Two hours and 30 minutes. That is how long it took my middle daughter to make new friends. Her first day of preschool had come to an end and she told me about her day, including her new friends. Three days in and they are inseparable.
It is inspirational. I have never been very good at making friends. I am friendly enough but what most people don’t know is that I am painfully shy and self-conscious. Meeting new people has always been a challenge.
After giving birth to my first daughter eight years ago I was excited to start attending playgroups and meeting new people. I fantasized that this tiny new human would help me to come out of my shell and make the friends I had always dreamed of.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t my reality.
Crippleing postpartum anxiety and some pretty heavy depression built walls around me. I was convinced that the other mothers hated me and I stopped trying to make friends. Isolation set in and I accepted it. I have met so many amazing women in my journey to motherhood and yet, the isolation remains.
My last fight with postpartum depression was, by far, my hardest. I put all of my energy into surviving and my few friendships faded quickly. I don’t blame anyone, it is so hard to maintain any sort of relationship when one party isn’t healthy. I was hard to be around and was not able to pour from my cracked and empty cup to support anyone else.
Now that I am in a much better place and feeling better than I have in my entire life, where do I start? How do I approach this feeling of isolation? My husband and I joked about putting out a personal ad looking for friends. I imagine mine would be something like this:
Married mother of three in search of friends.
Me: doesn’t really drink but is a fantastic pourer of wine, good listener, loves chocolate, can be shy, loves coffee and nap time.
You: must tolerate rowdy kids, ignore a disastrous house, and enjoy long walks through the aisles of Target sipping coffee and tuning out the gimme gang that is pushed around and fed Goldfish.
If this is you please text me (NO PHONE CALLS) because I am far too scared to make the first move.
Seriously though, all I want is a Target friend. Someone I can text on a Tuesday afternoon to meet me and shop for diapers and toilet paper. Someone who can ignore my messy house and see beyond the bags under my eyes. I want someone who gets how hard this all is and also understands that we wouldn’t change it for anything. I want someone I can sneak out and catch a movie with or meet at the playground.
Motherhood is a blessing. It fulfills so much of what I want out of life. It is also the hardest and most isolating thing I have ever done. It is not meant to be done alone. It is time for me to create my village.
Do you find it hard to make friends? Do you have a Target friend? Will you be my Target friend?