The Loneliness of Motherhood

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Motherhood can be a lonely, lonely thing. Which is strange, isn’t it, because mothers are almost never alone.

In the age of social media, the irony of lonely while surrounded by people, wanting companionship while feeling touched out, is being shared by parents in droves. Articles, tweets, and a few Instagram pictures are followed by hashtags about being tired or touched out or being the “bad” mom who forgot today was crazy hair day at school. Or it’s the article or post that touches lightly on the subject of postpartum depression, never during, but always after.

Usually, these glimpses provide a place for other mothers to tentatively reach out and give tiny snippets of their own stories. Solidarity, my sisters! Or, how brave to post such honest things! Or it’s just a way to laugh at the reality.

And laugh we must because sometimes this loneliness is more than a portion of motherhood. Sometimes it’s a weight, it’s stifling, it’s smothering.

Let’s laugh to keep from crying.

Motherhood can be lonely. But why?

I wonder if it’s because we’re pack creatures, social animals that really do need a village. Maybe it’s not children that need a village to raise them, but mothers that need a village to support them.

Today, motherhood is endless nights of half-assed sleep because lying down means running down the endless list of things that were done, things that were forgotten, and things that need doing. It’s nights debating whether an earlier bedtime for self should occur, or if the book, the show, the wine, or the game is worth a few less hours of sleep. And this has to be debated because at this point she probably just wants one single freaking hour of time alone, an hour to read or drink wine or peruse Instagram or just not be touched. But, of course, regardless, the next day will start early, too early, because of all the prep that has to happen before the day even begins.

Time to wake up and teeth and wash faces and find matching (sort of) clothes. Yes, maybe pjs that pass for clothes can suffice for daycare, but they definitely can’t be the pjs with smeared peanut butter and you definitely can’t pair it with a Halloween mask. Please eat breakfast, but make sure your teeth are brushed. Where’s your book bag. Did I brush my hair? My own teeth? I forgot to finish my makeup, but at least I drank my coffee. It’s fine, we’re late, let’s go!

Motherhood is giving up every first sip and every last bite. This is such a truth that it’s become a joke. How many memes and posts and videos and cartoons have you seen with moms hiding in broom closets or bathrooms just so they can scarf down a chocolate bar without guilt (or maybe with guilt, but the chocolate helps)?

Motherhood is a love that’s so big and strong and overwhelming, that it gives you strength on the days that the little ones test your patience. It’s a love that overpowers the basic survival instinct. I know without even thinking about it, I would give my life for any one of my children, no hesitation. I’d step in front of a car, a train, whatever.

And yet.

Can I please just finish one piece of pie without a little tiny food gremlin coming over and sticking toddler sized fingers into the crust? Please.

Motherhood is lonely in the weirdest sense because you’re constantly surrounded by people who respect almost no boundaries.

Motherhood has you touched out and craving people, frazzled and craving adult talk, tired and craving alone time.

And no one warns you! No one warns you about the days that feel endless, just about the years that pass quickly. No one warns you that there will be days that you just want to sitforonegoddamnminute without someone using your body as a jungle gym. No one warns you that motherhood is exhausting because there’s no real start time, but there’s definitely no end, no sick days, no PTO, no pause.

And so when all these feelings hit, you just feel lonely and upset that you’re probably the world’s worst mother, because you’re not fawning over your child every second of every day. It feels lonely because most of the emotions you feel throughout the course of the day are hard to pinpoint and hard to explain. It feels lonely because how many times can you vent about the same thing? It feels lonely because the baby you were pining for, dreaming about, love so much, wanted so much, maybe after a loss, maybe after years of trying, maybe after an adoption process, etc, etc, etc….maybe after all that, they’re still just a child and you’re just a mother who is like every other child-mother combination. You’re still just human and you need breaks, but motherhood never seems to break.

But when cries for help sound like complaints and the best people can say is, “Babies don’t keep!” It’s not very surprising that it’s lonely.

Currently, with a raging pandemic, this loneliness can hit even harder, especially for new moms who may not have the normal support that would have been provided otherwise.

Motherhood is lonely. And it’s okay to acknowledge that. And it’s okay to vent. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to say you’re overwhelmed. It’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to reach out for help, personal or professional.

We need to know it’s common to feel this way and that professional help is a viable option.

Vent away. And if you have no one to vent to, feel free to shoot me a line. Sometimes talking, writing, helps.

No Kid Hungry: Why You Should Jump on this Chance to Help

Children are out future.

I think that’s the meaning of life: pushing for better so that our children have better. They are what continues our existence. They hold our memory. They carry on our culture, our beliefs, our traditions.

Everything that we do, that we create, that we advocate for, should have the thought of children in its fabric. After all, it very literally

That is why No Kid Hungry is pushing Congress to increase SNAP benefits by 15%. Even though it may not seem much to some, to those who need it, it’s a lifeline.

Covid-19 has impacted more than just the health of the nation. It has also worsened the financial situation of many families across the nation. That means that many more are now food-insecure.

What is food insecurity?

Food insecurity means that an individual or household has inadequate access to food due to limited money or resources. Unfortunately, children have no say in what household they are born in. Of course, there’s a bigger issue there, as poverty is not some strange choice people decide upon. But, regardless, children are born into a set of circumstances and that can be the decider on whether they go to bed hungry or not.

Like it or not, even with a developed country like the United States, too many children find themselves transient homeless or food-insecure. It’s not some obscure reality, either. 1 out of every 30 children is homeless. More than ELEVEN MILLION children live in food insecure households. And the current pandemic is ensuring that that number only grows.

Children should not be homeless or hungry in a country that boasts about freedom and opportunity. It is up to us, the adults, to ensure that this is not the reality of so many.

As a child that did grow up transient homeless, as a child that used to go to sleep so that she could skip over the hunger pangs of missed meals, this could not hit closer to home.

My children don’t deserve any more or less food than any other children in the United States. My children don’t go to bed hungry. Yes, I worked hard to break free of the cycle of poverty, and so I know intimately how hard it is to do. I know that in many ways, the system is designed to keep one down. I know that the system needs a lot of reform.

But…

In the meantime…

Our children shouldn’t starve.

No kids should go hungry. Make your voice heard. Write your representatives. It’s worth the fight. For our children. For your children. For theirs.