Not Giving In

Let me lay something out here for you – women, by nature I think, struggle with insecurities. Do these people even like me? Why don’t I have any friends? Am I trendy enough or am I an embarrassment?  Where have I gone wrong? I wish I looked like her. Is he still attracted to me?

Admit it. At some point in your life, you’ve struggled with this. When I was in junior high and high school I prided myself in totally not caring what other people thought of me. I didn’t let “the popular crowd” get to me. I didn’t care if I wasn’t wearing the latest clothes or best brands. I didn’t care that I was driving my grandmother’s old car. I didn’t care if people thought I was a snob because I wouldn’t party. I didn’t care if people looked down on my faith. I just didn’t care, and I was mighty proud of that.

When I was in college I still mostly subscribed to this take on life. I think as I started to realize I had gained some weight (thank you Freshman 15+) I started to waver in my “I don’t care what others think” attitude. The self-esteem issues were mild though, after all I was dating a boy I found to be quite hot and awesome (Hi, Nick!) and that definitely boosted my self-esteem.

You know when I really started struggling with insecurity?

During my pregnancy, just before I had the boys.

Bet you didn’t see that coming, huh? It’s true though. See, most of my friends here were either still single or were married but without kids yet. I can remember finding out that friends were going out and doing fun things together but not even bothering to invite me anymore, because they assumed (incorrectly!) that I would be too tired or would rather spend the time with Nick. And so began the feelings of self-doubt.

These insecurities have only gotten worse in the last 4.5 years. I never saw that coming, which I think might be why I’m struggling so hard with it. Little things seem to chip away at my secureness in myself…

Asking if anyone wants to meet at the zoo or a park and getting {crickets}.

Hearing friends and acquaintances got together for a playdate or a mom’s night out, but I was never invited.

Seeing other moms chatting in the halls at school/church about getting together soon, and being pretty jealous that I don’t have that.

Not ever really finding that “go-to” friend who I know will say “yes” when I ask to get together (either with or without friends), and not always have an excuse for why she can’t.

And the internet, while awesome for connecting people, has also been big in killing my self-esteem. Even things as silly as not getting blog comments. Are they reading and then laughing at me? Or trying to chat with people and repeatedly being ignored.

All of it is very silly, really. I’m glad I realize it’s silly and am trying to not give in to these feelings of insecurity. My security is not wrapped up in how I perceive other people perceive me. My security is wrapped up in my faith, my husband and my children – all things I’m proud of. When I die, I don’t want people to remember me as someone who was trendy, a decent photographer, a blogger or as someone who threw awesome playdates and parties. I want to be remembered as an awesome wife, mother and friend. Someone who was sympathetic, someone who wanted to change things for the better, someone who handled problems with grace.

So when people don’t comment on my blog I think, it’s ok, I’m not blogging for them anyway – I’m blogging for myself and my kids.

When I see other moms chatting with friends or hear other people getting together I think, I’m glad they have someone, don’t be jealous of them, Helen!

When I get turned down for a meet-up (whether directly or indirectly) I think, it’s ok – I’ll take the chance to bond with my kids more and just do it ourselves.

I’m not going to lie to you – I’m lonely and feeling lonely (which autocorrect tried to change to “looney” – how appropriate!) seems to exaggerate the insecurity. The loneliness is especially apparent when Nick is working a lot or is out of town (like he was for 5 days last week). I often wonder if I wouldn’t be as lonely (and therefore insecure) if we lived closer to the church (where the boys’ preschool is and most of our acquaintances live), or if we’d be invited to more playdates if my herd of children wasn’t a playdate in itself.

{shrug} This is the life I have. While I don’t love my house or neighborhood, at least we’re living below our means. While I wish I didn’t have to do continual head counting when out with the kids, I love the craziness of 4 kids age 4 and under and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Bottom line: I’m not giving in to the self-esteem issues I feel creeping up. Life with young kids is hard, lonely and exhausting. In 10 years I won’t remember these feelings quite so much, but I will remember that my kids said and did some of the funniest stuff at this age.

Fight the insecurity with me and embrace what you have. Before we know it, life will be changing again. Life has a tendency to do that….



1/22/12: Reading through the comments left here, comments left on Facebook and e-mails sent directly to me has been amazing! Do you all see how many of us are struggling with the very same feelings? Clearly we are not alone, now we all have to work on being bold and  putting ourselves out there more often. Thank you all, for sharing honestly with me and the rest of the readers! I was trying to respond to each comment individually, but it got a little out of hand fairly quickly. Know that I’ve read each and every one, and many of them have brought me to tears. 

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  • Helen

    Helen I know exactly where you are coming from. Keep your head up and I enjoy reading your blogs 🙂 and seeing your pictures and hearing about your daily encounters. You’re not silly for feeling that way its just how “us women” are wired. I know there are days I feel the same way. Don’t give up 😛ReplyCancel

    • Jenni

      my name is Jenni not Helen I typed it twice since both my children were distracting me while I was typingReplyCancel

      • Haha! I was wondering about whether or not there really was another “Helen” reading 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Amen sister! I just had almost this exact conversation with Sean the other day! I’m sitting here fighting back tears because I have a birthday party to take Sutton to in a few minutes. I would have never known you felt this way, as you always seem so confident! Apparently, we are a lot the same. Maybe we should just start our own group of friends. 😉 I have been struggling a lot since signing up with Vault, too. Many friends have said they’d have parties, but won’t settle on a date which begs the question, why? Is it me? Are they sick of me? Do I post too much on FB? Anyway…keep your chin up. You’re a great woman who does so much for others! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Aw, Renee! I was in tears multiple times last week and this weekend, so I definitely don’t have it all together in the confidence department. (In other news, I’m currently polling friends on a Vault party 🙂 )ReplyCancel

  • Torona Reynolds

    I have those feelings too, guess we all have them. 😉 I love your blog and your pictures!!!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Brittany

    Very inspiring. I love how honest you are. I only have one but I feel all of these things. My husband is military and we move alot so its hard to make and keep friends and make play dates. I really do enjoy reading your blog and at times its my only connection to other adults:). So thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Brittany, I can’t imagine how much harder the loneliness would be if I had to move constantly. Here’s to finding a great friend and quickly!ReplyCancel

  • i get it. (esp about the blog comments. i’m always envious of how many you have!)

    i always kind of feel “on the outside” and i have to say, having the boys was the best thing that could have happened. i don’t have to talk to people, they always will talk to me first, because of the boys.

    big hugs, mama. it sucks to have to deal with this kind of thing. i think you’re awesome, for whatever it’s worth. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Ha! And I often find myself jealous of your blog comments! And you’re right – people do often talk to me first just because of the novelty of my kids 🙂ReplyCancel

      • 28 comments so far?! that never happens for me. 🙂ReplyCancel

        • Ha! I’m inflating the results though by replying to all of the comments 😉ReplyCancel

  • Susan

    While I may not be able to relate to playdates or children, I can relate to insecurities. As all my friends have children and I have none.
    I love reading your blog & seeign all your pictures.
    All the best <3ReplyCancel

    • Definitely a female thing, regardless of the point we’re at in life, isn’t it?ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie

    Right there with you! The only person we ever have play dates with is a friend of my husband’s so as it is nice to get together, I don’t have any of my friends anymore. We are 45 mins from my hometown where most are but they still don’t want to hang out when we are there. I have set dates up a few weeks before we will be there to meet at McDonalds or the park and it ends up just being my kids and my mom will show up for a bit to get her grandma time in most the time but thats it. I find it so frustrating with everyone always saying lets get together and then there is never a phone call or always seems like no. If thats the way it was going to be, just tell me! or just finish with see you around instead! I have gotten so bad with it that I don’t feel like I want to get together with anyone anymore and just like staying home and with the kids and don’t want to leave to get the self esteem any lower! Thinking of you Helen! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • It is so hard, Steph! I hear you on sometimes wanting to just stay home and not bother. It often seems easier than facing possible rejection.ReplyCancel

  • Mardi

    Awww, I can totally relate. I live somewhere new and while I have my SIL and MIL to hang out with, that’s about it. If I lived in KC we would totally hang out;)ReplyCancel

    • Mardi, I often say I wish my internet friends lived closer 🙂ReplyCancel

  • pop pop

    Helen, I am SO proud of who you are. A stay at home mom is the hardest, loneliest and most rewarding job that there is. You are right that the best part of spending all of that time with your boys and girl is the solid relationship that you have with them. You will never have a dis-functional family !ReplyCancel

  • Hollie

    Great post!!
    I agree, there are days I have those feelings, too.
    There is one thing I disagree with, though- I don’t think it is silly. I think it is real. And while it might not be the end of the world, and doesn’t negate the gratitude you have about the wonderful things in your life, it can be very hard. Don’t judge/label your feelings! 😉 Just do the best you can to take care of YOU! If I were in KC, i’d be meeting you at the park all the time. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Hollie, you are absolutely right. I shouldn’t have labeled something so real as “silly”!ReplyCancel

  • Michele Dioszeghy

    I could echo all of the sentiments that people on here have already shared, but the only thing I have to say is you are one of the most amazing women I have ever known. I don’t know how you do what you do. Quite honestly, when you speak of feeling jealousy toward other things, I have to chuckle. I can’t tell you the number of times I have felt “jealousy” toward the awesome mom and wife I know you to be. Gosh….if I could accomplish just half of what you do and still hold my head high, I would be very happy. Love you!ReplyCancel

  • We all feel this way from time to time. I don’t get to do a lot of playdates because I work during the day when other moms get together with their kids. And of course a lot of moms all seem “clicquey” just because they can and know each other well.

    One thing one of the kids in D’s class did this past winter break was put a really cute little playdate offer into his cubby. It was a picture of her face w/ a penguin and on the back it had a little note from the classmate and her Mom’s cell number to schedule the playdate. We totally got together w/ them that way (at their house).

    Just another idea, perhaps the KOTD could have a friend over for a playdate… just to keep them occupied – and you sane with another adult 🙂ReplyCancel

  • andrea

    I know this feeling myself, all too well. I am so introverted that it makes it even harder for me. I have had to work at reaching out. After I had kids, I think it took me several years before I finally found some friends that I clicked well with. Even now though, it can be a struggle, as we have different schedules, and our kids are different ages.

    I have seen some of your “join us at the park” posts, but didn’t reply because it seemed weird, as we don’t know each other all that well, and our kids are such different ages (and again with my shy nature). Next time (if I can make it) I will speak up! (If you don’t think its weird, that is!)ReplyCancel

  • Michelle

    Hi Helen. I totally agree that women in general struggle with insecurities…dudes just don’t care, ha!

    But being a stay-at-home mom is isolating without the built in “work family” support group that you have when working a job. Especially when you don’t live close to family. I just try to keep as busy as possible and reach out to other SAHM’s for support. We need another BBM Mom’s Night Out! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Michelle

      I meant to include the info on the playgroup we’re in. It keeps us pretty busy. We usually meet up a couple times a week with them. Check it out…anyone is welcome!

      • Thank you for sharing the Meetup group, Michelle! I’ll have to look into it 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Ah, Helen! How I can relate! It has not been recent, as our “children” are now adults, living on their own, but our
    oldest daughter was 20-months old when her twin sisters were born. We had some very busy years, and I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. We did approach our responsibility very seriously, and much of our time was spent together as a family. I think we have always been “on the outer edge,” though, and it has taken awhile to come to the self-awareness that is just who we are. You are to be commended for making those lovely children a priority!

  • Wendy

    Helen, I love you dear. I was thinking to myself all day, I should call Helen because tomorrow Mike and I have a meeting with our accountant and her office is right around the corner from you. This must be a nudge and I’m going to call God on it….do you want to have coffee tomorrow? We are meeting our gal at 2pm….I can do before or after. I will have one of my adorable well behaved children with me….what do you think.

    You are lovely and don’t ever forget it!ReplyCancel

  • Laney

    Helen – I’m sorry you feel this way 🙁 You are SO not alone though! I wonder if it’s especially hard in the winter time, ya know? Winter blahs. I do find myself feeling this way from time to time too and it sucks!
    I TOTALLY know what you mean about the internet. You can see every time people get together or share an inside joke that you wish you “got.” Oh and the blog comments! Not that I’m a huge blogger but it’s sad when nobody comments!
    Hugs to you!!!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, Laney 🙂 I do believe it might be time for a crazy, triplet playdate so us lonely moms can beat the winter blues together.ReplyCancel

  • Helen, I always read your blog even though I rarely comment! You are classy and I am sometimes jealous of your tight knit family and your self-taught photog skills. I often forget that the people I think have no reason to be insecure (like you!) sometimes are, just like me. Having young kids is hard and people deal with it in various ways. I worry that people probably think I am a snob because I don’t do spontaneous things since I feel the need to guard the downtime with my kids since we are on the go so much. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on friendships, but that is what is best for us in this season of life, with the family dynamics that we choose. And I am OK with that. See, that is me, being introverted and almost being insecure about it… sometimes I wish I were an extrovert!ReplyCancel

    • Emily, you are absolutely right about needing to find the best way to deal with the dynamic of having young kids! Thank you for chiming in.ReplyCancel

  • Helen – I’ve totally slacked off on leaving blog comments and I was just thinking the other day that I need to change that – and then got completely side tracked. I have felt the same way – hey, 2000 people visited my blog today and I only got 3 comments?!?

    I have some of it opposite to you in that I work full time and all of my friends with kids work full time so we hardly have time to get together with or without kids. And it does upset me when I know that they are getting together with other friends.ReplyCancel

    • Sarah, I keep having the same thoughts about needing to get back into commenting more often!ReplyCancel

  • Joy

    Helen – Your comments really hit home. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt the exact same way. Thanks so much for your honestly. It’s great to know I’m not the only one that struggles with this stuff.
    Hang in there girl – We need to plan a BBM night out soon!ReplyCancel

    • Hey Joy, comments like yours are why I decided to share the struggle. I had a hunch I wasn’t the only one! A night out sounds like a plan!ReplyCancel

  • While motherhood – on many levels – is an amazing common denominator, there can also be many feelings of isolation. I laugh sometimes, thinking how ironic that is…as I am so very rarely “alone”! 😉

    Know you’re not alone in feeling this way. And thank you for sharing…I know so many of us appreciate your honesty.ReplyCancel

    • “as I am so very rarely “alone”!” – Ha! So, so true, Mandy 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Janet

    Helen, I can totally relate. Which in itself seems kind of bizarre, since we are nowhere near the same place in life. I’m still single and waiting for marriage and a family, but I think all women share these insecurities. This is also exactly what I needed to hear right now. I am trying to start a new business selling 31 Gifts, and I had 10 people confirm that they would be coming to my debut party. You know how many showed up? Two. Actually, make that ONE who had confirmed, and she brought a friend I had never met. Major blow to the self esteem, but I need to pick myself up and keep going and remember that whatever my situation, God has a reason for it.ReplyCancel

    • Ooh yes, trying to host a party and having no one show is the worst. Been there, done that and definitely a huge blow to the self-esteem. Here’s to a better turn out next time for you, Janet!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa

    Such an honest, brave post! I always assume that I am the only one who feels like that and everyone else has it all together. If only everyone talked about…ReplyCancel

    • YES! I feel like that’s the key – so many of us seem to feel the exact same way and yet don’t know it!ReplyCancel

  • Helen –

    I understand this in so many ways. I think it’s especially true for those of us who married that college boyfriend…I know that I ended college with the best guy in the world (for me) but without tons of close girlfriends. It can be a struggle with young kids to make relationships with peers, but you’ve got the important stuff figured out – family matters most!

    Hang in there!ReplyCancel

    • Must be all that head counting and kid watching the makes it hard to socialize with young kids 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Margaret

    I usually never comment on your blog (or most anyone else’s) because I feel kinda like a creeper, since I don’t know you in person, have multiples, or live in the Midwest… I live in Phoenix, have a daughter (turning 3) and a son (2 months). I started reading your blog because I’ve always been fascinated with identical multiples. But! Your posts are great (aside from the triplets) because you are so authentic and cheerful. You keep the priorities of motherhood straight and encourage me to do the same! So here’s to let you know that I am blessed by your postings and that if we lived in the same area, I would love to get together for a playdate. My daughter would be in heaven with 3 “big boys” to play with (she’s the oldest of most of my friends’ kids). 🙂 If you’re ever visiting Phoenix, you are invited to our house!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks for coming out of hiding, Margaret! Don’t ever worry about feeling like a creeper – I have loved getting to know “random” people from around the country and world by interacting with them through comments, Twitter, FB and/or their blogs!

      Glad I can be an encouragement (and source of entertainment at times) to you 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Helen you are not alone. I think everyone has the same feelings of insecurity that you have. I know I question, over analyze and probably do more harm than good thinking about social and/or lack of social interactions I have. Even though it may not be the happiest of subjects, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.
    There are days I feel trapped at home and incredibly lonely despite being surrounded by my amazing kids.
    I should comment more often, I know I like reading comments on my blog. I just never know what to say. Since your boys are a few years older than mine I see your blog and Pam’s as a little bit of a glimpse as to what I can look forward to.ReplyCancel

  • Aunt Sue

    Dearest Helen- I hear ya and often share your feelings. Uncle Bob keeps reminding me that sometimes that’s the lot in life for a pastor and his family. Doesn’t make it right, but there it is. I so admire you for voicing your feelings and by the extent of the responses it’s easy to see you’ve touched a lot of hearts. These feelings are so common for so many of us and it just goes to show that we need to be conscious of reaching out to those around us and sharing the love God gives us. It’s hard, I know, I fail often. Thank goodness for a clean slate every day to do better. You are quite something my dear – I am proud to be a part of your family!! love you so much.ReplyCancel

  • Thank you for sharing your heart, Helen. You described so many of my mother-of-small-children years and even many of the later years. Women are so prone to insecurity issues. I don’t know why that is, but I am learning to turn those thoughts around and send them packing – not always an easy thing however. You constantly amaze me with all that you accomplish in a day while still giving your kids an awesome, fun-filled life. The reward for that will be incredible as they grow, mature, and eventually give you an outpouring of blessing in the form of loving in-laws and grandchildren. My life is full beyond belief because of you and your sister and brother. <3ReplyCancel

  • Jessica

    I have definitely struggled with insecurities in my life, before kids and after. It is hard to admit though and I admire you so much for your honesty! I can relate to SO many of the things you said in this post. I like your observation that little things seem to chip away at self confidence because I think that is so true and so important to realize. I often find myself analyzing something over and over and having to tell myself to stop going down that path, but it still happens over and over! And I really like your thoughts on how you want to look back on your life, what is really important! You have given me lots to think about!ReplyCancel

  • Helen,

    What a honest, emotional post. I have to admit that I got a litle teary eyed reading your post and all the responses. A see you as an amazing woman that has the strength and grace to raise 4 kids, chase a dream and start your own business. Wow! Many of the things you said have hit home. We live 7 hours away from all our friends and family. We have invited several people/families over for dinners, they come and say things like we will have to have ya’ll over, but never ask us to their homes or to get togethers. Makes you think that they didn’t like us? It has been very hard to meet people and make friends here. It feels lonely, but I know that I have a wonderful husband and daughter. We plan to move back to our hometown soon. If I lived near you, I would like to think that we could be great friends. I feel strange posting comments sometimes, cuz I don’t want you to feel like I’m a stalker (I’m not really!), but I really enjoy your blog. Your positive attitude and honesty are inspirational and help me remember to cherish each moment with my family. Thanks, HelenReplyCancel

  • Katie

    I was hesitant to post at first, because I have been reading your blog for a couple of months and then went back and read almost from the beginning. My kids are involved at church and totally think Mr. Nick is a super hero. I was curious about the awesome woman who toted three energetic little boys throughout the church with a smile on her face, and now a little girl on her hip as well.

    I read this post yesterday, and was shocked that this could have been word for word something I had written. It is so hard to find that support when you have a busy husband, and are honestly busy yourself. I mentioned your post, and confessed my own loneliness to my husband whose response was, “Really? But you have me!”

    I wanted to thank you for your honesty and bravery. I have that fear of the whole “stalkerish” feeling in reading your blog, like someone else mentioned. That feeling like I know you, but not really ever knowing how to introduce myself at church without coming off as a total creeper. It is hard as a mom to make friends, a lot harder than it was in high school or college when you didn’t ever have to worry about missing bedtime, finding a babysitter, or convincing your husband that it isn’t personal when you want to leave him behind for some girl-time. I hope all of your many responses remind you how awesome you are. You have kept me company during that quiet right after bedtime time of day.


  • Jennifer Johnson

    Just read this post & can totally relate! I get frustrated with myself sometimes for worrying so much about what other people think of me. I don’t know why we torture ourselves like that! 🙂 You are amazing – you give so much of yourself to others & your family and we are all blessed to know you! looking forward to seeing you Wednesday!

  • I’m a bit behind on my blog reading since our big move to Alaska, so I am just reading this, but thank you. Thank you for so openly sharing your feelings about being a lonely mom to a herd of children. I find myself feeling the same way, and thinking that every other mom out there has a best friend but me. You are so right. In ten years, we will remember this time as full of joy & mom chores– cooking, cleaning, laundry– not as a lonely time.ReplyCancel

    • Wow! I hope your move went well, Shelly! And even more so, I hope you find some friends to connect with ASAP – I know that’s hard in a new place!ReplyCancel