So there I am looking out at a dinner table of 20, few of whom I know well and most whom I don’t know at all. I am sitting at the head of the table because that was the only space available…and I am sobbing. When asked why I am crying, I hear myself say, “I miss my kids.” Talk about a first impression. In that moment, I couldn’t believe what my body was doing. I don’t cry. Or so I thought. It had been two days since I had tucked my two littles into bed and a day and a half since I kissed my husband goodbye and hopped on a plane to celebrate a good friend’s wedding halfway across the country. No hubs. No toddlers. Just me. Alone. And clearly I was having issues with that.
I survived the rest of the meal with a few tears escaping every now and again, but for the most part I rallied pretty quickly. I even made lame jokes about my emotional state to ease the embarrassment (maybe). Being by myself was weird. As a mom of little kids, I am not by myself often and even more rare am I thinking about just myself. Most of my days are actively supporting or making plans to support my family. So when left to my own fulfillment, I was at a temporary loss. And it happened to hit me at dinner. Probably because it was the first time in a long time I was able to eat a hot meal at a restaurant without interruption.
This brings up bigger issues for moms, I think. Identifying as an individual. Being appreciated for the work you do. Taking care of yourself. Being the master of your own time. When you’re truly alone, those come to light, at least they did for me. And I made sure to reflect and then capitalize on this “me time.” After “the incident,” I made the decision to enjoy myself despite my temporary emotional overwhelm. I tried new food, danced a ridiculous amount, and met amazing people while celebrating my friend and missing my family. It was refreshing and relieving to know that I could still function as an individual and hold my own as an interesting person.
Thus my message to moms everywhere: If you are ever in a situation where you are physically alone or just feel alone and emotions start to bubble up, ride the wave, sister. Let it out, acknowledge what you’re feeling, make peace with it and then decide to move on and find the silver lining. As moms we are constantly trying to connect and associate and cling to community. But being alone can be really fun. Even when you cry in front of (mostly) total strangers.