The one thing your friends and family don’t tell you when you’re pregnant is that the loneliness of motherhood is real. Every mother will feel this loneliness at some stage and wonder how did I get here? Why do I feel like this? Then you’ll experience the good old mother guilt for feeling this way and wonder how the hell am I going to get out of this rut. Trust me. I know this feeling of loneliness. I know it all to well. However, I don’t think the world talks enough about the realities of becoming a mother, but equally the loneliness that comes with motherhood and as a result, I wanted to write this blog article to bring awareness that this feeling is real and that you’re not alone.
Feeling Part of a Tribe
Over the years, our sense of community and feeling connected (similar to being part of a tribe) has slowly vanished. Let’s face it, every single one of us longs to be part of something other than ourselves. But increasingly, as our first world countries continue in the fast paced life we live, our tribe as such, continues to grow smaller and smaller as members go their own way. Just when we need our tribe the most.
With technology taking over the world, we continue to disconnect from our tribe. We know our tribe (family, friends, co-workers etc) is out there because we get the occasional text message, a like on one of our Facebook photos, but yet we feel so disconnected from them.
There are times that I feel so disconnected that I take the kids shopping, to play centres and hell I even enter the grocery store armed with 2 kids and my shopping list. I do this because I know I’ll find other mothers who will be doing the exact same thing I am: wiping bums, trying to convince our child to stop biting the other child and encouraging them to please eat their Vegemite sandwich because it will give them muscles like Batman. And when I’m out, there is the non-verbal motherhood code of silence when you make eye contact and your heart slows down, you feel at ease because you know you’re not alone in this beautiful thing we call motherhood. What’s funny, is even though I don’t know these women, I still consider them as part of my extended tribe.
Re-Connect & Build Your Tribe with Friends, Family and Your Community
Women long for friendships and the truth is women need friendships. We need a tribe. We need to be able to have conversations that don’t include singing ABC’s for the 100th time that day, or talking about Friday night footy with our hubby. We need to be able to unload. We need to be able to talk with other women who get us. Women who can sit in silence, not only because it’s ok but because we both know this is the only silence we’re going to get.
Reconnecting or forming our tribe can be scary. What if someone rejects me? What if I feel overwhelmed? The reality is this may happen, but the other reality is it may not happen. So step out of your comfort zone and start making plans.
- Invite your family or friends over for dinner – ok I know what you’re thinking. This means I need to clean the house, cook a meal, deal with people, clean up the mess when they leave etc. However, the flip side to this is you’ll laugh. You’ll connect. You’ll make memories. You’ll have adult time. Trust me the benefits far out weigh the messy kitchen you’ll need to clean up the following day.
- Plan a girls night out – I’m not saying you need to get a limo, dust off your high heels and shave your legs (though you may do this), what I’m saying is make the effort to connect with your girlfriends. Go to dinner, go for a walk, head to the beach for the day and what ever you choose you’ll be thank-ful you did.
- Plan a date night – even though you may see your partner every day doesn’t mean that you’re connected, or that your tribe is functioning the way it needs to. So plan a date night even if it’s only for a few hours. Hold hands. Laugh. Be in the moment. And even though 90% of your time will be talking about your kids, you’ll have made time for each other.
- Connect with a play group/mums group – I know this can be challenging for some and no you won’t be friends with everyone in these groups, but that’s not the point. The point is, you may make 1 or 2 friends who start to become your tribe. People who you can talk to, share stories with and also allow your kids to build new friends too.
- Find something just for you – I’m a strong believer that if you can’t take care or yourself, then how the hell are you going to take care of your tribe. So even though it’s important to connect with your family, friends, make new friendships, it’s equally as important to find time for yourself.
This to Shall Pass
When I was in hospital with Finlee he was screaming one night and simply wouldn’t stop. Let me repeat… the screaming wouldn’t stop. As a first time mother, I didn’t know what to do and so I buzzed for my midwife. I remember she entered the room, took Finlee from me and softly rubbed his belly. She must have seen the exhaustion in my eyes because she quietly said “this too shall pass.” She continued to say “just like the sleepless nights, they too shall pass. When they throw their food on the floor and refuse to eat, that too shall pass.” I tell you this because when you feel the loneliness of motherhood creep up on you and you start to question your life and have you done the right thing please remember this feeling of loneliness will pass too. And as shitty as some days will be and when you lock yourself in the bathroom to get 5 minutes of peace and to dunk your head in the Nutella jar (I may have experience in doing this), take a step back and remember these beautiful children of ours need us. They look up to us. And to our kids, we are their tribe.
Wishing you each a wonderful day and feel free to leave a comment about how things are for you to.
Love to each of you, Angela from Finlee & Me (Australian Online Store for Best Baby/Toddler/Kids and Products for Ladies.
***Image credit to Parenting Beyond Punishment***