Sometimes, having children can feel isolating but you’re not alone in these feelings. Whether you’re dealing with guilt from losing your cool, struggling to make friends at large gatherings, or seeking a moment of solitude amid the chaos, know that this parenting journey can indeed feel daunting and lonely. It’s as if you’re at an exotic island party, but utterly alone. But remember, dear friend – yes, may I call you a friend? – these feelings are common and we’re in this together.
Contrary to popular belief, parents spend very little time alone. There is little downtime between taking care of your kids and (maybe) a spouse. You don’t have much spare time. And even if you do manage to steal a few minutes of quiet, your thoughts won’t stay put for long. You’re probably trying to figure out when dance class starts and baseball practice ends. You are also quite good at keeping track of important dates, such as visits to the doctor. Academic timetables. Feedings. Snooze time. How to decide on a meal plan. You’d think that having so much on your mind would keep you busy, that being around other people would prevent you from feeling lonely, but the opposite is true. Instead, it only makes it stronger. The situation becomes worse. Since I’ve spent more time with my kids, I no longer feel at home.
I am fully aware of how horrible that sounds. This is an admission of guilt, and I should be embarrassed to write it. But having children altered not just who I was but also what I was known for; I was no longer simply Kim but a mother. A and H’s mother. What I lost outweighed what I received.
This isn’t the opinion of everyone. I can see some of you rolling your eyes right now. Putting me down. I don’t understand how I can feel so lonely in this busy house. Within the luxurious confines of an apartment. Four people in a household. But a lot of parents (dare I say, most) have demanding schedules that leave them with little time for relaxation or “me” time. The days of going to the movies, eating out, and throwing parties are done. A historical artifact from long ago. Some parents don’t speak to another adult for a week or more at a time. Having a serious discussion is forbidden. In fact, many adults would prefer to watch Bluey, CoComelon, and Blippi in the morning, then read the paper or drink coffee. Their leisure time is controlled by someone else. through hues, tunes, and noises. For my part? The moment I became a mother, I experienced parental estrangement. In fact, I felt completely alone in the hospital from the moment I stepped foot inside.
Surprisingly, my room never lacked action. Many different physicians and nurses came to see how I was doing. Half of my relatives dropped by. But I couldn’t help but feel disconnected. I felt like I was staring into a mirror and saw a reflection of my life. I found myself inside a glass-walled home.
The first few weeks were dreary and lengthy. I took care of my kids by staying at home and breastfeeding them. My kids are evolving. Kids are currently napping. Sometimes I wouldn’t sleep for days. Not after a wash. I recall being so lonely I would stroll the aisles of Walgreens simply to be around other people. So that I could examine my appearance in the mirror. For social support and to feel less isolated.
My status changed from stay-at-home mom to working woman as my children became older and I went back to the workforce. The demands of my job and parenting shifted my attention, regarding being everything and accomplishing anything. And that wasn’t without some difficulties. I felt completely overwhelmed and weighed down very soon. There is still something missing even though I get together with my coworkers once a week and see and spend time with my kids every day.
Let there be no doubt: I am #blessed. I’m blessed with two lovely kids. Two happy, bright, and perceptive younglings. I have two kids who can simultaneously make me laugh and cry. I’m also well aware of the advantage I enjoy. This is true, and I recognize it. This is a really significant fact. However, this in no way diminishes how I feel. If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, or “touched out,” that’s okay; it doesn’t invalidate your feelings.
There could be dozens, even hundreds, of valid reasons for parents to feel alone. Your emotions are genuine whether you’re a new or experienced parent. You should not be ignored.
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