Little Kids and a Lonely Mom
Want to know something that’s surprised me about motherhood? Isolation.
I used to arrive home from my 40-hours-a-week in the workplace to welcomed silence. Now, in my new 168-hours-a-week job as a stay-at-home-mom, I find the conversation of my present “co-workers” less than stimulating. No, that’s not true. I am not bored by any means in my current occupation. I am, however, somewhat lacking in regular social interaction.
My introvert husband is still in the workplace and comes home having spent nearly all of those 7,000 words a day they say that men have. I, on the other hand, have been talking with zero-to-five-year-olds about, well, things that zero-to-five-year-olds talk about. If I have happened to have a conversation on the phone or send an email or check Facebook, chances aren’t great that I have been able to finish my sentences. If I have happened to finish my sentences, chances are good that I spent 15 minutes to an hour cleaning up the consequences that my children created for me during that time.
Some sweet friends send me emails to check up on me, and sometimes I even initiate some of my own. But until it’s after bedtime, I have a hard time replying to more social emails. I am content, too, with the realization that at this point in my life, if I’m going to get out of the house with my four kids in tow, the potential catastrophes must be worth the effort!
In short, my life isn’t geared for social success right now.
All this to say, when my husband arrives home I am ready to converse with another adult. By contrast, he may not be. I anticipate this now, and we make compromises to meet some of each others’ social needs (or lack thereof).
After a few years of expecting him to meet all the needs I’m supposed to let other friends meet, I’m branching out. I’ve got a semi-regular girls’ night at Starbucks, play dates at the park, and I go to a Bible study with childcare. I exchange emails with friends who are content with one- to three-sentence messages. I can also chat with my mom or my sisters, who’ve come to be patient with, “Hold on a minute. No! Do not do that! Drop it!” or, “Oh, no. I need to go. I should have taken her before I talked on the phone.”
But I’m still amazed at how, when my husband volunteers to take the kids so I can get out on my own, I’m actually craving people more than alone-time. I need other women to walk through life with me, giving me honest answers and asking the right questions. I need people to help me step back from the chaos of my life and appreciate the really beautiful things I may be missing. I need someone to laugh out loud at the crazy things my kids say (“Mom, my favorite food is junk food.”). I need people to pray for me and my family. I need friends.