‘Motherhood is lonely?’ I hear you ask. Yes, when you become a mum you have children to depend on you, buddies following you around, littles talking to and at you every second of the day… But don’t be fooled. Yes you have companions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year forevermore, but what no one quite tells you is how deep that feeling of loneliness can feel and the isolation.
Last year we welcomed three new babies into the family, my sister and two sister-in-laws became first time mums. My sister, having spent her career as a Nanny looking after over 40 children in total, had a somewhat glimpse into what motherhood would bring, but even so, would totally hold her hands up and agree that it is lonely. When you spend the first few months in ‘shock’ about how tired you REALLY actually are, and how sleep-deprived you’ve become, reality hits home and for most, everything you expected or had imagined was nothing compared to this.
If you ever thought being a mum was all chats in coffee shops (sometimes), making tens of mummy friends, fun in the sun, happy kids, happy mum, you’re in for a shock;
The days are LONG
Think about the amount of hours in the day you have to fill. That’s a shit lot of time. The aim of the game is to get to the end of the day having kept yourself and your dependants alive!
You will talk to yourself- a lot.
You know those women you see in the park mumbling while their kid is in the swing, or the mum talking about dinner to the packet of pasta she’s picked off the shelf in the supermarket…. That’s YOU. Don’t judge. Face facts, we all go mad. It’s a given.
Draw strength from your husband/ partner.
If you’re in a relationship/ partnership or marriage, remember you’re a team. As tired as you are by the end of the day, you can draw strength and support from each other. Make the most of quality time when the children are tucked up in bed.
You have to MAKE AN EFFORT to make friends.
A friend of mine having just had her second child, was feeling at the end of her tether so I suggested she go out and find some baby groups (you automatically become a little slacker on your second) to mingle with other mums. Her response was hilarious “I don’t want to make new friends, I can’t be bothered”. I TOTALLY get it!…BUT you will go stir crazy if you don’t. The loneliness is not worth it. It may appear that women are all clicky with each other at those baby groups, and you feel intimidated by them, but trust me, they were you before they plucked up the courage to say ‘hi’. They too probably had a cry that morning over spilt milk. They too probably threatened divorce ten times over that week. They too need some company to fill in those hours in the day.
You have to drag yourself out of the house.
Sorry, but there’s only so much Jeremy Kyle you can watch. Yes there’s a mass of laundry that has been building up for a couple of days which your husband might roll his eyes at and wonder what the hell you’ve done with your day, but GET OUT THE HOUSE. Fresh air is key and will help keep you sane. Even if you’ve not had time to get dressed. Throw your trainers on and a big coat over your jim-jams and you’re set. Screw the people with no kids staring at you in the street, you’re a superwoman….you pushed a baby out your vagina!
You have to VALUE YOUR SLEEP (what little of it you get).
Being sleep deprived is a killer. To both yourself and everyone around you. Harry is 7 and Stan is 2 and trust me it doesn’t get any easier (sorry, not sorry). The only time you will EVER get some good sleep is when they’ve moved out. Actually no, even when they’ve moved out you’ll have sleepness nights worried about them on the night bus home, falling out of the student union or off travelling the world. Sorry ladies, there’s no going back! When your hidden are old enough to go to friend’s houses for sleepovers, DON’T have a night on the tiles. GO TO BED!
You have to remember to eat.
Such an obvious thing, but believe me, it’s easy to forget/ eat crap/ not drink enough water and not look after yourself. You’re doing an amazing job feeding your baby, but what good are you if you’re lacking energy or brain power?
You have to keep those that you love close.
The people already in your life still very much want to be a part of your life. They know you for YOU and it’s so important to not lose touch of who YOU are. When you become a parent, so much changes. The ones that love you from your single days, your married days, your baby days and your current days will provide so much relief when you don’t even think you need it. Call on them when you’re feeling low, anxious or lost and their love will help you grow.
You have to have something for yourself.
Having hobbies and interests are totally what keep me SANE. I love spending time with my boys and family time at weekends but having something to distract me and take me out of my ‘mummy zone’ even if it’s for half an hour is such a breath of fresh air! I love painting and being creative- it’s not something I can do when the kids are around me because obviously they want to join in. But my time is MY time and finding space in this foggy brain to think about something other than school run, making beds, running baths and the dreaded bedtime is a rarity!
You have to talk to adults.
When it’s so normal to have ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ running through your head or your vocabulary stretching as far as ‘5 little ducks went bloody swimming all day’, adult conversation doesn’t come too easily. We’re used to conversating with humans that are still learning to TALK! Find an adult to talk to! Even if you do only talk about each other’s kids (because that’s the only chat we have huh?!).
While becoming a mother is the most gratifying, rewarding and fulfilling job, nothing can prepare you for those days that you feel lonely. It’s totally normal and don’t feel bad or sad for feeling alone. We’re all in this TOGETHER.
By Laura xx
(Below, first time mummy’s Eloise, Lucy and Melisa)