The Loneliness and Loveliness of Motherhood
Why is being a mom such a lonely job? I’ve asked myself this question over and over again. How is it that I can be so lonely when I have little ones to keep me company 24/7? I don’t think any of us are alone in this feeling. All moms, whether we work full time or stay home, will feel alone in the pressures and responsibility of motherhood. It’s often a thankless job. Our efforts often go unnoticed and unappreciated. But there are many things that can help us feel a little less alone.
1. Find something that you are passionate about
More often than not, we may feel as though there is nothing left of ourselves once we have kids. We no longer have time to do things we enjoy. If you are unsure what you are passionate about, ask yourself these questions:
- What is something I have always wanted to learn how to do? (Ex. Learn a new language, crochet, bake)
- What is something I used to enjoy doing before having kids? (Ex. Reading books, exercising, playing an instrument)
Once you find something that interests you, set aside time when your spouse, a friend, or family member can take your kids so that you can enjoy some time doing your hobby. This will be different for every person. Even if you can only set aside one day a month, set that time aside and commit to do it. Even better, invite a friend or neighbor to come do it with you. Giving yourself time to accomplish something you enjoy can help keep the loneliness at bay. And you might even meet some new friends doing it.
2. Join Facebook groups
Many neighborhoods and local church organizations have Facebook groups that you can join. This can help you feel connected and up to date on events or activities happening in your area. These can also be safe places to ask questions and get advice from others. If you do not have a neighborhood group page that you’d like to be a part of, find a group that's centered around something you're interested in. If you love reading, join an online book club where you can read books and chat with others. If you love exercising, join a fitness group. There are groups for any hobby, interest, or obsession you might have. Just be sure that the group you join is a positive space for you.
Recording our thoughts, feelings, memories and impressions can bring a lot of joy into our lives. It can also help us gain a lot of perspective. After my daughter was born, I started to write when I was feeling frustrated. I noticed that as I put my frustrations down on paper, it helped me to better analyze the situation, and I often came out of it feeling refreshed and with a new outlook. Try taking a few minutes to think about your day and record any feelings and thoughts you might have. You can do this the traditional way with pen and paper, or you can use your phone or computer to record your thoughts digitally. You can also start a gratitude journal if traditional journaling is not your style. Start by recording three things in your day that brought you joy.
4. Bring more music into your home
I love to turn on Spotify playlists I have made from various times in my life. My kids love music, and it often turns into a fun way to spend time with them. My daughter will often dance and sing along to the music I'm listening to. Watching her enjoy the music always takes away any feelings of loneliness I may have felt. If you enjoy playing instruments, take some time to play. Put the chores aside for a few minutes if needed. For me, playing the piano has always been a way to feel connected and at peace. Music, whether we create our own or listen to someone else's, has a magical way of reminding us that others feel the same way we do and that we are never truly alone.
5. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others if you need to talk
Find someone that you feel comfortable talking with. This can be so difficult, especially if you feel there is no one that you trust. Remember that it doesn’t have to be someone your same age or in the same situation as you. My mom is always the first to remind me that some of her greatest friends have been older or younger than her. When I was in high school, I would often visit an elderly neighbor. We would often sit and talk, even though she was 80 years older than I. She became a good friend to me. Once you find someone that you trust, reach out to them when you feel frustrated or alone with the demands of motherhood. Often, just expressing our feelings to another person as they listen intently is just what we need.
Being a mother will always be one of the most difficult responsibilities we can take on. It comes with a lot of pain and struggle and loneliness. Finding things that help us relieve some of that loneliness is the first step. But the next step is recognizing that there is so much beauty in even the smallest moments of motherhood. There is beauty in helping a little one zip her jacket when she can’t do it on her own. There is sweetness in reading to our children, even when we are too tired to do so. There is peace in comforting our children when they fall or fail. Sometimes all we may feel in the many moments in our day is loneliness. But never forget that all our children see is loveliness within us.