Hey Guys. I hope you all are well. I’m going to dive right into today’s topic. There will be no intro and no smooth transition. That’s how I am feeling right now.
I don’t want to be a downer, but as my site motto suggests, I’m kind of into “real talk”.
I am not going to sugarcoat anything or downplay any of the feelings that I have, or that any other mom may be having.
Which, evidently, lots of moms feel this way, because I have asked them. I needed to make sure I wasn’t alone before I wrote this. I had to double check that I am not crazy.
Motherhood can be really lonely.
There, I said it.
I think that many mothers feel this way but are too ashamed or embarrassed to admit it. Don’t get me wrong; I totally understand why it would be hard to admit this to yourself, let alone to the world. Our Instagram feeds are filled with images of “perfect mothers” drinking “perfect coffee” laying in their “perfect beds”. And of course they look perfect.
But I think that the realities of us other moms needs to be talked about. I know I don’t have a professional photographer following me around my house to snap perfect photos of me being Supermom.
Our New Hangout
About once every other week, I take Ava to a kids cafe close to home. It’s basically an indoor playground with a cafe attached. The little ones can play in the middle of the room with a ton of fun toys and the parents can sit at the surrounding tables and chairs, sipping coffee. It has been a Godsend.
At our last visit to the cafe, I decided to take note of the other moms. Typically my eyes are glued to Ava, but she is becoming more independent with her playtime. She is not clinging to me as much and she is good about coming back to me when she needs a snack or a drink. So in this instance, I chose to take a peek at my surroundings.
I noticed two types of mom dynamics:
The moms’ groups
The solo moms
The moms’ groups were comprised of women who had either known each other prior, or who met at the cafe and became friends. They didn’t interest me though. They were laughing and comparing funny stories. They were fine.
The solo moms are who really called to me, mainly because I was/am one.
Not that I am a single mom. I have a spouse. But day to day, I am solo.
What I noticed about the solo moms (and what they might have noticed about me if they were paying attention), is that they all had the same look on their faces: exhaustion mixed with a bit of loneliness.
Maybe I am reading too much into it. But again, after talking to some of my friends, I don’t think I am far off.
See, as moms we are all trying to keep our heads above water. The awesome days are truly amazing and they remind you why you decided to become a parent in the first place, but the hectic days can seem utterly impossible. This is when the exhaustion and loneliness sets in.
At the beginning of maternity leave, not working in an office seemed liberating. I was able to wear my pyjamas all day if I wanted to, skip the makeup, and just take care of my baby. It was great.
But as time went on, I really started to miss adult, human interaction and intelligent conversations. A girl can only read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” so many times.
When maternity leave ended and the moms who I knew returned to work, that is when the loneliness truly kicked in.
I know what you might be thinking.
Yes, I chose to work from home rather than return to the workplace. I don’t need to justify my choice. Every decision comes with its sacrifices. In this case I sacrificed my social life for my daughter. I wouldn’t change my decision, but that doesn’t mean that I am not sad about my loss sometimes.
Related Post: My Reason for Not Returning to Work
Every day is mostly the same with slight deviations. We wake up, eat breakfast together, play for several hours and then hopefully Ava will have a nap. In the afternoon we eat lunch, and either play more or go visit family. We come home, Ava plays with her daddy while I make dinner, then it’s bath and bed. By this point, my spouse and I are too tired to genuinely interact with each other. The tv gets turned on and we go to sleep.
The deviations take place on “day home days” when I am able to work from home. Ava goes to day home and I am by myself in the house until a client arrives. I spend a couple hours with them and then I am alone again.
On weekends, I don’t have the opportunity to do much. By the time laundry, groceries, cleaning, and family visits are done, I don’t have much energy left for me. My friends with kids are busy doing the same things I am doing, and my friends without kids are enjoying the company of their partners. I don’t blame them.
This is where the kids’ cafe is a Godsend. It is a place I can take Ava, where I don’t feel so alone. I get there and I can clearly see that other women are in my position. We want to feel like we are part of a village even if it costs us $10.00 plus the price of a latte.
I met a mom there just the other day who was brave enough to invite Ava and me to play with her and her daughter in the toy area. It turns out that she is originally from California and relocated to Edmonton for her husband’s work. She doesn’t really know anybody and feels exactly how I am feeling. She asked me for my number.
Ohhhh how times have changed. I used to get asked for my number by men at the bar. Somehow, this is just so much more meaningful than drunken slurring and bad pickup lines.
A lonely woman with a small child took note of another lonely woman with a small child and basically asked to be her friend. It actually made me want to cry happy tears. Maybe there is hope that my social life will return after all.
This isn’t Forever
Truly, it’s not. I do plan on returning to work in the next couple years. And as far as babies go, they are not babies for long.
They will get older and settle into new routines, extracurricular activities, school, etc.
At some point they will be so grown that they will not need me at all. At that point my social life will probably be so robust that I will be turning down offers for girls trips.
But until those days arrive, I will keep trudging along, knowing that I am doing something great, despite how I am feeling. My kid loves me with every ounce of her being. There isn’t anything greater than that. For her, I will have lonely days.
For her, I will do anything.