The Grass is Always Greener: The Loneliness of Motherhood

I am in the middle of my second tour of duty as a SAHM. I have been home since my four-year old daughter was born, but after six months of exclusively being a SAHM, I started working very part-time. I continued working even after my two-year old son was born, but trying to juggle it all got to be too much for our family. So here I am… eight months into being an exclusive SAHM with two young children, and ironically, I have never been more lonely. 

Many people assume that my days are stressful with screaming kids and running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Well some days are like that. Actually, the best days are like that. Yes, the noise gives me a headache, but it also gives me writing material and gives my days purpose. My daughter is now in preschool four days a week and my son is home with me, but will sometimes spend a day at my in-laws. I used to crave those rare days alone. I could be so productive getting caught up on laundry, cleaning, paying bills, errands without kids. I could actually be an adult.

But now, even though I absolutely love spending time with my children, my days are flooded with loneliness. We attend a handful of parent-child classes, but not many parents actually talk to each other because we are all so focused on our kids during class.

The Grass is Always Greener: The Loneliness of Motherhood | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo credit: Sarah Elizabeth Photography}

I have tried to hang on to the mom friends I met when I first stayed home with my daughter, but as our families have grown, our free time has dwindled. Trying to coordinate that many children’s schedules is like trying to conduct a symphony with cats. The friends I had before kids (understandably) are only available after work, which is the hairiest part of my day – trying to orchestrate dinner, bath, and bedtime, oftentimes alone while my husband is working. My in-laws are close by and have been a tremendous help, but they are (again understandably so) enjoying their retirement traveling for months at a time. My own family is spread out all over the country, with the closest (my mom and stepdad) over 300 miles away in Wisconsin, but we try to visit them often and FaceTime weekly. I get to talk to my stepmom (in Colorado) regularly, but my father has yet to meet my son. 

My husband is sometimes the only adult I see (or talk to) for the entire day. Some days I am not just lonely, I am jealous. He comes home with stories from work about the real world. It may be stressful for him, but I long for the days of adult co-workers to talk to, instead of only Facebook “friends;” and business lunches with real food, instead of boxed mac and cheese. Oftentimes he is too busy to even text during the day, so our only real conversation is after he gets home from work and the kids are in bed. By then we are both too tired to have a real conversation.

I have always been an introvert and need time alone to recharge. But now the quiet is deafening. I have to have music or the TV on just for some background noise. The solitude is paralyzing. I count down the minutes until I can pick up my daughter from preschool. I cannot focus on my tasks. I am overwhelmed with loneliness. I do not know how to be alone anymore, nor do I want to be.

However, the rare times I can get out to socialize, I want to crawl right back into my reclusive cocoon. I have nothing of importance to contribute; I did not help a client save her business from imploding; I did not raise $1M for a nonprofit; I did not help make a difference in a domestic violence victim’s life. All I did were dishes, laundry, chauffeur, sing nursery rhymes, repeat numbers, colors and the alphabet… all… day… long–just like yesterday and the day before that. I do not know how to be with people anymore–even though I want to be.

The grass is always greener wherever I am not.

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