I say this in the most tactful and respectful way possible, but I say it with the whole weight of its truth: motherhood can be so lonely at times. Even if you’re always surrounded by people who love and support you, you can often feel all alone.
I am surrounded by my entire family. If you know me and my family, you know how supportive and loving they all are. I have a wonderful husband who is such an amazing father and works so hard for us. And I have my mother and sisters who are my vent systems and supporters/cheerleaders. I have it all. And still, motherhood is lonely.
There are so many reasons why despite having support, one can feel so alone. One reason is the mere fact that your child only wants you, 24/7, and no one else. An act that is both humbling and exhausting. There are times when we are out to eat as a group and my son only wants me to feed him and tend to him. This leaves me juggling myself, him, and pretty much anything else that comes up during the ordeal. Don’t get me wrong, he at times, will allow someone else to help him, and that provides me a much needed break, but usually it falls on me to be the one to find a balance.
If you’re a breastfeeding mom like me, this is even more difficult since you’re the only one who can feed him, unless you pump and allow someone else to bottle feed him. My husband, who I love and respect, is an amazing provider for our family. His job requires him to get up before the sun and he usually doesn’t get to bed until after 10pm. In addition to his job, he’s also a student. He is always exhausted, understandably so. But this is where the mom-guilt and loneliness set in. I am also exhausted from my job and watching the baby for most of the day. I feel terribly guilty when I ask him to step in and do something. He never complains. He does it with a smile on his face and he sits down on the floor to play with our son. But I know he’s so tired. At times, when we sit and talk on the way home from dinner, I go on and on about my rants then I look over and he is trying his best not to fall asleep. More guilt and loneliness set in. I think to myself, he’s tired, he’s not doing it on purpose. But man, does it feel lonely. I just want to talk or relax and not have to worry about another human being. Even if it’s for 15-30 minutes. And I know wholeheartedly that it’s okay to feel that way, I’m only human. But guilt can be a vicious cycle. I feel guilty for not giving my attention to anyone that needs it. I feel guilty for asking my husband for help when I know he’s exhausted. I feel guilty for wanting to be alone. And I also feel lonely. I feel lonely when I want to talk to my husband and he’s falling asleep because he’s tired from getting up at 3:30 am and going to bed at 11:30pm the night before because he was helping me get the baby to sleep and Jude is fighting it with all his might and Matt has to work a labor intensive job. I feel lonely when I have to do everything for Jude and he’s not allowing anyone else to step in. And I feel lonely when I don’t have any friends that can relate to what I’m going through because we’re all at different stages of life. I feel lonely when our family makes “helpful” remarks that make me question my parenting.
Motherhood is lonely and guilt-riden. Even with others by your side. I have a constant battle in my head that goes back and forth between “You’ve got this. It is normal to feel this way. You’re doing a great job. I deserve a break too. I am also tired.” and “Stop complaining. He’s tired. They need you. You have to do this. Take that advice, they’re being helpful.”
It is not easy being a mom. It’s not easy being the one to do most of everything all the time. I’m consciously working on this all day long. It takes practice to get to the point of not feeling this way all the time. But know this, your child loves you no matter what. You’re doing a great job, even if it doesn’t feel like it.