I never truly understood the loneliness of motherhood, until I myself became a mum. I’ve blogged about it before and in fact it remains one of my most read pieces, because it remains an uncompromising, and perpetual truth of motherhood.
It can be lonely as hell.
For me, as a stay at home mum, who works from home the problem is often compounded by circumstance. Yet it’s a hard concept to grasp from the outside. People assume you couldn't possibly be lonely, you’ve got your baby and/or kids with you.
In their minds company equals satisfaction. A happy human being surrounded by her children, she couldn’t be lonely.
But here’s the really tricky part to grasp. Yes being a mother is amazing and for me, I find there are so many times during the day that I just adore laughing or playing with my little dude that I have to pinch myself. When we tick along with our weekly routine of activities and errands all is well.
But that said, I do feel very lonely a lot of the time.
In fact, I can go a full day without really talking to another adult. For example, I might drop my son off at playschool in the morning and have a brief ‘good morning’ and ‘goodbye’ with the woman who runs the crèche at the door. I’ll then go home and work. In a few hours, I go pick him up and have another 15 second ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ with the same woman.
We go home and I make him his lunch, we play, maybe watch a bit of Cbeebies. Nap time. And I get back to work.
He wakes up, we have a little snack and then head out. Some day’s it might be to Granny’s. Some days to the supermarket. Some days it’s to the park or to bring the dog out to the River Walk. Some days I get to speak to another grown up, but many days of the week I just don’t… not until my husband comes home from work.
Some days I’m so busy with thoughts of work and mammying I don’t even realise it. Some day’s it gets right inside my head and it hurts me deep down.
But what I’ve come to realise is that even the smallest random acts of kindness can be immense. I cannot tell you how much I’ve been moved, really moved by the loveliness of complete strangers. It can change your day from bad to good in an instant.
So to the elderly couple in the supermarket, who stopped to talk to me (well mainly the little dude) and chatted as if we were dear friends. Thank you.
To the lady in the park, who couldn’t stop smiling at my little boy and then struck up a conversation with me out of the blue. Thank you.
To the woman who was scanning my items at the till and played peep with my son and chatted to me as she worked. Thank you.
So the next time you’re out and you see a mum alone with her baby or small children, maybe flash her a smile. Maybe say hello. Maybe tell her she’s doing a great job. Because just maybe, that random act of kindness will be the small thing she needs to keep going that day.