When you have young children, you’re rarely alone. You are constantly taking care of them, perhaps feeling a bit claustrophobic at times. ‘Me’ time can be rare and you are spending all your time feeding, playing, clearing, preparing, cuddling, loving another human being(s).
So how comes at this time when I am never truly alone do I feel a deep, empty loneliness that I can’t shift?
Even surrounded by friends, school runs, playdates, family, your partner, I’ve discovered that being a mum can feel like the loneliest place.
I’m very lucky to actually NOT be physically lonely. I have friends that are also at home with little ones. But the loneliness I am describing is more of a deep rooted black hole I feel like I’m trying to climb out of. An internal void.
Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I am doing a very good job at any aspect of motherhood. I love my kids but I snap at them, I am pretty rubbish at housework and keeping on top of it all, I am a crap cook and make too many freezer dinners. The 2 year old watches too much TV and getting out with the 3 of them feels like such a moutanous task. It’s easier to stay in the safe confines of our home and then the loneliness kicks in even more. As well as all the housework jobs I have done badly… staring at me, mocking me.
In this age of social media, you can connect with everyone you’ve ever known by scrolling through a feed of highlights, making your shortcomings seem even worse.
How did our mothers cope, without mobile phones and online support? They had to get out in the fresh air and make friends, speak to people, and wasn’t constantly comparing themselves to their friends’ highlights. It was simpler, and must have been lonely too.
Motherhood is hard, and surrounded by people and things, it can feel like you are alone in a dark room, screaming for help but no-one is listening.
To the mum’s who seem to breeze through, how do you do it? I’d love to know. Are you just good at pretending all is OK, or do you not feel this way? I’d genuinely love to know. I envy you!
I KNOW I will look back on these times and long for the children to be young again. I know I am so very lucky. I know all this and remind myself daily. I know the years are short. But being a mother is harder than I ever dreamed possible.