The Loneliness of Motherhood

Ok, so I am sure I will be shot down by all the mums who adore every baby-yoga filled second with their little ones, and those mums who go out to to work and would love to be at home with their children instead, but do you know what, being a stay-at-home mum is pretty darned lonely at times.  Today is one of those days, nothing planned, not another human in sight, just me and Freya and daytime TV.  The feeling starts to creep in mostly when Freya is napping, and I find myself wondering what to do next.  The laundry is all done, I’ve finished the ironing, even managed to grab a snack and drink a cup of coffee while it was still hot.  I have created a list of jobs to do, some important, some completely frivolous, but if I completed the list today, what would I do tomorrow?

I like making lists. I have a number of lists on the go at the moment.  I have a comprehensive to-do list which is a brain dump of every single thing I would like to achieve, from cleaning the downstairs loo to writing a novel.  And so that I don’t get too overwhelmed by the huge list I have created, I then have a daily list where I take three or four of the items from the full list that I would like to achieve today.  Sad, eh?! So today’s list reads:-

  • Freya – Doctors 09:40am, village
  • Finish laundry
  • Change beds
  • Contact list for party venues

The clock says 13:07, each item on the list has a satisfying tick by the side of it, and I have also achieved the following:-

  • Made middle child’s packed lunch
  • Dropped said middle child at school
  • Walked 1.5 miles from school to doctors (need to burn off the Christmas pudding)
  • Fed baby
  • Changed baby (multiply that one by 4 or more)
  • Unloaded dishwasher
  • Washed bottles
  • Measured baby formula into storage tubs
  • Removed labels from baby formula tins for possible future upcycling project that I will probably never get around to

Rock and roll!  I now find myself looking around the playroom (sounds grander than it is!) where I am sitting to write this, wondering what I should do now.  But I know there’s not much point starting anything as I really need to go and wake up a sleepy baby because it is time for lunch, and there will be another bottle to fit in before I set off on the 1.5 mile back to school where I left my car this morning.  Then sort kids tea, clean up, hound kids to get in the bath (I have two older ones, as well as the baby), bath baby, feed baby, put baby to bed, sort our tea, clean up, hound older kids to go to bed, stay up until ridiculously late so as to limit the number of hours the baby is left alone (she is insisting on sleeping on her front, and due to recent events I feel compelled to turn her over every time I check on her).  Groundhog Day.

I’m worried I might sound a little ungrateful, particularly as last year was one that showed us how lucky we are as a family, and how precious life is.  But I’m not complaining about my life in general, I just feel a bit lonely today and being a bit of a neghead and a catastrophic thinker, of course this bad day means I have a bad life!  And actually it’s not really a bad day is it, just a bad couple of hours.  I knew this would happen, though.  There was such a build up to Christmas with a magical pre-Christmas trip with the family to London, Freya’s first Christmas, a wedding and New Year celebrations; lots to keep my mind occupied and away from other things that have preoccupied my headspace for some time now.  I had a feeling that it wouldn’t last, and that once all of that good stuff was over, and I was left alone at home (albeit with my beautiful baby girl who I love spending time with – when she is awake!), with no real plans, that I might start to unravel again.

The good thing about having been treated for depression in the past, and the fact that I am quite in tune with my body and mind, is that I recognise the signs when it is lurking around the corner.  Walking around the village this morning, my mind raced with angry annoyance at lots of little things that have got under my skin recently.  Up in that brain of mine was a hive of activity; imagined conversations with people where I tell them exactly what I’m thinking, and decide that I know what everyone else is thinking too.  The fuse has been getting a little shorter too; less patience with the kids, quick to blame rather than accept when little things go wrong, not sleeping.  The good thing is that years of battling with different forms of negative thoughts, and having had CBT and counselling at various stages of my life, is that I now know how to have a pretty strong word with myself.  It’s like I am chastising a naughty child up there; “Pack it in! That’s enough!”  I wonder if that’s what they mean by hearing voices in your head…😳

So, what to do about it? First of all, I am not going to concern myself with this little episode.  In the past, feeling like this would have put me on full alert for a bout of depression to fall upon me and it would almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Nope, that isn’t happening. This is me having a word with myself.  This is January blues, the calm after the storm.  Last year was full of plans, with medical appointments almost every week in one place or another, and a huge desire to go places where I could make memories with Freya, just in case…

I should be grateful for the lack of plans – it must be a sign that things are settling down, that we are getting somewhere close to normal.  It also means that I have a blank canvas ahead of me, and that should be exciting, shouldn’t it? So just because I don’t yet have any plans, doesn’t mean that the year ahead is bleak.  It just means that there are lots of plans left to make (and that I need to kick my Christmas-pudding filled butt into some kind of action to make them).

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And on that thought, right on cue, I hear a cry from upstairs. My sleeping beauty has awoken, and thus the spell of loneliness is broken.

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