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Being a mom can be a challenge that is draining in it's own right. The schedule of handling kids, the house, the finances, the shopping, and life in general can be exhausting. Not to mention the emotional availability for your kids, your spouse, friends and anyone else that might need it. We all get so caught up in it all. Truth is, we might plaster a smile on our faces and boast at the ability to handle it all, but it is also OK , in motherhood, admitting we are lonely too.
Loneliness does not necessarily mean you are alone all day, with no contact with another human being. It can also encompass feeling like no one understands us, that no one has our care in the forefront of their minds, or that we get so wrapped up in taking care of others that we forget all about little old us.
Motherhood is a journey we all take individually even though we are all supposed to be in it together. No one else has our kids. They can't ever really understand the personalities that we have to juggle on a daily basis. My Katie needs more firm direction to come down from her daydreaming cloud and concentrate on what she is doing. Sarah needs diversion from getting fixated on something in order not to become obsessed. And Megan's main form of communication right now is whining and 'pay attention to me all day every day no matter what'.
I am the only mom they have and, no matter how much I try to explain the struggles - or the triumphs - that they have, I am the only one who knows them well enough to understand the impact of them on our day. They and I share our lives all day, every day. Even when I was married, their dad was gone so much that he never really understood the daily struggles I had. In truth, I was lonelier in the marriage than I am now. Because I felt like I was giving to someone who was not giving back.
With the kids back in school, I feel like I spend all of my time alone or managing my kids schedule. Because I work from home, I limit the adult interaction I encounter on a day to day basis. Sure, I have friends and family that love me - and I have been remiss in doing my part to keep up, I can admit that - but contact with them is just a phone call. Sometimes I feel even lonelier after I talk to them. Everyone is always just so busy, even though we all mean well.
I get emails and messages on my Facebook walls from moms who are in the depths of despair. With spouses at work all day and kids in the house, they feel overwhelmed and like no one else gets it. They see Facebook posts from moms who are taking their kids here and there and seemingly being the perfect mother and it draws them deeper into their loneliness. I feel for them, I truly do. I, too, have stared at the computer and watched my feed pass with happy kid and happy mom and happy family plastered all over my wall. 'How come my life is not that way?' I would think.
I wish there were more truth. More admission that we, as moms, let go of so much of us in order to take care of others. And that it is OK to be sad about that and to miss us as we used to be. It does not mean that we do not love our kids, it just means that we still love ourselves, too.
Loneliness and motherhood go hand in hand, I think. I, at least, feel alone in handling the day to day mechanics of my children's childhood and go to bed every night wondering if I could have done a better job. I put my head on my pillow wishing that we had not spent an hour on homework, but rather an hour snuggling. That our evening walk was more about getting out and enjoying each other and less about managing three kids that all want to go different directions.
The internal struggle every mom has is only understood by that mom. Sure, we all can relate, but can we truly understand? I can throw my whole heart into a story about a mom with an autistic child that struggles on a daily basis to do the best to enhance the quality of life for that child, but I will never understand her motherhood, no matter how hard I try. I simply don't live it.
Now, this piece is not about 'woe is me, no one understands me'. It is about knowing the struggles we face and overcoming them to be better moms, wives, friends and more.
Admitting we are lonely is the first step in learning to live with it. Once we understand it and own the truth, we can move on and celebrate our successes that much faster. Feeling alone does not trump feeling valuable.
Knowing we are doing something no one else can do - raising our own individual little personalities - should be the driving force in our feelings of greatness as a mom. Even if we are the only ones that understand them enough to celebrate them!
How do you fight feeling alone in your motherhood? I want to know!
Have a story of motherhood that you want to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas and more!
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