How Community Keeps Motherhood Real - by Jen Hatzung for MotherHustle
“It was then that I realized: when I need community most is when I want to retreat and try and go it alone.”

A few weeks ago, I had probably one of the most emotionally taxing days I’ve had in about seven years.

I was so emotionally overwhelmed that all I could do was cry. I just stood in the shower sobbing, hot tears dripping down my face, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate in every aspect of my life.

As I stood there, my sweet 2.5 year old opened the bathroom door. She handed me a tissue.

Y’all, the tears went to a whole new level.

She could sense something was wrong with mama — and it was in that moment I realized I needed to call and make an appointment to go back to therapy. With puffy eyes and soaking wet hair, I called. And then I texted a few of my close mama friends and told them how I was feeling.

You know what happened?

They all responded back that they too were also going to therapy, or felt like they needed to go back. And that just made me feel safe. It made me feel less alone. It might sounds simple or silly, but being vulnerable and having that vulnerability reciprocated was so important.

It was then that I realized: when I need community most is when I want to retreat and try and go it alone.

When I get overwhelmed, stressed and anxious, I want to stay away. I think the perfectionist in me can’t handle the idea of bringing my emotional mess out in public. But I’ve learned that when you are willing to share your struggles and hard days, others feel safe to share their own.

I started really leaning into community — and needing it more than ever before — after becoming a mom.

About six months into my motherhood journey, I found our local fit4mom stroller strides group and joined. After every workout, I felt less alone. I’d also feel stronger and closer to my pre-baby body, so it was like the ultimate win!

It was so terrifying to put myself out there and join a group of women I’d never met before and share the struggles and wins of my days. We like to put our best foot forward when we meet new people, so showing up in gym clothes ready to get sweaty and then be vulnerable was not necessarily putting my best foot forward. But I got out of my comfort zone and showed up next to the other new mamas feeling super uncomfortable with how our post-baby bodies moved.

Joining the strides group gave me a place to ask all the questions about all the things, one of those things being our local MOPS {mothers of preschoolers} chapter.

I ended up joining that fall, and that was the next level of my journey to finding my mama crew.

As life got busy, my daughter’s morning nap changed and I took on freelance work, I stopped going to the strides group but continued going to MOPS — which eventually led to me leading our group and creating some amazing friendships with mamas I love dearly.

This is how motherhood helped me find friends who I can text at any time of the day and tell them about my failures, or how I finally made the call to go back to therapy because of  how broken I’m feeling. Friends who text me when they need prayers and support getting through a tough season.

While the Internet and quick interactions with others might make it look like their lives are all together, I can assure you that everyone has struggles.

When we stop trying to be the mom that has it all together, we allow others to stop trying as well. We allow ourselves and others to admit where we need help and support, and then we can all lean on each other and flourish together.

MotherHustle panelist Jen Hatzung is a business strategist, podcaster and founder of Abundant Affirmations who lives in Norfolk, VA with her naval officer husband, toddler and dachshund. She can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) while making lists and strategizing when she can fit in her next run.

She currently co-leads her local MOPS group, has her own direct sales business selling lipstick, and does the preschool/naptime hustle helping small business owners with their online engagement. If there is any time left in the day she has her nose in a book or watching HGTV. Find her on Instagram.


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