Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Lonely in Motherhood

I was a party girl.  Key-word: WAS.

You can ask anyone who has come to one of our parties, I know how to host a good shin-dig.  Food, music, drinks, games, decorations.  I love it.  In college we would have theme parties.  I owned an old, worn and not-at-all-pretty condo.  Let's just say, it wasn't any prettier after our parties but I didn't care.  It was a party-house and everyone knew that.  The stairwell to the basement was our "art gallery".  Every party we would put paint out and let everyone's creativeness flow.  We had people re-create famous art (starry night) or just paint their name.  I painted a giant Freakazoid above the stair-well to greet you as you went down to the "dungeon" (It really was a dungeon, there was only one window in the basement that even a child couldn't fit through if they had to escape.  Don't worry, there were no children in my dungeon).  So that part of the house was pretty, everywhere else was a bit of a war-zone.  I got really good at getting vomit-stains out of the carpet which further proves my theory  that drunks and small children are very alike.  Were they helping prepare me for motherhood?  What nice friends I have.

I didn't often go out 'clubbing' but when I did I danced up a storm.  I drank, partied, danced and socialized.  It's sad that I have to describe these activities as past-tense, but that is the way it is now.  I've been thinking a lot about why my life has come to be a jumble of past-tense activties. Why don't I throw parties anymore?  Why don't I go out anymore?  Even something as simple as going to a yoga class.  I used to do that.  See?  Past tense again.  Why don't I go to fitness classes anymore?

Part of the reason is my own choice.  I haven't gone to fitness classes or gone out clubbing because I breastfeed my daughter and up until a couple months ago, she wasn't sleeping through the night.  I'm sure if I had tried harder she would have slept through the night sooner, but for our family scenario that is just how it worked out for us. For a lot of things, Sloan and her boob-addiction is the reason I don't get out of the house for more than a couple hours - alone.  I am fine with it because I am willing to breastfeed her as long as her and I are still comfortable with it.  That's my choice and it is in the best interest of my baby - for that I will sacrifice going out and doing "adult-stuff" sometimes.

  It doesn't explain why no one comes to see me, or wants to see me.  In the last 2 years we have barely had any visitors (except the first month after bringing Sloan home).  When our friends come to our small town, they will visit everyone else.  If I want to see them I usually have to go to someone else's house and when I do they talk with my daughter rather than me.  I have joked since Sloan was born that I am the "after-thought" for everyone.  I make a joke of it because it hurts too much to accept it as truth.  No one puts me first - not even me.

I am no stranger to loneliness.  I know it all too well.  Maybe that is why it gets me so easily now.  It brings back terrible childhood memories of being alone, living in the country, with no near-by friends to play with.
I was a kid with a lot of imaginary friends.  They kept me company but not happy.

I'm an adult now and I no longer have imaginary friends  to keep me company when there is no one else around (It sounds like I want them.  I don't. That would be weird....right?) .  What makes it worse is that I work from home.  I interact with the children in my home child care, but it isn't the same as having an actual conversation with another adult. 

I've always been a people watcher (probably why I make a great teacher.  I am an observer which is a key skill in teaching.)  I love it.  Seeing diversity, similarities, the way people behave in general.  It is fascinating to me.  Living in a small town, there is not a whole lot of people watching to do.  I miss it.  Just being able to get out and be around more people would be amazing. 

I feel like I'm not passionate about anything anymore (other than my family - I am tremendously passionate about my daughter and husband).  I feel like I don't have much of a purpose anymore other than providing basic needs for me and my daughter.  I don't really know how to shake this feeling.  Is this postpartum?  Have I been in denial about how sad I actually am?  I was told in high school that I am an amazing actress.  If they only knew how good I actually am, they would see I have been acting this whole time.  I have been pretending to be happy when I am really not.  This is not my first struggle with this un-shakeable sadness, but it's different this time.  When I was a teenager, I could wallow in my self-pity because teens have time to do that.  As a mother, I barely have time to eat breakfast let alone sit and cry and think about why I'm sad.  Maybe it's a good thing.  Maybe it's a bad thing.  I've been pushing my own feelings aside to make room for other people's.  I am an after-thought even to myself.

I guess it really hit me when I realized that I used to (past-tense again) have 50 or 60 people at my parties and now there is no one.  Last year would have been our 8th (or maybe it was the 9th?) annual Halloween party but since Sloan was only a few months old, we decided not to have it and just relax at home.  I put up the invitation a few weeks ago for our Halloween party this year (I'm a planner) and I've heard so many excuses from people as to why they aren't coming.  Maybe I'm being selfish.  Maybe people are just growing up and moving on and I haven't been able to do that.  They are finding new friends, new experiences....new parties.

I feel left behind. Even being surrounded with so much love, I feel lonely in motherhood.


  1. I think this is a really common feeling. I have hit this place in motherhood a few times. My advice (based on what works for me) is to reclaim a few of those things you like to do. I know it is easier said than done with a family, but you have to make time for you to enjoy things you like. You also have to make time for you and Dave. Adam and I have both been great about giving each other that space. I go to the movies, girls nights, conferences. He goes to sports events, boys boat trip & game nights at a buddies place. We try to find time together when we can. That is the harder of the two to do. I think it is all too common to get lost in motherhood and forget any other purpose we used to feel we had. I had to put my foot down and reclaim mine. If it helps, here is how I thought of it - I want my kids to grow up seeing their parents as happy, individual people. I want them to see me active in my community, my friends and life outside of our home. Being a parent is the most important job we have, but I want to know my kids see the example of how to be a good parent, a good person with confidence and individual personality and interests. I hope that helps and I don't sound too much like Dr. Phil on you here. If you ever need to talk, you know how to snag me ;)

  2. I guess I have this idea in my head that being a mom will be easy, and I can still have my identity. I see this more and more, and even since getting pregnant have had non mom friends drop me like a brick. I expected it. But what about pumping? Does that work when it comes to leaving Sloan with hubby for a while, as you get a night out? I'm starting a lite group of random girls to go out and have dinner\movies\bowling once a month. Like a networking group to find friends. The older we get the more excuses we have for leaving the house. I do it and I don't even have a child yet. As much as I imagine going out and having a good time, truth is nothing can be spontaneous these days. Book some times to hang out sans kid with some buddies! Schedule it in your calendar and follow through! Every time I take a night to go out and be me with people I know or barely know I never regret it!