There might not be any greater joy than having kids, but the miraculous moments don't erase the fact that the parenting journey can be quite a lonely experience.
The demands placed on us parents during the course of each day can break us down and be painfully isolating. At times it can feel like we have lost ourselves, and it’s not as though we can discuss this with our kids. Even the Duchess of Cambridge in England, who has more resources than most could imagine, at a school opening made this statement about parenting - ‘It is lonely at times and you do feel quite isolated’. If she feels isolated, then the rest of us must be doomed.
We all need connection, but the trials and tribulations of parenthood can put us right up into the highly needy category. So find your tribe!
Parents might enjoy being in the company of other parents, but we also truly need each other. We bond in the fiercest manner with those that we might or might not have connected with before kids. Social gatherings are not simply gossiping sessions of parents that appear to have too much time on our hands. Parents actually never have enough time on our hands. We just choose to carve out time with other parents because they are the ones who really, truly, honestly, painfully understand what we go through each day.
With our tribe we laugh until our bellies hurt at the real-life horror scenes we experience at home.
With our tribe we triumph in those rare moments we feel we have achieved parenting success.
With our tribe we discuss frivolous, insignificant topics that aren't necessarily going to save the world, but having these discussions together do sometimes save us.
In the early years of my kids in school, three of us would jabber outside the school after drop-off until the door closed and the kids came back out to get on the bus for off-campus classes. We’d watch our kids’ faces fill with horror that we were still standing there every day. Yes, you read that correctly: Every. Single. Day. It wasn't like we didn't have a to-do list a mile long, but these mornings were a priority. I knew I could rely on these women for strength through understanding, and a whole lot of laughs. They saved, and continue to save, me from the agony of the isolating parental world where frankly none of us really knows what we are doing or how to handle the daily emotional swings of being a parent.
Find your tribe, in whatever way you can. You might even be surprised how easy it can be to make friends with other parents, because who are we kidding, many of us are desperate. Often our parent friendships are why we survive, and the common understanding we feel from these groups leads to more positivity in our lives, at times making us feel like we can even thrive. It can be lonely being a parent, but we can be lonely, together.