To The Lonely 40-Something-Year-Old Mom, You Are Enough.


I have now been a mom since 2009. That’s over 3,600 days. And from day one I was given a challenge. I had a child born with a unique medical condition. This caused my life to shift in ways that were unexpected.

Just when I thought I’d be joining mom groups, pushing strollers around a park, and sharing breastfeeding tips, I was quickly corrected. Instead I was staring into my spouse’s eyes every day, exhausted. We spent all night rocking a baby that was in constant pain, just hoping she would just fall asleep. At the same time we were administering three different medications, every three hours, while attempting to feed. Welcome to parenthood? I thought I would be thinking about postpartum attire, not depression.

I wanted to be with girlfriends with their newborns. Heading out for coffee, talking and socializing. Instead, I found that the more I could hide away, the better. I just wanted to get through it.

Fast forward to a second child.

We survived the first one, and no matter the trials, we wanted to have another. I figured it had to be easier than the first go around. However, I had a new challenge. My husband and I were now living in Maryland, with babies that were 22 months apart, and I had left my friends behind in California.

This was my first taste of true loneliness. Sure I had my husband for support, but it’s the bond of my old female friendships I really yearned for.

I did the unthinkable.

I spent time searching to find moms hosting playdates in our neighborhood. Can you imagine knocking on a stranger’s door, to play in their basement, with a group of women you’ve never met? Talk about feeling uncomfortable, and worst of all there wasn’t any wine in sight. I was a California girl and these ladies were not. I wanted to stay positive. This was my chance to socialize, and I hoped a future bestie was in the room. One look around, and eavesdropping on conversations, I quickly realized it was not going to work out. The only thing we had in common was having given birth. Breaking it off already? Yup, I picked up Sophie Giraffe and my babies, made like a ball and bounced out.

That being said, I didn’t give up after the first try. I had five different meetup playdates, but none worked out as planned. That’s ok, I gave it the ol’ college try. I decided to try another approach: Stroller Strides. It’s the mom group that meets weekday mornings for exercise. We would push strollers around an indoor outlet mall, stopping for squats and push-ups along the way. I wasn’t sure what they defined as exercise, but I am pretty sure you can get more cardio walking around Target. This was not San Diego exercise. I gave them three days a week for two years.

When I discovered they were getting together, outside of class, and I was never invited, I decided it was time for me to move on. I had enough of superficial conversations and listening to them bash their husbands. I was off to actually get a workout on my own.

Where did the time go?

After some time of not having an outside connection, I decided to get a J-O-B. I started working for an athletic clothing store for women. This ended up being the best time I had while living in Maryland. It was a positive environment, where I was surrounded by fitness, cute clothing, and nice women. I began to feel like myself again and not lonely. When we finally had an opportunity to move back to San Diego, I was sad to say goodbye to my co-workers, but the $10 an hour was not missed. Especially considering I spent more than that an hour working there.


I made it back to CA! After five years of living in a foreign land, where Chevy’s was considered real Mexican food, I came back and learned an unfortunate fact. When you move away, life continues on for other people. Shocking, I know. Most of our old friends had developed new relationships with new school families, sports teams, and neighbors. We couldn’t just show up and squeeze our way back in. “Hi, what’s up, were back”, “Oh, you’ll call me? OK”.
Waiting… waiting.

Those first years of parenthood can be crucial for making friendships with other moms, and families. I don’t remember seeing that tip in the What To Expect books. WTH.

“This will all be OK”, I told myself. I missed the preschool years but I still had kindergarten. My plan was to wear cute outfits, smile and be an attentive mom. I would surely gain a friend or two. I’ll attend after school playdates and help with carpool in no time. ”Hey Cindy, can you drive Olivia home after the park?” That’s what school mom friends do, right?

Unfortunately we had a flaw in making our own new best friends. We sent our girls to a school that was not in our neighborhood. This really limited our access to moms, and kids, to become close to. Not having easy access to schoolmates made last minute playdates and casual get-togethers difficult.

It was not a complete loss. I was able to find three moms to be friends with. They were cool, and “My girls”. You know who you are! Laughter, acceptance, and honesty… You had me at “whats up”! Though they didn’t end up being daily friends, our meetups a couple times a year are a highlight.

Kids are older now and no hand-holding is necessary.

Playdates these days don’t include the moms. The opportunity for that female friendship now relies on waves at school drop off, pick up and school functions. This was also my first real life taste of adult cattiness. If you didn’t know that existed outside of high school you were mistaken. Don’t think saying “I’m new here” is going to help. I’ve now become the girl not included in the “cool” girl group, even with my sincere ‘hellos’, but hey, I didn’t want to sit with them anyway, right? Or did I…

Mommyhood can be a lonely life.

Finding that person you click with can be difficult. I just wanted to find someone who I could look forward to seeing, having coffee with, and having that magical feeling of acceptance. A friend that was mine, and was mine based on personality. I thought I found one at the second neighborhood school my kids went to in SD. Unfortunately, I discovered it wasn’t as ‘magical’ as I thought. Once our kids stopped being besties, I never heard from her again. By the way, if our kids are not friends this does not mean we can’t be, that’s just weird. Laughter, acceptance and honesty, all very important.

Now I can say, “been there, done that”. I still have my old life friends that I can connect with a couple times a year. It’s the day-to-day conversations with a friendly face I wish for. As I tell our oldest child, it will happen one day.

After a few years of making it through with my two young girls, I’m able to share some advice. Here are things I’ve learned about mom friendships and things to remember.

Appreciate the friendships you do have!

Reach out, stay in touch, especially when you need to hear a familiar voice. Those few that know the ‘real’ you. Let them in, and keep them.

Let go of perfect

You’re not perfect, accept that. Make sure the new people in your life know that too… it’s OK. I have heard that friendships grow in imperfect places. What might start off as shaky could become something solid.

Don’t form your own clique

If you come across another mom, and sense her loneliness, include her. Be the friend that you wish you had. The Golden Rule still applies. Treat others the way you want to be treated. It doesn’t take much to smile and say hello.

Most importantly, take responsibility

We all play a part in the way our lives turn out. Step out of your comfort zone and take initiative to invite others in, instead of waiting for an invite.

When you are struggling to make mom friendships, and that feeling of loneliness takes over, remember this is just a season. Appreciate the people you do have around you. Know that all relationships take work and don’t happen overnight… be patient and wait for the sun to shine.

You are enough!


Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash



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