I almost called this The Isolation of Motherhood as I’m in the thick of being a Stay at Home Mum on maternity leave but I’ve gotten to know so many Stay at Home Dads the last year through blogging and friends, so I’m being politically correct with my title. I wrote a post last year about the loneliness of parenthood which was about how your relationship can change when kids come along. I didn’t think I’d write about how lonely being a Stay at Home parent would be because I’ve read so much about it, I swore I wouldn’t let the isolation get to me. But it does. And I do wonder if dads feel the same.
I haven’t heard too many Papa Bears talk about the loneliness of being at home with the kids (or maybe I haven’t been keeping track of my favourite Dad bloggers enough – FYI check out Alan from OMG Its A Girl, Ross from The Stented Papa and the hilarious Daddy Poppins. They are all worthy of a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too). I’d be interested to know how they feel about this and whether they have succumbed to the isolation and loneliness that being at home with the kids can bring. For me, I’ve struggled on and off with it since Little Bean was born. Work became an almost immediate distant memory as nappies, feeds and naps became routine again. My anxiety aka Fricking Flamingo, didn’t help and still doesn’t.
I felt trapped, isolated and lost.
Friday was one of those days when I felt trapped, isolated and lost. I literally could not stand being in the house and after failing to find an adult who could meet me, I bundled the kids up and hit the road. At least being in the drivers seat gave me time to think without being pulled at and roared at. We found our way to Balrath Wood which was wet and dreary and in parts white with the sheen of ice on the grass verges. I wore little bean who protested every so often but ultimately stared at the sky through the treetops. Little Miss was exhilarated at the prospect of finding somewhere new and mysterious. I was cold and hard on myself because I hated that I felt the urge to run out of the house.
“Why so sad?” I thought, giving myself an internal hiding. It’s more than feeling lonely and isolated but it’s a difficult emotion to put into words. There’s almost a desperation, a fear and a sadness mingled into one giant gobstopper that is unbreakable, unchewable and somewhat bitter sweet. I know that makes no sense. As I said, it’s almost indescribable.
I sound resentful but I am in absolutely no way resentful. I love being home with the kids. I love seeing Little Bean hit her milestones and picking up Little Miss from Montessori has been a pleasure. Our little conversations and dates, exploring new and interesting things with them both has been almost powerful in its own way. But there are days, lonely days.
I know I have to learn to handle setbacks as my anxiety and the isolation close in on me but at times I feel disappointed in myself that I haven’t managed to overcome the fear of being on my own with two. I still feel outnumbered and I haven’t learnt just yet how to manage two on my own with ease … or am I kidding myself that it’s ever easy? And I know that this is all part and parcel for me and my self confessed journey to self improvement but there’s no doubt that there are days that are more difficult than others as your kids’ world crashes in on you and you lose your sense of purpose, your identity and your plan for the day.
As sad as it is, on days like this I tend to think about what it was like before kids. When it was easy to stroll out of the house and think nothing of treating yourself to a manicure or spend hours searching for healthy new recipes and not think twice about what you’d make the toddler instead because she’s a picky eater or feck it even consider doing an online degree because you had the time. So who’s going to sign up for an online mba no gmat aacsb – hats off to my those I know who are studying for their masters with a toddler running around because I know how hard that must be. You know who you are and I salute you!
Luckily, I don’t get hit that often but when I do, boy does it feel like shit.
Right now, my world is so enclosed with being a parent but meteors hit my world every so often and knock me off course. Luckily, I don’t get hit that often but when I do, boy does it feel like shit. I know it’s a universal feeling and it’s ok to feel like this but is there a way around it, aside from piling in the car and escaping?
Look after yourself. Look after your mental health.
I’ve spoken about it before and I truly do feel as though counselling is beneficial. It worked for me and still works as I keep the principles I’ve been taught by my counsellor with me. If you’re looking for help but afraid to reach out, check out BetterHelp who offer online counselling.
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