Question for you. Have you ever felt a bit lonely, despite the fact that you literally NEVER have a minute alone?!
When I first became a mom, this was literally my story. EVERY DAY.
Despite never having a minute to myself and constantly being touched, poked, and prodded by a 1-year old, I felt lonely. Like something was missing. And it probably didn’t help that just a year before, shortly after having our first kiddo, we moved to a new city and state where we knew no one. Since this was our second move after getting married, I knew it took time to form authentic friendships, so I wasn’t too concerned…yet.
I had always planned to be a working mom, but when we made the decision to move mid-pregnancy, the option of being a stay-at-home mom became a reality. And I thought, why not give it a try?
In some ways, staying home gave me a lot of time to meet people, so I thought I’d be able to speed up the process of feeling less alone in this new city. But as it turns out, getting together proved really hard because everyone’s kids were on different nap schedules! And when we did get together, our kids were always there – so the conversations were always choppy and disjointed with constant interruptions from little ones. And I don’t know about you, but I sure found it hard to go beyond the surface when everyone is managing meltdowns and diaper duty. Sure, there was some solidarity in the madness, but I craved the conversation. And there just wasn’t time or space for that.
Realizing the stay-at-home mom life was proving pretty lonely, I thought it’d be better if I went back to work. It would get me out of the house conversing with adults on the regular, and that felt GLORIOUS after 15-months of monotonous days at home. The only problem with this plan is that my first job after baby was at a start-up company. And despite being a growing start-up with almost 50 people, I was the only mom. AND, one of only a handful of people over the age of 30. If you’ve seen Bad Moms, I was basically Mila Kuni’s character – a lone 30-something professional with family responsibilities, in the midst of a sea of 20-somethings living their best life each night.
Don’t get me wrong, their energy was great, and I was really enjoying my daily dose of adult conversations. But, there was definitely a disconnect when it came to solidarity. My new co-workers rolled into work at 8:30 having woken up 30-minutes prior, as I sat there with my coffee trying to recover from my marathon morning of wrestling a kid to get dressed, packing lunches, and racing to daycare dropoff.
I was realizing now my loneliness was less attributed to the fact that I couldn’t have an uninterrupted conversation with an adult, and more about the fact that I couldn’t have an uninterrupted conversation with moms who just get my life.
But WHO was I going to have those conversations with, and WHEN was I going to find the time to have them?
I knew a bunch of stay-at-home mom friends from my first year at home, but I was lacking in working mom friends. In that first year of working, I accumulated a few acquaintances at daycare drop offs, but I wasn’t sure how to take it to the next level. We were all so busy with our careers and families, how were we going to sneak in “get to know you” time too?
Despite the challenge, I attempted to organize an occasional mom night out. I would send a text to a couple of moms I knew and suggest a get together. We would text back and forth for a few weeks before finally getting a date on the calendar – and that date would still be a few weeks away.
Finally, the date would arrive (a month after sending the initial text) and girls night would happen and it would be great. But then a few months would go by before another would be suggested and then the scheduling dance would start again. And despite all these efforts, by the end of the year, we’d maybe only gotten together 3-4 times total. Not enough to take our connections to the level I was craving. I wanted to DO LIFE with other moms. Not just see them once a quarter!
Something had to give. I knew I was not meant to mom alone.
So after 3 years of living in our new city and still not feeling like I had found my people, I had an aha moment. The hard part about getting together was finding the time – and all the planning that goes along with that. And with a husband who traveled most work weeks, the struggle was REAL! But, what if I could remove the planning part? And the need to coordinate with my husband part?
So that day, I sat down at my computer and sent the following email to 15 of my mom friends that I had met over the last few years:
Subject Line: Who Needs a Girls Night?
Things I love:
Talking to humans over the age of 3.
Particularly women…who are also moms.
Pants without buttons.
Snacks, all kinds.
Things I don’t love:
I plan ALL.THE.THINGS.
For everyone in my house.
Then do I have an offer for you. (Yes, that part was cheesy, I know!)
A weekly girls’ night that requires NO planning!
Here’s what I’m thinking. We declare every Wednesday girls’ night. Anyone who wants, can come to my house at 8pm or after (in PJs, obviously) and enjoy some snacks, wine, and most importantly – conversation with humans over 3 years of age. That’s it – planning done! Toss it on your calendar and come when you can. Hubby out of town and can’t make it? Or maybe you’re out of town? No problem, come next week, or the week after, or the week after that. Don’t have any wine or snacks in the house to bring with you? Not a problem – just come. I have enough wine in the house to sustain girls’ nights for a year. Nervous it will be too big of a group to have real conversation? Me too. But, I think we should risk it and see what happens. Does coming every week feel overwhelming? Totally get it. Just come when you need a girls’ night. I will need one weekly, so I’ll keep the door open. (Seriously, the door will be open, just come in [my address]) Know someone who needs a girls night? Bring them. All are welcome. Maybe we’ll have 10+ some weeks, but I’m guessing most of the time it will just be a small group of us. And maybe sometimes I’ll be drinking alone!?!
I’m game for starting this Wednesday or next.
I closed my eyes and hit send.
And 5 minutes later, my inbox was flooded with several emails exclaiming – THIS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER! I’m in! And so for the next few months, my house hosted mom’s night once a week. Sometimes there was just one mom (my favorite!) and other times there were a couple of us, and every once in a while, no one came – and that was just fine too.
This night provided me the real conversation and connection I had been craving on a more regular basis. AND, it helped to propel many of these relationships forward. Because I was talking with everyone more regularly, we were more apt to plan other get togethers too. And it just snowballed from there…
Fast forward another year, and a few of these mom friends have become my best friends. The planning is almost effortless because we just do life together. After school dinners, weekend barbecues, and driveway wine nights. I no longer felt like the odd mom out. The one mom without a circle. Looking back, was it scary to send that email? YES, absolutely!
But was it worth it? 100%.
I honestly believe this email saved my motherhood. It led me to finally feel like I’d found my people. I stopped feeling so alone in my journey. And, It gave me the confidence to realize that life-giving connections really are within reach with just a little bit of effort.
And while my story is one of moving to a new place, many moms who have lived their entire life in the same city still experience many of these same feelings of loneliness and isolation throughout their motherhood journeys, too. Maybe they were the first in their friend group to have kids. Or maybe they have good mom friends, but now no time to see them. In some ways, when you become a mom, it’s like joining one of the biggest clubs out there where everyone is struggling to ACTUALLY connect. We’re all craving it, but the conditions out there are against us. But these conditions are not impossible to navigate. And with a little creativity, they can even actually lend themselves to some of the most fulfilling and authentic connections.
If I’ve learned one thing since becoming a mom, it’s that connections are not a nice-to-have, they’re a must-have. And I believe moms need more of them.
If you’re ready to create your own circle or strengthen the one you have so you can do life together, I’ve put together a complete guide to help you. It covers everything from how to meet new moms to what to say to how to say it. I even share my trick for getting contact info at a first meeting without it feeling awkward! And then, how you can take those initial connections and grow them to fierce friends.
Connection is a game-changer, particularly in motherhood. And I want you to have it!
Because we were not made to mom alone. So let’s stop trying to, okay?
Emily Siegel is a corporate mom and fierce friend. Host of The Connected Mom Life Podcast, she believes that authentic connections are not a nice-to-have, they’re a must-have! And she is on a mission to help moms create more of them. Because she knows we weren’t made to mom alone, and it’s time to stop trying.