The Loneliness of Motherhood

Motherhood is lonely. As moms, there’s always someone clinging to us, following us, needing us, demanding of us. Even when our children are not physically present, their needs are still in the forefront of our minds.

As mothers, we are constantly surrounded by humans — big and small — but rarely do we truly get to connect with them. We are too busy chasing and aiding our little herds to meaningfully socialize. No matter the size of our “village” or quality of our friends, we will have periods during which we feel alone. We are lonely amongst the madness, isolated amidst the crowd.

When we try to converse with others, it’s guaranteed that a majority of our thoughts and sentences will go uncompleted. “Mommy, I need to go potty!” “Mommy he’s not sharing!” “Mommy, watch this!” “Mommy, I’m stuck!” Each intercession permanently derails a line of conversation. Then there are the maternal sensors that ping every few moments interrupting you just as your child licks the floor, crawls towards power cords, attempts to fly, tackles her sibling, or uses a public drinking fountain as his own personal splash pad.

For many of us, social media becomes a form of self-medication. We use it to camouflage the isolation. We like, post, comment, pin, and tweet to feel less alone… to connect. But it falls flat. It’s not the same.

Occasionally some of us can break free and revel in a mom date. We order adult drinks and savor the ability to eat our meal without having to simultaneously referee. We chat and laugh, we feel human again. Then it’s time to go home to the children we adore and miss, despite knowing full well the level of chaos that awaits us.

We arrive home with our emotional tank closer to full. We’re refreshed and replenished from our social outing. This is temporary, and we know it.

Every tantrum, every meltdown, every sleepless night, every departure debacle and bedtime battle drains our emotional tank. Sweet moments and tender cuddles reverse a bit of the loss, but the loneliness is an emotional hemorrhage that will leave us empty if unattended. The sense of isolation will render us shriveled, aggitated, overwhemed, fatigued, and depleted. We cannot pour from an empty cup, but we must.

Motherhood is joyous and stressful, love-drenched and tumultuous, priceless and taxing. It’s a beautiful gift but it’s lonely.

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