No one could have prepared me for how lonely it can be to join the motherhood club. I used to be a social butterfly and growing up I never belonged to a single clique but instead preferred to have friends in every social group where I could flutter around in my free time. As a mum, though, I’m so busy trying to keep up with my housework and kids and husband that I didn’t realise the demands of my daily life have sucked my social life dry. And that’s lonely.
The paradox to the loneliness of motherhood is that despite my desire to want to have a girl’s weekend where I run away from my family for relaxation and endless nachos is that even if I wanted to take the time to do just that, I’m just too damn tired. Trying to have friends just feels like one more chore that I have to do (sorry, girls).
We talk a lot about the mental load of motherhood; how all the responsibilities, however small but many, stacked up and weighing down the energies of mums are a toxic piece of our culture. But what we don’t really talk about is how the lack of time and energy to keep relationships outside of the family unit are essential to a mum'ssanity. Having friends gives me the ability to feel like I can vent about the same things that also aggravate my mum friends and together we find humour in the daily grind of raising people and being married.
That is when we find the time to do that much-needed venting.
Because if I’m being honest, I am too tired to work on those precious connections and as a result, I’m lonely. I’m also, not alone in feeling like this. The few times that I’ve managed to sneak away for a quick coffee with a friend or that rare uninterrupted (ok, minimally interrupted) phone call, the topic of conversation always run the predictable gamut of what the kids are up to, how is work going, and finally we get to it – “damn, I’m busy, I can’t remember the last time I went out for anything that didn’t include groceries or a dentist.”
I’d like to say that my social loneliness is solely due to laziness but the truth is that my plate is just too full of other peoples’ needs and wants. My husband works outside the home and I work inside it. If we want a clean house and hot meals on the table or family activities planned and prepped then those responsibilities fall to me. And all of that takes time, money, energy, and effort on my part. There just isn’t enough left over for me to be anything but tired from busyness.
But for as lonely as this job of Mum can be it really is fulfilling. I just wish I could carve out some moments to share the positive part (and the not so positive parts) with friends without feeling rushed or guilty because I’m spending my resources on me. And while I admire the mums out there who make their friendships a basic and fundamental need instead of a want – something that must be tended to. I’m just mystified on how they pull it off.
Motherhood is a wonderful journey but it can be incredibly lonely too and that’s just a part of life that I still haven’t quite grown OK with.
More About Motherhood:
- Yes, You Can Have a Family And Still Be Lonely
- Why Can’t Being a Mother Be Enough?
- The Many Moods of the Work-At-Home Mum