The other day as my husband left for work – I said to him “Do you have to go? I don’t feel like being alone today.” to which he replied “But you’re not alone! You have L&H!”
And it dawned on me. As a mom, I’m never alone when I’m with my kids — but it often feels like I am.
Why is this? Well, let’s be honest, my kids are amazing and I adore them, but they aren’t conversationalists in the same way my friends and husband are. They can’t tell me how outfit looks (who am I kidding – outfit?!) or weigh in on the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode. They don’t vent with me about having no idea what to make for dinner – or send me a recipe for inspiration. And most importantly they don’t offer sympathy when I complain about them….to them.
Much of my day as a stay at home mom is spent in silence, talking to L&H as if they’ll reply (they don’t), or talking in toddler-speak like “wow! yes a fire engine!”, “Do you see the doggy? What does the doggy say?”. That’s why if you get coffee with me I’ll probably ask you to pass the “milky” or tell you I have to go to the “potty” before we leave the coffee shop. I will probably also either talk non stop OR I will stare at you slightly shell shocked because I’m out of practice at adult interaction since it’s rare that I have a full, adult conversation during the day when I’m home with L&H.
And, while I know tons of other moms who are in the same situation, it’s not like I can just pick up the phone and call them to chat — because who has the time for that between playtime, classes, diaper changes, meals, seven clothes changes a day, household chores, etc.
Also, truth be told – we can have all the playgroups and playground meet ups in the world. But personally, I’m probably going to say three words to you before having to sprint off to stop L from eating a leaf off the ground (yup, still in that stage) and H from diving down the slide headfirst. Moms are DISTRACTED (with good reason) when we are in mom mode. Case in point, I went to a moms brunch with L&H when they were about 8 months old. I was so busy making sure their needs were met and picking things up off the floor (my obliques got the best workout EVER that day), that I honestly don’t remember what I ordered….and I’m 99% sure I didn’t eat more than a bite. Needless to say I barely spoke with my fellow mom-attendees either.
I will say this, thank goodness for text messaging – because at least us moms CAN have conversations. We just do them with 12-48 hour delays in between each reply. And for me personally thank god for MY MOM. I call her at least 3 times a day and every time I do I think to myself “I’m so lucky!”. I’m grateful she’s there to listen to me cry when I need to vent about a hard day with the twins, she laughs at the stories I tell her from our daily adventures, and she does provide inspiration about what I should make for dinner based off the contents of my fridge and freezer.
But my point being, if you’re a mom and you’re lonely please know this: I HEAR YOU. I acknowledge your feelings. And I know exactly what you’re talking about. You can feel lonely with a newborn attached to your boob. You can feel lonely when you’re out a the park IN PUBLIC chasing your toddler(s) around. You can feel lonely when you’re chatting all day with your preschooler about garbage trucks or farm animals or Daniel Tigers’ Neighborhood. Just because you aren’t alone doesn’t mean you can’t feel alone.
So if you’re having a lonely day or week or month as a mom – here are a few things you can do to combat that:
- Text a friend. Call your mom, grandma, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, seventh cousin once removed. Message me on Instagram – seriously! I’d love to chat. Call your spouse at work. My hubby is busy but when I’m feeling really drained or in need of convo I give him a quick call to check in and say hi. It might take some work and phone scrolling – but try to find a live body on the other end of the phone/text to interact with. It really helps!
- Go outside. I have a rule that I established after L&H were born: If I pass someone with a stroller or a child/baby on the sidewalk, I smile at them and say hi. Because in my mind, you have NO idea what type of day that mom or caretaker is having. A smile and a hello could make a big difference. I’ve said hello to fellow stroller-ers as I passed by – only to have them call out to me a few strides later asking me how old my babies are or if I could help them with a buckle on their stroller. (YES! Both true stories, I made a neighborhood friend that way we have playdates often!) So get out for a walk with your little(s), and say hi and/or smile at anyone who has a stroller….or anyone in general! It will feel good to make eye contact with another adult, but also you never know what kind of connection it could lead to.
- Get on Facebook. Right after the twins were born I joined several groups on FB for twin moms. They’ve been very helpful sources of information about everything from feeding to sleep schedules to tips on saving money on baby clothes. It’s also nice sometimes to scroll the comments and see that other moms are dealing with the same stuff I am. There are thousands on mom Facebook groups out there – check to see if there are any specific to your baby’s due date (‘Spring 2017 Due Dates’) or area (Moms Around Philadelphia). I know for a fact if you logged on and posted in one about feeling lonely – you’d get lots of replies and offers to chat.
- Join a Moms Group. Do a quick Google search or hop on MeetUp.com to see if there are any moms clubs or groups in your area. I am a member of the MOMS Club of Philadelphia and I have made so many new mom friends since joining. MOMS Club is a national organization so check out to see if they have a chapter near you.
- Be prepared to Mom Date. Making mom friends is a great way to combat loneliness. But it feels a lot like picking someone up at a bar. You have to strike up conversation (HINT: asking them a non-creepy question about their child is a great ice breaker. How old is she/he? Those sneakers look SO easy to put on – where are they from?). Then you have to establish if you’re compatible (Do you have similar parenting styles? Do your kids get along?). THEN….the hardest step of all – you have to ask them for their phone number. It’s going to feel awkward. But try your hardest to be brave – because the payoff of a mom friend is huge!
I said it before and I’ll say it again – if you’re lonely as a mom please know I hear you. No you’re not alone when you’re with your little one(s), but in so many ways you are. I hope these tips can be helpful but also I hope that having your feelings acknowledge is helpful to. It’s not silly, it’s not in your head. Being a mom means never being alone….but it can feel like you are.