Friday, February 6, 2015

Dear Lonely Mom

Dear Lonely Mom,

     Hey there, fellow Mom.  I wish that for a few brief moments we could exist in a perfect universe where you and I could be across the table from each other instead of separated by computer screens and most likely many miles.

   If that universe existed, I would share a sigh and a quiet laugh with you. This motherhood thing is completely nuts, right? The age of your children dictate what you day may have looked like -- but if you have infants and toddlers your day may have looked like mine.

   I dropped the oldest off at preschool, and shared kind smiles with at least a dozen people. I waited patiently in the waiting room of a doctors office while I explained that my oldest two aren't twins and comfort-walked the small room to quiet my infant.

   I loaded and unloaded. The car, the kids, the washer, the dryer, the dishwasher. I cleaned. I supervised. I cooked. I managed. I smiled at those I saw. 

   Today, like most average days, I must have come in contact with at least 25 people, and yet... here I sit on a Friday night. Exhausted, sort of drained, and definitely alone. And I'm sure you feel the same.

   Along with crazy busy, impressively monotonous and surprisingly unpredictable...this motherhood thing is insanely lonely. 

   But why is that?

   There are other moms in my area. I'm involved in groups, and studies and committees. My kids have friends (who almost certainly have parents), and I know people. People like us (I think) and offer to help often.  ((I've even learned to take them up on that offer, which is a topic for another post))

But even with help, and friends, and people... I'm lonely. And it isn't because my husband is deployed. ((That doesn't help -- but I have felt like this even when he is here))

After some intense thought on this subject, I've decided why motherhood is so lonely. 

Motherhood is lonely because in the whole world you are the only mother to your children. The only one. Just you by your lonesome. And, by definition...that is lonely.

You're the only one who knows the pains of carrying them, labor and delivery. You are the one that woke up with them, night after night for 100 different reasons at their every whimper. You are the one who continues to wake up, because their peaceful rest makes you nervous they aren't breathing anymore.

You are the one who knows where the favorite shirt is, what shoes they like best, the order in which they get ready to go out the door. You know the songs to sing at bath time and at bedtime. You know that "maaaa ddeee it ea t ur" really means "Mommy, Addie hit my head and it hurts". You are the only one who knows how to referee that scenario to nurture both personalities and serve justice. Rock on, Momma.

Sure, someone can help you with dinner, cleaning, buying groceries, taking kids places and keeping them entertained...

But motherhood is lonely because no one can take it from you emotionally. The worries, the fears, the struggles. The snuggles, the routines, the "this much" that is meant just for you when your toddler tells you how much he loves you.

No one can take the emotional toll of motherhood from you, and that makes it lonely. But it also makes it an insane honor. Nobody could ever possibly do what I do, not because I'm so awesome...but because I'm the mommy. No one sounds like me, smells like me, hugs like me, sings like me...

and you know what? My kids need me. And your kids need you.

So while it is lonely at times, you need to know you are not alone. You aren't the only one getting pulled on and whined to. You aren't the only one that says ridiculous things out loud like "Don't put that flag up your nose" out of sheer necessity. Seriously, don't put that flag up your nose. You aren't the only one who sits in the driveway for a few extra minutes because the kids are strapped in and can't hit each other.

You aren't the only one exhausted and wondering if everything you are doing is wrong. You aren't the only one with mismatched kids, and you certainly aren't the only one still in your pajamas from last night.

You aren't the only one wondering why you wanted to be a Mom in the first place -- perhaps you'd be better suited as a professional lady. Should you go back to work? Should you quit work to stay home with the kids? Would either one make you less stressed? Make you feel more adequate? What can you do to make yourself not feel like this anymore?

The truth, as I see it, is nothing more than you already are. But open your eyes a little more. See the full spectrum of what you do and appreciate yourself for that. See that other Mom in the hall at school and know she probably got woken up this morning way too early, too. Know that the other Moms you see aren't the perfection you think you are seeing. They are scattered, they are tired, they are unsure of what they're doing...and they're probably lonely too.

It won't always be like this. Some day you'll be able to meet for coffee again. Have quiet meals with girlfriends or date nights with your husbands. You'll be able to form stronger, more meaningful friendships with people because your children have taught you to see others -- and see yourself. It will get better.

Until then, it will be lonely. But I choose to see that as an honor. No one can do what you're doing, amazing and lonely Mom. You are the only one they need.  Because of that, I'm always happy to sing them off to sleep...

   take my hand, take my whole life, too... 'cuz I can't help falling in love with you.

Even on the bad days...they're worth it.


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