I told my single brother that the other day and he said, “But you’re with people all day long. How can you be lonely?”
That’s a question I’ve asked myself a million times since I became a mom. How can I stand here, smothered in children, and feel lonely? How can I literally have two human beings attached to my body ALL THE TIME (even when I poop) and still feel lonely?
Is it because my companions can’t have stimulating conversations? Is it because most of our exchanges are me telling them to do things? “Wash you hands. Stop hitting your sister. Take your hand out of your butt.” Is it because my husband travels so much he may as well have a different zip code?
Whatever it is, IT IS. I’m lonely.
There are days when I don’t talk to a single adult. Days where no one asks how I’m doing or what I think or how I feel. Days when I spend all day navigating the minefields of parenthood without making eye contact with someone who understands. Someone who gives me a knowing nod that says, “I get it.” And that is very lonely.
I thought motherhood would be a lot of things before I had kids. Exciting. Challenging. Scary. Fun. But I never thought it would be lonely.
Motherhood is so consuming and exhausting that it almost has to be lonely. Who has time or energy for anything else? After a day in the trenches with my kids I don’t feel like going out. Or calling a friend. I don’t even have the energy to have a real conversation with my husband most nights.
I try to crack the loneliness by connecting with my kids. And as they get older it does get better. Not perfect, but better. I remember those brutal newborn days when I literally felt like I lived on planet invisible and everyone else was a spaceship ride away. But even though I can (sort-of) have a conversation with my kids now, it doesn’t replace that real, adult connection. It doesn’t replace talking to someone who looks you in the eye and listens to what you say and says, “I hear you.”
And that is lonely.