There’s a lot of awareness surrounding the topic of elderly loneliness. However, there seems to be a big taboo regarding loneliness amongst stay at home mums. It just isn’t talked about, but it’s a very real struggle for many mums. It’s sometimes hard to imagine how you can be lonely when you have a little person clinging to your legs all day. The problem is, you can’t have a proper conversation with a baby or toddler! Sometimes I put on the TV and watch This Morning, just to feel as though I have adult company! Having said that, I usually have Cbeebies on to keep Molly entertained. However, there’s only so much of Mr Tumbles you can take without feeling like your brain is turning to scrambled egg.
I asked myself what makes us mums feel lonely sometimes, but it’s usually a combination of things. For me, it’s mainly the fact that I don’t drive (I’m currently learning). If you live somewhere with good transport links and friends close-by, that’s a massive positive. If you don’t, then it’s a real bummer. When you have a baby it’s challenging to be stuck indoors doing the same routine – day in, day out. My day usually consists of getting up, getting Molly her breakfast, cleaning up, play with her, watch Cbeebies, put her down for a nap, tidy up, do some blog work, play with Molly, give Molly her lunch, clean up, play with Molly, put her down for a nap, have a cup of tea, get dinner ready, try and entertain Molly until dinner, give Molly her dinner, bath time, get Molly ready for bed, story time, put Molly down to sleep, tidy up, cook dinner for Chris and I, sit down for a while, go to bed, get up numerous times to settle or feed Molly during the night and then the cycle repeats. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to be out working and leaving Molly every day, but doing the same thing every day is hard when you don’t have company. I’ve learnt that it’s not always being lonely that’s the problem, it’s often that I’m fed up being in the same environment every day. Therefore, I make an effort to get out for a change of scenery.
When you mention feeling lonely, people will suggest baby groups. That’s great if you can get there or find a group that you actually feel comfortable going to. Then there’s social media. Facebook groups are great, they allow women to voice their struggles, concerns or just to have a chat with other mums. However, I have noticed there’s a slight bitchy undertone to some Facebook groups. It’s as though some women enjoy judging others or starting arguments. Perhaps that comes down to boredom, I don’t know. There are some fantastic groups though, which have really brought women together and created long-lasting friendships.
Like I said, for me, it’s really important that I try and get out and about when I can. This is usually when Chris is off work or when it isn’t raining and I can take Molly out for a walk in the pram. Going for walks doesn’t make me feel less lonely, but it has a positive effect on my overall mood. I think it’s just really important to do little things that you enjoy to make you feel better. Sometimes when you feel lonely it can drag you down and make you focus on other negative things. For example, some days you can feel a real lack of accomplishment when you’re stuck indoors and feel like a bad mother for not taking your baby out anywhere. It’s easy to spiral into a very low mood. I’m definitely guilty of this at times. I often have thoughts that I’m a rubbish mum because Molly must be bored all day. I have to remind that irritating little voice that it’s talking boll***s and in fact, I’m a great mum to Molly. I don’t know why us mums give ourselves such a hard time. I think we just constantly feel the pressure to be better and to compare our lives to others. I’ve stopped doing this. You can’t compare your life with others when everyone has such different circumstances and values.
I get the feeling that many women don’t like to admit feeling lonely out of fear of being judged. I get that. However, it’s OK to admit you’re feeling a bit lonely or down – it’s more than common than you might think. It’s important to do things for YOU – ask your partner or mum to help out so you can go and do the things that make you happy. I love spending time with Molly and being able to share every precious milestone with her, but I also need time to myself sometimes. Even if it’s just a bath or a walk. For me, the biggest mood-booster is music. I pop on my headphones and listen to my favourite songs and within about 10 minutes I’ll feel so much better. Find what makes you happy and find the time to do it – whatever it may be. Make the most of getting out when you can and talk about your feelings. It’s never good to bottle things up, it’ll only create negative energy.