. I would tell you there’s light, not just at the end of the tunnel, but along the way, and I would tell you there are people here to hold your hands in the dark until you can see the dawn coming.
  5. I know this song is about falling in love and wasn’t intended necessarily for friendship, but I love the song Try, by Pink. I think it speaks so beautifully to the risks, the reality and the richness of relationship.

    Ever worry that it might be ruined
    And does it make you wanna cry?
    When you’re out there doing what you’re doing
    Are you just getting by?
    Tell me are you just getting by, by, by?

    Where there is desire
    There is gonna be a flame
    Where there is a flame
    Someone’s bound to get burned
    But just because it burns
    Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
    You’ve gotta get up and try, and try, and try
    Gotta get up and try, and try, and try

OK – your turn. 5 Quick Questions, friends, because I only have a small piece of the puzzle, and we need your piece, too.

 

Open Hand With Glove image credit Ambro via freedigitalimages.net

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
90 comments
  1. 1. I can’t pinpoint an exact time, but I have felt lonely in my marriage when we experience some hard times. I also experienced loneliness growing up because I felt so very different from my friends and family because I had faith in God, and very few others I knew did.

    2. I had a tribe at my church, and it was AMAZING and the best community I’d ever experienced, but then our greater church closed our little church plant and broke my heart (http://jywatkins.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/why-so-sad/). We’re trying with great desperation to keep together our friends from that experience, but it’s hard when lives are no longer connected by those scheduled Sunday mornings. I am hopeful we’ll find it again though.

    3. We found our tribe at a small satellite church campus started by our larger church. It was small and set up in a school so it took a lot of volunteer hours and dedication to make the Sunday services happen.

    4. I would say loneliness comes and goes. So the loneliness you feel now is not permanent. Step out and be brave and vulnerable and others will see that and be drawn to it.

    5. Purpose and working alongside each other– that makes a great community, that builds a tribe. Friends just happen quicker when you are committed to making something happen together.

  2. 1. When was I most lonely? When I knew my marriage was dying, but couldn’t talk about it. People will call you a liar rather than believe “that nice guy” is abusive.
    2.I HAVE HAD a tribe, but they keep falling apart. I had LLL, but our kids grew up. I had other homeschool moms/families, but the kids grew up. The closest people in my life have moved away/moved on and I mostly only keep in touch on FB.
    3. Where did I find members of my tribe, when I did? LLL meetings, homeschool meetings, classes, church.
    4. What to tell other lonely tribes-people? It seems to me that there is a natural turn-over so that in any given 10-year stretch 90% of the people in your tribe will be completely new. Not ideal, but don’t give up. Some come back.
    5.Don’t give up. Keep trying. Never under-value yourself. Whatever it is that you are is JUST what someone else needs in their life; even if that is someone who needs to lean on them.

  3. 1. My husband’s first semester after we got married. I was newly pregnant and exhausted and sick and I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t have energy for making friends and suddenly he was really busy and I was home alone feeling all that by myself and worrying a lot because the jobs we had found didn’t work out and BABY and WHAT DO WE DO????
    2. My husband, my mom, my mother in law (seriously, she’s awesome!!), my siblings, and a few select friends. Most of them live far away or are busy, and I still get lonely sometimes, but I know I am loved and I have people who can help in a crisis (like this whole last month with the epic strep and then the allergic reaction to the amoxycillin….)
    3. I was born into my family. I found the rest at church, including my husband, or through homeschool groups.
    4. It doesn’t have to last forever. And even the best, happiest, most perfectest people feel lonely occasionally so it doesn’t mean that there’s something horribly wrong with you.
    5. Don’t change what’s best about you to fit in. But do look at changing the things that might be good to change. Push yourself outside your box a bit. Strike up a conversation with someone you wouldn’t normally talk to. Be a little kinder, a little sweeter, a little gentler. Smile. I know it can be tough when you’re feeling overwhelmed and lonely. But people are more attracted to a smile.

  4. 1. I think it was during the middle of my agrology school, at some 20 years old. My best friend had moved away; I had some sort-of friends at school and at the stables but I rarely visited them, or they me, and I never confided in them. I did have an online community, which helped, but I realized at some point that for at least a year, practically the only times I physically touched someone was to shake the hands of people who came to ride at the stable where I was working. Finns often aren’t huggers. But that was scary, when I thought about it, and made me feel really isolated.
    2. Yes, I think so. I found my new love of a hobby, climbing, and met some weird and wonderful and sarcastic people through that. I have a group of good friends now. (I’ve even learned to hug!) And yet… I think this comes from being picked on at school, and being so lonely many times in my life, but I still find it hard to trust that the people will stick with me. Or really, truly want to see me instead of being somewhere else. I’m afraid that I’ll say an arrogant, or selfish, or mean thing by accident one too many times (because sometimes I just CAN’T with social situations), or maybe I’m too quiet and withdrawn instead, and they won’t want to see me anymore. I haven’t told my fears to anyone except my wife because I’m afraid it would sound like asking for pity or something. I feel like I’m an extrovert who’s afraid of people.
    3. Climbers, mostly in Helsinki, Finland. We are a group who’s more interested in good climbing snacks and wine than beating the next grade. And we welcome weird people.
    4. Some people really are bad at keeping in touch. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to see you. I’m always so happy when someone calls me! But I’m sometimes afraid to call people, fearing they probably have better things to do (see question 2). Also, hard as it is, you sometimes have to accept that friends can weave into and out of your life. It doesn’t stop at school age. People evolve, interests change, all though your life.
    5. Try meeting people through a hobby. You can even try to start a new one. Or if that’s not possible, there are online forums for many kinds of interests. I know that’s not quite the same as RL-friends, but they can help a lot. Even someone living halfway across the globe, who you never might have met otherwise.

  5. 1. It is hard to choose between the time my sister’s baby died in childbirth a few years after I had lost our first child at 16 weeks. The horror and gaping abyss that comes from losing children is a very lonely place, especially because it is hard to believe God is there with you. It could also be 3 years ago when my husband and I moved with our then 2 year old son to a new city because my husband got a job and I decided to stay home full time with my son. No job, no friends, new everything, all my time home alone with a toddler. It was a bad place for me and I was really bad at admitting that it was hard and that I was lonely.

    2. Yes I have a tribe and thank God for them. They are my lifeline.

    3. It is comprised of people from all the places I have lived (6 cities in my 12 year marriage). They are the ones who have loved me and cared for me from thousands of miles away and sometimes they fail me and sometimes I fail them but we have been through the fire together and so all has been burned away but Grace in our relationship.

    4. I don’t know that there is any good advice for loneliness except to look it in the face and call it what it is. Then ask for help wherever you can. Counseling, friends, family, neighbors, online communities like this one. Make sure the loudest voices you let in are speaking words of life and encouragement.

    5. I would say the most important part of becoming part of a tribe for me is making myself vulnerable and being willing to ask for help. I spent a lot of my life telling myself that my problems were no big deal, and pull yourself up by the bootstraps and stop complaining, and just try to be happy…I wish I had spent more time admitting how lonely and dissatisfied I was with my life. Because that was the beginning of feeling empowered to ask for help and to make changes that could connect me back to LIFE.

    Thanks Beth for being a voice of love and encouragement to so many and for inviting us to be part of your tribe. It is a privilege and a great joy.

  6. 1. The time I was the loneliest was when I moved to Boston for grad school. I had total culture shock and I’d never been homesick before. I thought I would love it there, but I hated it and I cried every day for six months. I wrestled with the decision to quit or stay, but I found a boyfriend, stayed, and then hightailed it back to my people on the West Coast after I received my degree.

    2. I have two tribes!

    3. The first time I found my people was when I left Pocatello, Idaho, and came to McMinnville for college. All of a sudden there were liberals who drank coffee and were into all sorts of weird things I’d never heard of. It was heaven! Many of those people became the friends I still spend time with today, 14 years later.

    My other tribe is a group of people I sing with in an organization called Blueprint Arts. You can find them at http://www.blueprintarts.com or at the Holladay Park Church at NE 21st and NE Tillamook in Portland on Wednesday evenings. 🙂

    4. For people who are lonely, I would give the old adage, “To have a friend, be a friend.” I know it’s hard to make friends with people outside of school and work, and it seems that new friends become sparser the older I get (I’m 32). However, I’ve always found that a smile and an inane comment (nice weather today, I like your shoes, etc) can open the door to a conversation that can open the door to something more. I know not everyone is an outgoing extrovert: if you’re an introvert, look for an extrovert and they’ll take over the conversation and you can get a new friend without even trying! 🙂

    5. My advice on how to find your village or tribe is to look for a group that does something you’re passionate about. My passion is music, and my choir has been so rewarding, both because we get to exercise our creative sides, and because they are a hilarious, sarcastic, caring, awesome group of people I love spending time with each week. When you seek out others who like to do the same things you do, you’ll find your community.

  7. 1. The loneliest time of my life was my senior year in high school. The kids that had been my friends since junior high all decided they didn’t like me anymore. I have a genius IQ but didn’t know it back then (found out in college when one of my favorite profs suggested I join Mensa and I did), consequently I rarely had to study for tests and got all A’s without really trying. They struggled through the classes at the private school that my Dad worked three jobs to be able to afford the tuition for my brother and I so we could have a better education than what was available in our local public schools. They were from wealthy families and I was from the wrong side of the tracks. They would have study group parties before mid-term and final exams and didn’t invite me. They went out for ice cream or pizza after football games and never told me where they were going. (We lived in a very large city so it was easy to “lose” me when they didn’t want me to be included.) My senior year they had a guy who had been in our class up until 10th grade but had transferred to another school after that, invite me to a party after the Homecoming football game. I had had a crush on this guy when he was in our class and was thrilled to be his date for the party. After a little while at the party he invited me to take a walk around the lake where the party was being held. We held hands and kissed a couple times before going back to the party. The next day at school the other kids who had been at the party started spreading rumors that I had been more “intimate” with him than what really happened. I should have realized that this same bunch of kids had done the same thing to another girl in our class the year before (she ended being our class valedictorian). But I was so devastated by their talk that I couldn’t see anything else. We were allowed 30 days of excused absences per school year and I took every.single.one of them. I wouldn’t tell my parents why I was so miserable at school, but they knew it was bad if their daughter who had ALWAYS loved school so much all of a sudden didn’t want to go to school anymore. So they wrote excuse note after note for me. Finally when the 30 days were full up I would go to school in the mornings just long enough to get through attendance and then I’d leave and go home. My grades suffered to the point where they didn’t think I was going to graduate. That really frightened me – the thought that I’d have to spend one more year in that school! So I finally gathered my courage enough to get through the rest of the school year. I don’t know that I have ever felt as much relief as I did the day I got my diploma and could shake the dust of that experience out of my shoes!

    2.I don’t believe I have a village. I’m pretty much a loner and actually quite content that way. I would say my tribe is my immediate family – my husband and our three adult children.

    3. I have known my husband literally all my life. His mother was pregnant with him at my parents wedding. We lived thousands of miles away from each other when we were growing up, but our families would get together for vacations and other special occasions. It never mattered how long it had been since the last time we were together, we always just picked up our friendship like there had been no separation time.
    I gave birth to my children. =)

    4. I’m not real good at giving advice to people who are lonely because I’m not a “people” person. I can go without human company for weeks on end without missing it. I’d make a great hermit!

    5. My suggestion for finding your Village/Tribe is to do things you like to do. Join a club or take classes that work within your interests. You will meet people who share those interests in those groups. Talk to people and get to know them and slowly you will build a group of like-minded friends.

  8. When in life were you the loneliest?
    I had a 5 year old in a new school, a new job, a new house, and a new neighborhood. Everyone else seemed to know eachother and have playdates adfter school and I was REALLY DEPRESSED….
    Do you have a Village? Have you found a Tribe?
    I’m Jewish, member of the original Tribe!
    If so, who are they, and WHERE, EXACTLY – with GPS precision instructions, people! – did you find them?
    Who are my tribe – fellow educators, my daughter’s friends’ parents, synagogue members. Specifically, we have a group of families that meets once a month at one of our houses for dinner with all 5 families and 15 kids. One of the 5 mamas organized this years ago. She puts out a list of who is hosting at the beginning of each school year, and then we all just show up at the right house. Dinner can be a big pot of soup, or pizza, or burgers on the grill. Highlight of my month! Also, a lot of those same mamas, plus more, are members of my bookclub. And, most important, my hubby!
    If you could give any comfort to our friends here who are lonely, what would you say?
    You aren’t alone. When I was the most lonely, I was isolating myself. When I was forced to reach out (thru medical intervention!) I found out there was already a village there waiting for me.
    If you could give any advice to our friends here on how to find the Village – how to seek out your tribe – what would you offer?
    Join stuff! a bookclub, a yoga class, a bible study group, PTA, a pub trivia night team, whatever…finding friends is a lot like dating: you have to put yourself out there. Also, look for those other moms standing to the side at the soccer game or playground…they’re looking for their Tribe too

    1. Thank you for your story, That Mama! Like you, I discovered my depression required medical intervention and, after receiving treatment, I was able to seek out my Tribe. Before medical intervention, I simply didn’t have the capacity to do so.

  9. This mama of 5 has learned a few things since I started out on this mom journey!

    1. When I became a mom I figured my village was going to be the older moms in my circle (church). I was the first ‘younger’ mom so my friends were still childless. I expected to jump right in feet first and network with the more experienced moms. I was so so wrong. I did jump right in. Baby play dates, nursery conversations at church, etc…BUT I was so different than the other moms around me. I was breastfeeding. They didn’t. I was not circumcising and they did. I was very out spoken about any and everything. They were all extremely private. While I was building my network I was actually alienating those moms. I was the tolerated mom. I had no problems with the way THEY were doing things. I was just different. They had had problems with the fact that I was doing everything different. They felt judged and that eventually caused them to judge me. I found myself on the outside of the very group I hoped to be my friends. I became defensive of ‘my way’ of doing things and further pushed them away in my hurt. That was my loneliest time. Sometime in between my first and second child I found myself pretty much alone, defensive, alienated, and hurt.

    2. I have found my people. Funny but it is the younger moms. The ones that started their mom journey after me.

    3. My village and my people slowly formed at the end of my hurt and up until now 5 kids later. My mother was always in my corner she and my two sisters are my best friends. My two sisters have since had children and they are my people. They do not always see things the way I do but they listen and are open to the exchange of ideas without judgement. I have a few friends who have had children after me. And like my sisters they also listen and can have open conversations without judgement or hurt. I have learned to listen more and be sensitive to other’s perspective and this change in me has helped me to keep my village. We are all different. The women in my village have different stories but we are united by the fact that we want what’s best for our children. We know that what is best for one mom may not be best for another and we are willing to extend grace for our differences.

    4. For those who are lonely: I understand. Even if it feels like you have NO ONE like you they are there. It takes time to find those people. I would caution a mother to approach potential friends with an open mind and a willingness to embrace differences. We are guilty of alienating each other when we judge or close our minds.

    5. For me it started with my family but church is a good place to find a village. If you have certain interests find a group in your area that meets a few times a month and step out and go. You never no. They might be nuts or there might be a forever friend there who is as lonely as you.

    1. Wow – thank you for sharing this, Stephanie – particularly how the alienation and judgement happened with other moms. Of course, it would’ve been nice if they’d been confident and open enough to accept that you did things differently without feeling judged, but it’s AMAZINGLY wise and self-aware to see both your and their roles in that. I love that you found your village and that your hurt has ebbed… and especially that you’ve found a place where grace is extended for differences. Love.

      1. I do not feel wise only tired when I think back to that difficult time. I want to just say that I love your blog. I found it a couple of months ago and your real-ness keeps me coming back. I don’t comment on blogs usually but on yours I do.

  10. 1. My loneliest time was, ironically, what we expected to be one of the happiest. In January my daughter joined our family as an almost 2.5 year old, after a year of working toward that goal. She came here as a foster child, although everyone knew that the goal was adoption. (Finalization next month, hooray!) Going from being a housewife with no children, who can do whatever she wants at any time, to the parent of a confused and demanding toddler was very difficult. I felt stifled, dare I say mentally bored, and so isolated & stuck. I felt I had no one that I could talk to about my feelings and frustrations because everyone expected that we would be in bliss now that the goal we had been working toward had arrived. People wanted to hear how happy we were, they wanted a happy ending, and in the meantime I was just waiting for nap time so I could have a little blessed quiet. The adjustment was so hard, and I was ASHAMED.I felt like an imposter, like I was just faking being a parent because I hadn’t given birth and wasn’t in bliss. I felt like I was failing as a parent, as a wife, as a friend and daughter. It was a dark valley.
    2. Yes, but I am always looking for people to join us!
    3. I have gradually found my Village and Tribe. It was close to home. It began with breaking down and admitting to my own husband how terrible I felt. It was so hard, because I didn’t want him to think less of me. He was so supportive, so ready to find ways to get me more time to myself and with my friends. I admitted to my closest girlfriends (all childless, incidentally) how I was feeling. They have been supportive and encouraging. I enrolled my daughter in Kindercare so that she could meet other children and learn without me feeling like all the pressure to teach her was on me. It also gives me a few hours to myself three days a week. I am beginning to meet other parents through Kindercare, and gradually feeling like less of an imposter. With all of this acceptance, I also eventually admitted that with the stress of maintaining our foster care license (home inspections, training hours) and trying to keep the adoption moving forward (paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, social workers, constant follow-up to be sure social workers were doing their jobs, interstate regulations, family pressures, WAITING) and building a new house (yes we are insane) and parenting, my long-standing problems with anxiety were becoming more of a capital P Problem. I was sleeping less and less, became hyper-vigilant and very strict, had impossible expectations, and no patience. I broke down one day, and then made an appointment with my doctor. With the help of some medication, I am feeling so much better.
    4. You are not alone. It may feel it, it may seem it, but somewhere in this world, there is another person who totally understands what you are going through. There’s another person out there who has felt that way, who thinks if they sing the ABC’s one more time their brain will melt, or who will snap if they hear one more whine. You are NOT the first person to feel the way you do. You will NOT be the last. I found immense comfort in realizing I was not the only person who didn’t think that parenting was totally super fun and easy all the time. Your tribe might be online, instead of in your town.
    5. Swallow your pride. I cut myself off from the comfort my husband could offer because I didn’t want to admit I was struggling. I was afraid to be humbled, afraid to be seen as less than perfect, terrified of being judged and found lacking. It was the same with my friends. Finding honesty in myself and in blogs like this one has helped me. I feel that Beth is part of my tribe, even though this is my first de-lurk, because she gets it. She gets that life can be messy and embarrassing and imperfect and hard but still totally worthwhile and beautiful. That was a reminder I needed.

    1. So, SO much of this story mirrors my own, Rachel. Thanks for sharing.

    2. This mama doesn’t think parenting is super fun or easy! I used to have it together. I was the mom who did extra crafts and would read through 17+ (not an exaggeration) books at a time. then I had a high maintenance child….followed by a set of twins and suddenly life wasn’t as fun or easy any more. I felt guilty for that until I realized that I don’t have to LIKE everything about my life and by God’s grace I’m a good mom despite of my short comings.

  11. 1) We had a 2nd trimester miscarriage after ODD. Then we had YDS. It was after YDS that I felt alone. Still grieving the baby I lost. Lost in the depths of PPD. Not being able to mother 2 kids. I withdrew from friends, family and my husband.
    2) Yes, I have a village.
    3) I met these wonderful friends through our spouses and through other friends. They live 30 mins from me. Which is close, yes, but also far. I am often the planner and coordinator. I show up when they invite.
    4) Put yourself first. If you are depressed see a doctor and/or counselor. Tell someone you are lonely. If you’d rather work than stay at home – find a day care and get a job.
    5) Connect with ANYONE regardless if you think they are the “right” one. Meet with people who are available the same time. Or the same place. Be the planner if you have to. When someone invites you – go. Get a sitter, show up in PJs, or show up an hour late, do whatever it takes to just show up. If you never show up for some excuse, you’ll stop getting invites.

    1. Yes, THIS –> “Put yourself first. If you are depressed see a doctor and/or counselor. Tell someone you are lonely.”

  12. 1) The loneliest time in my life was definitely when I was a stay at home mom with three kids under the age of 4. No other adult interaction for such long stretches I thought after a while, even if I could hold up my end of a conversation about world events, it would only come out in simplistic baby talk.
    2) Yes.
    3) When my kids went to school I was able to meet and interact with a whole new group of women, his classmates moms, that opened the door to several great friendships. I worked with the PTA on many projects and events that gave lots of time to get to know other women. Community Center drop in play spaces were good for at least talking with other mothers so I knew I wasn’t alone. But for me the best thing was going back to work. I love my kids but I needed to be around adults to build up the tribe. Stay at home moms are isolated while their kids are little. Too hard to pack them all up with all their various accoutrements and get out into the world. One’s hungry, one needs a nap at this time or another, one’s teething, it’s exhausting and the house is a mess and the laundry needs to be done anyway so there’s too much to do at home and frankly I just wanted a nap more than anything anyway. Work was tiring but it gave me self-worth and a whole new set of friends. Friends who also had kids, of various ages, and who knew what I was going through. The tribe.
    4) Lots of people feel like they’ve lost those close friendships they had when they were younger but it’s not always so. We just get busy with our own lives. Our spouse, our kids, our job all take up so many of our waking hours we lose touch with people we were close too even if they are doing the same things (marriage and kids). We’re not 22 and single hanging out in clubs with a big group of friends anymore. We’re busy. When we get home we’re tired. On weekends the kids have soccer or baseball. The free time shrinks. Staying close with even good friends takes work. Force yourself to make time for even just coffee or a walk on a trail. Call, even when you’re tired just to say hello. Also remember, it’s not that your friends don’t like you anymore – they’re just as busy as you! They wish you could stay close too. They just don’t have any time either. Poor things.
    5) I wish I had just invited all my kids friends over all the time. Some of the best friends I met were when I was dropping off or picking up my kid from someones house and we just started chatting. Join the PTA. Put your kid in sports. These are the places you’ll meet many parents going through the same stages as you at the same time. These people are your villiage. Invite the mom along with little Timmy on the play date, give her a cup of joe and chat while they play. And always know it really does get easier as we go through this life. It really does.

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