As you’ll see in my bio and in many blog posts, it’s been a big [but positive] transition to living in a cul-de-sac [I’ve never really had the whole ‘neighborly’ dynamic, but have always wanted it]. The major perspective-shift happened this past summer when my husband was off work and I’d come home [often after 6p] to a slowly dissipating crowd of neighbors and kids packing up after an afternoon outside together.
My heart swelled for my kids, but from an adult-perspective, I felt so left out. My husband and another neighbor have summers off from teaching, we have a stay-at-home mom of three, retirees, work-from-homers, and a couple other schedules that afford work hours outside of the “M-F 9-5” world.
An internal battle started eating at me. How I could be a a great mom, fun and social neighbor, and help keep the household in order while still doing what they pay me to do at my day job? I’d never before been forced into such a headspace, and I panicked. I felt guilt. I felt anger. But most of all, I felt alone. Not because I’m the only mom on the street that works outside of the home, but because I felt like I was simply missing out on so much by being away. I looked around and everyone else had it so… ‘together’! It started with my kids and husband, but when I became a part of a housing community, I consistently felt out of swing with them as well.
I say all of this to set the proper mental-scene for what happened next:
“Us working moms have to stick together.”
That’s not exactly how she said it, but it paints the same picture. The ‘she’ I am lovingly mis-quoting is actually one half of the lovely couple who sold us our dream home just about a year ago. We still somehow receive the occasional piece of mail mis-addressed to them, and she had offered to drop by on her way home from work to pick it up. This was around 930p, and after missing her first few “I’m here!” texts because I was also still working, we had a bit of an empathetic chat about the dynamics of work/life balance.
And that’s when she hit me with that simple sentence.
Let me rewind a little, as will be helpful to fully paint the picture. Kate also has twins, as well as a younger child, and one on the way next month. When we first walked into the house and saw the decor, the photos of their twins — even their sweet music collection, both my husband and I knew in our hearts that this home would be perfect for our family. I never realized we would get the opportunity to know these people outside of their artistic tastes, or how much we’d actually have in common.
So there it was. The one thing I needed to hear. The one sentence that contained everything from empowerment to empathy in less than 10 words. This ‘has-it-all’ woman was standing on my doorstep — not just sympathizing with me — but relating to me! As a mom — particularly a twin mom — I have been bombarded with people [lovingly] preparing me for how difficult life is going to be since our pregnancy announcement. It’s forced me so deeply into this unrealistic headspace of ‘having it all together’, that it’s really blinded me to the simple truth: I’m only as alone in this as I choose to be.
Today, and every day, I challenge you to find empowerment in your struggles instead of weakness. You are not alone, and when we open ourselves to these conversations, we’re helping others see that as well.