There’s a price to pay for being a stay-at-home mom.
Being home with Baby Bird is a privilege and it’s rewarding — my efforts and exhaustion are repaid with gummy grins, adorable giggles, and heart-melting hugs. I get to spend every day watching her learn about life. I’m there for every milestone.
But the reality is that I spend most of my time talking to someone who can’t yet talk back. Most days, I don’t interact with another adult for more than an hour.
Some days, the loneliness is palpable.
I wasn’t prepared for this feeling. I didn’t expect it when I left the workforce. I assumed I’d be too consumed with managing Baby Bird and the house to feeling anything besides tired.
I know solitude isn’t a requirement of stay-at-home motherhood, and my hope is that the feeling will ease now that the season has changed. Summer will allow for walks through the city’s parks. Trips to the zoo and playground won’t be so far-fetched. Maybe Baby Bird will become more tolerant of story time at the library (but trying to teach a 10-month-old to use her inside voice is really tough).
We’ve started attending a weekly Mommy and Me group, and being surrounded by women who understand my frustrations and fears has been uplifting. But the 90-minute sessions just seem to fly by, and all too quickly I’m again looking for someone to talk to.
We wander the aisles of Target. We spend too much time in the grocery store. Quite frankly, we do pretty much anything that will get me more time with adults.
If I’ve learned anything in these 10 months, it’s that nothing about motherhood is lasting (besides being a mother, of course). Soon enough, Baby Bird and I will have play dates to attend. We’ll spend our days at the Children’s Museum. We’ll be rushing off to ballet classes or basketball practice. And the loneliness will be a distant memory.
But at the moment … it’s palpable.
It doesn’t help that many of my single friends have fallen away. People I’d had relationships with for years have virtually disappeared. Part of the blame is mine, I know. I don’t call like I should. I don’t text. I don’t have time — or the energy — for lunch dates, leisurely pedicures, or massages. I haven’t put in enough effort to keep those relationships going.
But that doesn’t make the loss any easier to stomach.
People need in-person connections. We need villages to help raise our kids and keep our sanity.
I need to get on top of building my village.