Not a day goes by that I don't check my email, scroll through Facebook, and check the latest photos via Instagram. I like to stay up-to-date and somewhat connected to those I love. It's funny when I think back to my first email account - from Juno.com - and remember fighting over how long the phone line would be tied up. Now we literally have everything at our fingertips. Instant oatmeal, instant coffee, texting, Facetime, a ready-in-five-minutes dinner, it's all offered up to us with the touch and the swipe of a finger. No doubt, we should be completely content, right? But did you know that even with all the technology and instantaneous apps and gadgets, today's generation is apparently the loneliest one ever? I believe it, I really do. And motherhood made me see it.
At the end of a long day full of laundry, cleaning crumbs and spit up, baths, stories, kissing boo-boo's, breaking up toddler and baby spats, and teaching the most basic things (please don't spit on the couch, you always chew up your food before trying to swallow, you aren't supposed to change sisters' diaper, we only go outside with clothes on!), I often wind down by going through all the social media. It makes me feel like I'm involved in the lives of my family and friends. Seeing comments on my posts makes me feel like they want to be involved in MY life. In that moment, we are ever so close....right? Nah, no. Not really. Social media makes us feel connected but in truth, it actually leaves us really lonely. See the problem is, we are surface people. We hide behind cropped pictures, edited comments, and a very helpful spell check (although auto correct gives me fits on a daily basis!) You may think you know me by my Facebook posts and my Instagram pictures and from all my writings on this blog and previous ones. But the truth is, you see what I let you see. You know what I have given you permission to know. And the sad truth is that that is the very reason why we get lonely. We are connecting, instead of forming real relationships.
After two and a half years of motherhood, I can say with certainty that it has been the most joyous, exhausting, fun, and rewarding, and yet loneliest times of my life. It's not as easy as you think and it's not always so simple to "go out with the girls" or have a date night with your husband. I mean when you leave your child(ren), you have to make sure the babysitter knows the routine and what to expect. Selah goes to bed at 7:30, Nathan at 8:00. Nathan likes stories beforehand, and Selah always wants her bottle and her paci. If Selah cries for no apparent reason, make sure she is clean because she can't stand to be in a soiled diaper. Nathan hates vegetables, but if you use chocolate wisely, you can get him to eat. If you go out with the child(ren), you have to be prepared. Naptime is at ___, so that leaves me X-amount of time go here, here, and here. Do I have enough diapers? Is the wipes container full? Extra set of clothes for the baby. Bottle. Sippy cup. Snacks. Will we be gone during lunch? If you are going to someone else's house or meeting friends for dinner and you have the kids with you, you might tend to worry about 2-year-old tantrums, baby exhaustion, and for all the world to suddenly crumble in the eyes of your 9 month old while you're seated in a very public place.
....or maybe that's just me.
Regardless, sometimes it's just easier to stay home.
If this post was for you, then listen up. As extremely daunting as it may appear, try to initiate a real friendship. I know you're exhausted, but try. Call up someone and invite them over. Bring the kids and just enjoy the chaos. It's not about having things calm and under control, it's about community. Psalms 133:1 says, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." We would all be better off and a lot less lonely if we embraced the fellowship of our fellow brothers and sisters instead of being afraid of showing how much we don't know.
And for all you other mamma's, come on! You've been there. Reach out to the tired and lonely new mothers. Yeah sure, they may appear to have it all together, but they don't, because you didn't have it all together when you were in their shoes. Invite them over to your house. Go to their house so they won't have to lug everything and everyone around. Pass down some wisdom. Encourage them. Bring them a meal. Be warm and welcoming. Do something to bless her because motherhood is hard, especially during the little years.
Oh and by the way, I am so thankful that Jesus digs beneath my surface and knows all the deep corners of my heart. When things get lonely in my world, it is comforting to know that I can always run to Him and find a comfort that goes beyond what I can touch. Isn't that wonderful? :)