The smell of coffee wafted down the hallway. As I approached the door, quiet chatter spilled out from the dimly lit room. Stepping inside, a feeling akin to coming home washed over me. The day I had waited for all summer was here.
I grabbed myself a cup of coffee. Coffee I had not made myself which is the very best kind of coffee there is. I filled my plate with the brunch spread laid out before me and made my way to a table.
I chose an empty table. I’m really not sure why other than in the moment, my old ways took hold. I found myself questioning if I had made the right choice. If I had sat at an occupied table I might have made new friends, but I may have also taken a seat that they had hoped someone else would sit in. I didn’t want to subject others to my presence. So, I sat at the empty table and immediately regretted the decision. I wondered if I would be seen as unfriendly or worse yet, a snob. Then “what if no one else came and I had to sit here the entire time by myself”, also popped into my head.
I quietly picked at my food and sipped the hot coffee. Soon a new face appeared and asked if she could sit at the table. “Yes! Please do!” Relief washed over me. But the very next moment I began to realize that while having someone to sit with is nice, especially when I was the only one sitting alone, it also meant that I would now have to manage some sort of conversation. See, if you sit with a group you can sometimes fly under the radar and just be a silent observer. Even still, the relief of not sitting alone, of being worthy of someone else’s company, was greater than any unsurety and anxiety.
Old Habits Die Hard
I don’t know that I will ever truly feel comfortable in a room full of people. I don’t know that I will ever shake the feeling of being an outsider. I doubt I’ll ever NOT over analyze every social interaction I ever have. But I do know one thing, being able to get out of bed, get myself and a couple kids ready, drive to the next town over and walk into that room of other women is something I’m insanely proud of because it wouldn’t have happened before a year ago!
In the moment, I am more than happy to stay at home. It’s my safe cocoon. It’s the place of unlimited coffee, far too many afghans and of course my fireplace. With six of us living here, it rarely, if ever feels lonely. But then it sometimes hits me, I can’t find my tribe if I never leave my house. I long for coffee dates, strolls through Target and trips to the zoo. More than that, I know that once this season of full time motherhood passes, the house will feel lonely. I will need that tribe more than ever.
This is why when someone suggested I find a MOPS group (Moms of PreSchoolers) to join, I did. I didn’t and still don’t know if this will be the place I find my tribe. But I do know that those two mornings a month we spend together have done so much for me! Life changing is probably not even an exaggeration.
I recall one of my first meetings. I forget the exact conversation, but we were supposed to talk at our table about a certain question the leader had asked. It came up that every single woman at that table felt that same uncomfortableness when they walked into the room. I realized then that I’m not the only weirdo. Others feel like they don’t belong too. Knowing this made it easier to go to the next meeting and the mom’s night out and the play date at a local farm. Sure, there were moments at all of those that I felt insecure, uncomfortable and couldn’t wait to get back home to my cozy sofa. But I also knew that every other mama was feeling the same way.
What would it do for motherhood if we took the time to have these conversations? If through those conversations, we were able to close the gap that we imagine is between us and every other mother. What if, what if, we found a way to rid ourselves of judgment, competition and ever other ugly thing that stops us from being able to bond with other women that are walking out this same journey with us. What if we actually celebrated differences? What if we took the time to learn more about those differences and maybe, just maybe, we could come to have mad respect for every mother who is just trying to do her best.
This motherhood gig isn’t easy. But friendship can be. Or at least it can be easier. So mamas, let down your guard. Go meet some other mamas. Drink some coffee together. Be awkward together. Find that tribe that will cheer you on and keep you doing through the hard! I promise you, you are worthy of friendship and someone is waiting for someone just like you to walk into their life! Go find her!
Find Your Tribe!
Do you feel like you’ve found your tribe? Where did you find them? If you haven’t, have you be courageous enough to look for it?
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