Sincere Personal Interaction and my desire for more of it

I hear you.
I understand you.
I like you.

I recently reread this article in BYU magazine. It's about the importance of people taking the time to care enough about one another to have sincere personal interaction. This is exactly what I feel like my life currently lacks, and which I am really at a loss of how to achieve.

For the first year or so of my married life, I basically didn't give anybody but my husband the time of day. We were so anti-social it's not even funny. Obviously, I'm not saying that I lack sincere personal interaction with him; it's just...now that we're not students with the option of spending zillions and gazillions of hours together every day, and that I'm not in the physically draining state of pregnancy, I would really, really, really like to have some sincere personal interaction with other moms.

 I feel like I pour my soul into giving this to others as best as I know how, in a wide variety of ways, but somehow I go unnoticed? I don't think it really has anything to do with being unnoticed or unliked or anything like that, I just think most people around me are caught up with the frantic business of their own lives. It seriously makes me want to cry because I have no idea what to do about this.

I think what's hard is that I have a lot of free time, it's just not packaged in the most convenient way (usually it's five minutes here, fifteen minutes there). My day is not structured the way it used to be when I was on a somebody else's schedule. And there are some distinct advantages to that.

I feel really frustrated because the people who I want to be friends with, well, their lives are all on rigid schedules. School, ballet, homework, playgroups, etc. etc. I feel really sad because it's like the business in everybody else's lives has built this giant wall between us, one that is impossible for me to scale. It's built of a constant stream of rush-rush-rushing everywhere and doing everything for and with everyone else except those beyond the wall, like me.

Will I become this way, too? Will life go speeding by so fast that I won't even be able to stop, look people in the eye, and sincerely ask how they're doing? Am I doomed to be that kind of super mom?

I mean, today....today I spent a lot of hours cleaning, a lot of hours filing in my new filing cabinets, and a lot of hours cooking. Dan is doing some kind of growth spurt thing and so he's sleeping extra, and Jane is sick. I cleaned up a lot of diarrhea and did a lot of laundry. I sat and hugged her for a long time, read a book with both of them on my lap, you know - just the normal, everyday things.

I guess I feel super depressed that I spent all day trying so hard to be the best mom/person ever, and then the one time in the day when I actually got out of the house (no way was I risking diarrhea in the car), I was just...ignored. And it's not really just tonight, it's just a long accumulation of sending out zillions of emails to people, calling people, messaging people, texting people, commenting on peoples' blogs, going to every single activity even the ones that I think will not be fun...and for every one of those contacts I initiate, only a small percentage are reciprocated. BLAAAAH.

Do any other young moms feel this way? I suppose they do, and that explains the proliferation of mommy blogs...

Probably part of the reason I'm feeling this way is that when a young child is sick, it banishes their mom to the house. And it's not just me stuck at home with a sickie, it's a lot of my friends. Because obviously I do have many friends, and there are times where I've felt like I've had sincere personal interaction with others during the day, and it's probably just that I'm getting cabin fever and it's midnight after my b.o.c. and I'm just overly tired and emotional etc. etc. I'm not saying boo hoo I have no friends, obviously that would be way melodramatic, right?

Anyway, the end of the article really moved me. It encourages me to continue to try my best to reach out to others, even when they don't reciprocate. It reminds me that as isolated as I feel, I'm not alone because I have a Heavenly Father and a Savior who love me, and care about me all the time, even in the mundane, little things. I wish it were easier to be conscious of that love, and that it would completely fill the lonely void. Sigh. Maybe someday I'll be spiritual enough that it will. Workin' on that, too.

Here's the end of the article. I can't rephrase it to be better, so I just pasted it in. I hope you read it because it's quite good.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; . . .
And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record. [3 Ne. 11:12–15]
The scriptures tell us that they all went forth, one by one, “about two thousand and five hundred souls” (3 Ne. 17:25). You do the math. If each person faced the Lord for only five seconds, the process lasted for about four hours. Here is another lesson about the importance of face-to-face leadership. Despite the investment of time and effort, the Lord briefly but unmistakably communicated with each individual:
I see you.
I understand you.
I love you.
I have died for you.
The risen Lord powerfully embodied what His words described.
The closing of the Savior’s visit, recorded in 3 Nephi 17, is at least as powerful and sacred as the opening:
But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel. . . .
And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them. [3 Ne. 17:4–5]
Not only did the Lord stay a little longer, but He also wept with them, blessed their children and their little ones, and taught them things too sacred to be recorded. For those of us who are preoccupied with time management, here is a lesson of leadership. Evidently, the God of the universe changed or delayed His schedule to answer the silent prayers of those who were yearning for a blessing. During this boundary moment, the Lord had respect for their great desires, confirming that our prayers are not a monologue about the inevitable but rather a dialogue that invites and includes us.

Sometimes the glorious accounts of 3 Nephi seem far removed from our condition. Although we may surround ourselves with other people at the office, the school, or the stadium, we too often feel lonely, isolated, and confused. Ironically this kind of alienation comes “not from a lack of communication but from a surplus of the wrong kind.”6
Our lives are also awash with memos, e-mails, and instant messages. Sometimes these are helpful and efficient, but they are also flat and faceless.
Loneliness may be our universal condition, but face-to-face leadership is our eternal end. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).


  1. Hang in their Kate, you are on the right tract when it comes to ways to connect with other mothers in your area. The age differinces and were the women are in thier lives,tends to bring a lot of factors into play. Mormon women are hard to build friendships with, just by talking in meetings, RS activites etc. You form friendships when you work together and lean how to share and serve those around us together in our callings. You are doing the right things with all the contacting you are doing. Practice being a good listener, especially as a VT and that you can be trustworth of someone's emotions and time.
    Remember Kate, you are young. You will find what you are looking for but remember to be patient and open minded. We all see friendship and Sincere Personal Interaction differently. Linda Phillips

  2. Amen to that! I feel like this a lot too! I think the millions of sicknesses have made it extra hard. The weather is nice, but we can't fully enjoy it!

  3. I totally understand how you feel having moved thousands of miles away from home and over five years rearing 4 very small children in a rather unsocial environment. Family doesn't seem to call enough, no one seems to quite fit the magic age of your kids and the schedule or the interests of your family. Silly little things that you don't put as reasons to not associate, but others do.

    I have found happiness though, after long times of sadness and loneliness. The happiness I have found comes from seeing and serving others, as cliche as that may sound. Like sending my Dad pictures and updates daily when I knew he was depressed and most recently focusing and disciplining myself to home school my oldest. Suddenly the time doesn't hang heavy on my hands because all of my creativity and love is being magnified by serving others. The kids are happier and so am I.

    I am not saying you have to home school but I am saying throw yourself into creative things to do with your kids and let go of some of the housework. The Savior said, "Behold your little ones" and I have found when I try to do that I find greater happiness. Of course when they are sick it just plain stinks. I don't think there is anything to make that any better.

  4. Kate, I totally understand, besides the having kids part, I feel lonely throughout the day too. I wish I could be more like you and reach out to the other sisters in our ward, especially those that stay home, and don't have children. You never know how much your interactions with them have meant to them, maybe they are like me and have a hard time reaching out, not that its a good excuse, and I know that email can sometimes not quite be enough but if you want we can be email-friends. I have found recently that emailing people can sometimes fill the void especially when there is good conversation or insights. Anyways, I enjoyed the last part of that article, thanks for sharing! Andrea

  5. hey kate, i'm not a mom yet obviously but i've been working from home for several months and my husband travels two weeks/month, so i know what you mean to a certain degree! my perspective is to do what you know is right and the Lord rewards you in his own ways. (also see 1 Thessalonians 1:3 or 1 Corinthians 3:8)

  6. I think these feelings are the hardest part of being a SAHM. We moved cross country when my son was 2 1/2 months old. We went from a big apartment building surrounded by other moms to a neighborhood where I am the only SAHM. Our ward is full of families with several children, so even moms I wanted to be friends with were hardly available. I felt lonely and isolated. Over time, it's better. I appreciate the interactions that I have with women a stage ahead of me in life and enjoy the things we can share. It's comforting to hear that I'm not alone. Sometimes it's easy to feel like everyone else has lots of friends and a really busy social life, but easy to forget that many others feel alone sometimes. Thanks for sharing!


Add a comment!