Motherhood is a lonely hood to live in. We always seem to be constantly surrounded by people but it can be hard to connect. Just recently I was visiting a friend and on the way out I made a comment that we should do this more because I am always home doing nothing. She agreed and said she is always free. But of course, we never see each other. Why do we do this to ourselves? I know in my case I assume everyone has more interesting lives than me. I don’t want to bother other people with my loneliness. It never occurred to me that they might be lonely too.
It isn’t just about hanging out with friends but also finding time to feel free from the restraints of motherhood. Having three children strips me of a lot of simple freedoms like getting up to leave the house for a quick errand, staying out late or taking a spontaneous trip. Not having the freedom I once did makes me feel lonely in this world and sometimes makes me feel very insignificant.
I started my family by accident. A few weeks before I had been traveling around Europe; carefree and a bit wild. I hadn’t seen my husband in awhile and BAM – nine months later I had a baby girl. I left behind an entire life that was not exactly baby friendly although at the time I thought I was being left behind.
In the next 10 years, I struggled to find myself as a mother. After three babies and six miscarriages motherhood has done more to define me that anything else I have ever done. It made me the person I am today and for that I am forever grateful.
That doesn’t mean it is all perfect; far from perfect. The level of isolation in is obscene. There are days that will revolve solely around someone else’s poop. On a good day, I get to plan an outing to please someone other than me. Motherhood by definition is self-sacrificing and it is exhausting to be responsible for others 24/7. It is no wonder us Moms are content just going to bed early. But are we? Are we really fulfilled?
It took me years to realize that I can not rely on being a Mom to make me happy. My children are a part of who I am – they might be the most important reason I wake up in the morning but they are not the only reason.
Self-care in Motherhood
For me, battling the loneliness of motherhood has started with establishing self-care and investing in myself first. Constant sacrifice makes me feel like I am on an island all alone. I can not give what I do not have and it took me many years to see that. In fact, I used to look at self-care as just another thing I had to “get done”. I took no pleasure in it.
Now I see the value in taking time to knit, write, have a coffee, draw or get the odd pedicure. When I feel important and worthy as a woman separate from motherhood, I am a better mother (and wife, just ask my husband!).
Finding creative, affordable and fun ways to invest in myself has become one of my favorite hobbies! I love to look into nice places to visit or things I would like to buy myself. I now take a deep and meaningful pleasure in caring for myself first.
Reaching Out to Prevent Loneliness
I will never have the wild and bustling social life that I did in my early 20’s (nor do I want that back) but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a life outside the home. I make a point of reaching out to people periodically and this has helped me. A few times a week I will send text messages and emails to touch base. Every few weeks I will reach out to the people I really like to spend time with and set up a coffee or lunch date. Sometimes we bring our kids and sometimes we don’t.
The days I leave the kids at home I believe I am showing them that I am worthy of friendship too and they see me making that important. I know this is a good lesson for them. I don’t want my children to grow up lonely and the best way I can teach them is by example.
Make new connections
I do not like awkward social situations invented to meet to new people at all. I get horrible anxiety and become incredibly self-conscious. The idea of Mommy and Me classes make me break out in hives.
That doesn’t mean I don’t make connections though! I see potential in everyone I meet. Sometimes it is even finding a new blog or Youtube channel that makes me feel that I am not alone in what I do everyday. Now that everyone I know has caught up and is having families I am rediscovering my old connections in new ways. Some relationships happen naturally over a long time.
I believe being lonely in motherhood isn’t something that can be cured but rather managed. Taking the time to recognize that it is a natural part of the process will help and knowing that you are not alone even when there is no one there. We are all in this together.
Other posts you may be interested in:
- How to Survive Sleep Deprivation with a Newborn
- What I Learned after my Third C-Section
- Four Baby Items I Love for the First Four Weeks