Today someone hurt me. I don’t even know who it was.
I was in a Facebook group for those who are admins in Facebook groups. (Facebook group-ception, right?) Anyway, I posted in the admin group asking about time management. Since I want to be present in the group I run, but I also want to be present for my family and friends. It was an innocent question right? Unfortunately I only got negative responses , but the one comment that kicked me in the face was this:
“Get a job and get a life.”
I don’t know if he clicked on my profile and saw that I was a homemaker. I don’t know if he was just an idiot. I don’t know if he was having a bad day. I don’t know if the only way to cope with his miserable life was to make others miserable.
I am assuming he was just a troll who needs to get a life and is telling everyone else to get a life.
You can call me a snowflake if you want, but can you say he wasn’t being a jerk?
His words hurt, and I know it’s because I have been insecure in the day and age we’re in where if you don’t have a high paying job or are studying to get a high paying job, you don’t matter.
But I do matter, and you matter too.
I could write a series of blog posts or even a series of books about why being a stay at home mom is a job in itself. But that’s not why I’m here in a coffee shop writing. I’m here writing to tell you about the community that comforted me after someone butchered my dignity.
After I read his comment, I deleted my post and removed myself from the group that was less than helpful.
I posted in the daily request thread in my young Catholic moms group about what happened.
I group texted a few college girlfriends who meet in person about once a month for small group.
I also posted in a Catholic women’s blogger support group.
From all three of these communities I was drowning in kind words, encouragement, love, and support.
When I was pregnant and stuck for 8 months, I had the Blessed is She community and my small group that was meeting weekly. I would crawl to the couch and they would all come to our home. I basically had only my husband, our friends who also lived in the apartment building, and these other two communities. It was lonely. I spent my day reading blogs and posts in the Blessed is She group when I wasn’t throwing up or sleeping.
Once I had Zelie we moved to a town I didn’t know well, and it was over a half hour from St. Paul. I was also recovering from childbirth and not really moving for 8 months. It was lonely.
Now I am basically back to normal, but with the mom bod. Blessed is She has been so good for me, but I wanted more. I wanted to hear from other moms in their 20s who were living the rogue life in this world. Everyone I came across was either single, not a mother, or ten years older than me (or more).
I went out on a limb and hosted a Blessed Brunch. Someone had to be living a similar life as me. Again, no one else quite fit the category, except one.
Praise. The Lord.
She was my age. Had a baby Zelie’s age. AND she had the exact same wedding date as us. Shortly after the brunch we had a play date, and we talked about how we know no one else in the same situation and how very lonely that was. Then my brain child was born.
Since we couldn’t all really go anywhere to meet, we made a virtual group. I posted about it in other Facebook groups, praying that some other lonely young moms like us would see it. We thought we’d get about 20 people.
*Checking right now*
We have 241 members. It’s been a month.
Apparently this was something that was needed.
Almost every day there is at least one member request. Some days there are five or more. I get messages from women thanking me for starting the group. I wish I could say I did it solely for them, but I did it for me too.
This group has been so beautiful. Prayer requests. Advice. Solidarity. Solidarity. Solidarity.
Because the group grew so quickly (and is continuing to grow), I had to make small groups. So right now we have 10 smalls groups with about 10-20 people, with 2-3 leaders in each. And we have a group for those leaders. That started this week, and I feel so relieved. I wasn’t able to read every single person’s comments and posts because there are 240 of them, and one of me. I needed to give this ministry to the Lord and to these women.
People are starting to exchange numbers and plan get-togethers. Those in our group in Minnesota will have a meet-up in May.
I can’t explain how many people’s lives have changed, including my own. I don’t feel alone anymore.
I was spoiled in college. A retreat or 2 every semester. Events every night of the week. Bible studies, praise and worship, small groups, coffee dates, presentations, movie nights, sports, games, dances, crafts. It goes on and on.
Even if you’re not a mom, suddenly you graduate and get a 9 to 5 job and you’re exhausted when you get home and the thought of happy hour can make you want to hide under your blanket with Netflix. But you want community. But you’re so tired. And there aren’t as many fruitful options for you ministry-wise anymore.
I hope you find your community. Don’t give up on looking. I know you will find it. You are not the only person in your situation. Go out on a limb. Make a group. Open yourself up. Post about it in other groups. You’ll have to try and try again, but eventually. Eventually. You’ll find it.
Thank you, women who are mothers! You have sheltered human beings within yourselves in a unique experience of joy and travail. This experience makes you become God’s own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child’s first steps, who helps it to grow, and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.
Thank you, women who are wives! You irrevocably join your future to that of your husbands, in a relationship of mutual giving, at the service of love and life.
Thank you, women who are daughters and women who are sisters! Into the heart of the family, and then of all society, you bring the richness of your sensitivity, your intuitiveness, your generosity and fidelity.
Thank you, women who work! You are present and active in every area of life-social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life ever open to the sense of “mystery”, to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.
Thank you, consecrated women! Following the example of the greatest of women, the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, you open yourselves with obedience and fidelity to the gift of God’s love. You help the Church and all mankind to experience a “spousal” relationship to God, one which magnificently expresses the fellowship which God wishes to establish with his creatures.
Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.
Pope Saint John Paul II’s Letter to Women, June 29th, 1995
(Click here to read the whole letter. It’s so good.)