You would think that after becoming a mother, adding another person to your family who is apparently going to be THE best thing since sliced bread; and having that person with you 24 hours a day in most cases, that you couldn’t POSSIBLY be lonely!
I find it bizarre that in all the information, antenatal classes and “advice” (even the unwanted) that is shoved down your throat during pregnancy; that not one person… not even a friend; could mention how lonely motherhood can be is. At first I thought it was because no one else felt that way, but once I opened up about feeling completely on my own, others did too. And now it’s more likely that they were just embarrassed about it.
You have had a baby and it’s amazing… blah blah blah
But you never think about the impact of spending a whole day talking to someone who can’t talk back, or is just asleep, or screaming at you. For days on end. IT. IS. F*CKING. LONELY.
NEVER IN MY LIFE did I think I would be that woman to be literally watching the clock for the husband to come home. But I found myself doing that because I wanted a conversation! I wanted to be acknowledged, understood and responded to. Basic level 1 communication guys, nothing special. I wasn’t even bothered about a kiss or a hug, I was even happy to get a “hey, you alright?”
God forbid that my partner came home tired and didn’t want to talk. I would be ready to rip his face off! Are you kidding me?! I have been awaiting your adult presence ALL DAY and you don’t want to chat for 5 minutes?! That right there is the thing that can send a new mum OVER THE EDGE. Actually, even IF you’re on the second child it’s the same, if not worse.
And then… sometimes I felt awful because I was being “needy” so I’d attempt to get a life by going to some groups with my kids only to be met by mums pretending that their life was bee’s knees or ‘cliques’ that would not include you because you are new. And that doesn’t make you feel any better.
In the end, I decided to start a new job when baby ‘J’ was 5 months old. It was a part-time job but the training was full-time for 4 months. I thought the 4 months would fly by and then I would be rewarded with the perfect work life balance at the end.
It wasn’t quite that easy. Training full-time meant that I missed a lot of what my children were up to and to this day baby ‘J’ is so much closer to his dad because I was absent for a huge chunk of his life. And that BROKE me. I would cry because I didn’t want to go to work. I would cry on my way to work, I would cry AT WORK (in the toilet obviously, because I didn’t want people to think “she’s a pathetic, emotional wreck”).
Now I’ve passed my training and I’m only working 2 days a week. I kind of miss working full-time. (I know… I’m ungrateful and the grass is always greener yada yada yada) But the 5 days when I’m with my baby and toddler can STILL be so lonely. Yes, I love them and they make me happy but there is only so much that I can have in common with a 3 –year-old. And when you throw tantrums and smart-arsedness (yes that is a word) in the mix, I sometimes wonder what the f*ck I was crying about when I was training full-time. That right there was freedom! I just didn’t know it.
When both my kids are attacking me with sh*t and tears at the same time, I think “I can’t believe that I actually missed this crap!”
My conclusion is that if you’re with your baby all the time, and you feel lonely; just come out and say it. Tell your nearest and dearest how you are feeling and tell them what you need. Or you could hover around your mum’s work place for an hour or so because you just wanted to say “Hi” (I TOTALLY haven’t done that)
No. Seriously though… motherhood can be extremely lonely. It is nothing to be embarrassed about it is just the natural sequence of events based on the society that we live in. Everybody wants to visit you and take selfies with your baby for like the first month and then after that you’re not exciting, so you’re pretty much on your own. So, if you haven’t been through motherhood yet, preempt it. Know that it’s totally normal to feel lonely and be ready to join clubs, force people to be your friend, hound your current friends and most importantly ALWAYS BE HONEST!
That is the only way that anyone will understand you or be able to help you. And by being honest, you are probably helping someone else.
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