The first time I felt the loneliness I was freshly postpartum and sensitive from my mother having just left my home. She stayed with us for 2 weeks to help get us acclimated to life with a newborn.
It don’t (yes, girl..don’t) matter how independent you THINK you are. All new moms are putty. We are flopping fish who need nothing more than the attention, love, and support of others. This is when the “it takes a village” thing is crucial.
My Mom walked out of the door, my husband went back to work and I cried.
I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard in my life. It didn’t feel right. Nothing about being that vulnerable, that new to motherhood and that insecure BY MYSELF felt right.
The loneliness was intense and crippling.
That loneliness never left.
I know you don’t think I’m lonely. I seem pretty outgoing, huh?
I’m married. I got kids. I travel. I get out. I’ve got friends. I’m pretty visible online and off. I…do things. I’m not a hermit. Every weekend I’m doing SOMETHING. I feel like an interesting lady. If I met me on a park bench, I’d find myself…pretty cool.
That’s the thing about loneliness. It’s so damn good at hiding. Loneliness is the chameleon of emotions. It can morph and shapeshift into anything else.
I didn’t see this part of adulting. There was no book, older sister or Buzzfeed article that could have prepared me for this. I suppose I should have seen it coming. When I look back at it…the signs were all there.
-Have no family in town.
-Married to a man with no family in town.
-Said man travels for a living.
-Friends who want to be there for you are busy with life…as are you.
-Years of young kid raising, career shifts and moves mean lost connections.
-Social media results in less social activity.
-Inability to find or afford a reliable and consistent babysitter.
I should have known.
I didn’t know.
And so here I am. Navigating my thirties, marriage, parenting, a professional life, my mental state and emotional well-being, my health and wellness and my happiness without a village. All while lonely as hell.
I swipe on makeup daily because hey, it’s self-care and maybe my loneliness won’t be AS obvious.
I have GREAT friends. Many of us are in same syrupy mess. We’d love to be there for each other but…who will watch our kids? Who will help with the crazy workload?
How can you help someone when you need help, too?
I keep telling myself that it’s temporary. That at some point, my current and very DOPE friends and I will crawl out of the hole that is raising younger kids and be in places where we can get together more.
That at some point, my husband won’t travel as much.
That at some point, our family will move or our family members will move closer to us and actually WANT to support us.
That at some point, we’ll find a babysitter that we trust and who can be with our family for years and years.
Anything is possible. Anything can change.
And while I know that, it doesn’t stop me from fighting back tears when I sit in a quiet house. I want nothing more than to finally get a moment to myself after hours of incessant kid chatter and energy.
But…loneliness greets me.
She wraps me up in her arms and I am overcome with emotion and the dam breaks. The tears that I cried when my Mom left have reincarnated and they are the same tears.
Having talked to many friends who too are without in-person villages for whatever reason, I get that I’m not alone. There are millions of women like me.
The fact is…we aren’t supposed to do this alone. This never felt right because it’s not right.
Adulting, marriage, kids, struggles, joys, wins, heartbreak, sorrow…we aren’t supposed to do any of it alone. Yet many of us do. We depend on connections from apps like Marco Polo and Facebook groups to get us by and yeah, that’s better than nothing but…it ain’t the same thing.
Yet it will have to do because it’s 2018 and this is what reality is like for boys and girls who turn into adults and move away from home OR who have parents that won’t retire until they’re in their 70’s OR who don’t have people in their lives who get their passions and goals.
Nobody willingly signed up for this loneliness.
Even if you did decide to become a stay at home parent.
Even if you did decide to cut out toxic family members.
Even if you thought you were doing the “right” thing for your life.
Love to my Loneliness Crew. Hopefully knowing that you truly aren’t alone will help you feel a little less lonely.