Battling the Loneliness of Motherhood
The moment the nurse put my little one into my arms for the first time I was changed forever. My life felt complete. Since I was very young I just wanted to be a mom. My goal in life was to raise a family and give my children at least half of what my parents had given to me.
Despite a few terrible weeks of battling the baby blues my life as a mom was exactly what I had imagined: friends came over to see us and play with my little one, we ran errands together, went on nice little walks around the neighborhood, and I spent countless hours just sitting in her nursery staring at her perfection. I was busier than I expected to be. Nursing, cleaning, and laundry seemed to take up the bulk of my day. As she got older and the feedings seemed to become less frequent and naps became longer is when I realized I was alone. Of course I wasn’t actually alone, she was ALWAYS with me, but I felt so lonely. We’d run errands and see other people at Target or the grocery store but it wasn’t as easy as I had expected to meet friends for play dates or go grab lunch like I had before the baby. I found myself talking to her and narrating our day but that feeling of loneliness persisted. Winter set in and our walks and trips to run errands became less frequent. The last thing I wanted was for her to get sick. So we stayed home even more and I became even lonelier. Motherhood was turning out to be quite different than I had pictured. I didn’t realize how much work it would take just to get myself and a baby out of the house. I don’t live in the same town as my family so I didn’t have them to lean on for support or companionship. I was afraid to join mommy groups because I felt like everyone in the group probably already knew each other and I would be the outsider. I didn’t want to take her to baby classes because I was scared to death that she’d get RSV or the flu. My husband would come home each night and we’d eat dinner and I’d go to bed as soon as possible because I was so exhausted and preparing for night feedings that lie ahead. We rarely (maybe twice) went out to dinner or spent any time away from our daughter. I never mentioned my feelings to my husband because I knew that it was a luxury to stay at home with our baby and he was already stressed about going from two incomes to one. The last thing he needed to hear was that my life as a stay-at-home-mom wasn’t what I expected and that I didn’t just LOVE my new life.
When spring came around I tried getting back into my old workout routine but she hated the childcare room and they had to come get me out of my class after fifteen or twenty minutes. I tried to arrange play dates but I only have a few friends who stay-at-home and it seemed like someone always had a sick kid or was just getting over something. I felt like I was failing at each attempt to be social. When we’d get together on the weekends with friends they’d ask how things were going. I’d lie to the working and moms and go on and on about how wonderful it was to stay at home. But that’s the thing; everyone thinks that being a stay-at-home-mom is easy and wonderful. It’s hard and it can be incredibly lonely.
I started reading blogs and searching online for ideas and support. I found that my feelings weren’t unique and I wasn’t crazy in thinking that my life was really hard. I began to understand all the Instagram posts about finding your tribe. I had no tribe, it was no wonder I was lonely. I had an option at that point; I could keep going on the path I was on or choose a new path. It was time for me to find my tribe! I had to write down my goals to make them happen. I now schedule at least one play date a week, we’ve joined a little baby gym class, we’ve signed up for music class, we go to story time at the library, and we go to the park everyday. I’m not where I’d like to be quite yet but I do feel like I’m slowly making some “mom friends” and I’m feeling a little less alone. It feels ridiculous to say this but as I do more with my kiddo outside of our house, with other people, I love her more. I enjoy being a mom and I love that I can spend my days with her (just not alone).