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Lonely Parents – Being A Parent Can Be Very Isolating
I lived for 5 years on my own before entering marital bliss. Had many meals, went to movies alone, holed up in my room reading and watching movies. I have always known how to be by myself. But becoming secluded with a family is an alternate experience.
No one talks about how lonely being a parent can become. You may know yourself before but after having kids you sometimes slowly lose the connections you had and sometimes yourself as well.
Before having kids, you are flitting around parties, going out whenever you want and having friends over at the drop of a hat. After the babies are born, well meaning friends stay away so as to give you space to adjust, so much so that the phone stops ringing.
The babies keep you on your toes and the words, “needs to be fed” and “needs a nap” have your rushing home. As they grow up, their random tantrums and exhausted crying have you wishing you had just stayed home.
Your friends who do not have children do not understand the urgency created by a restless child (on the verge of a tantrum). Friends who aren’t drama free are distanced from without conscious thought because you honestly do not have anything left to give to them. The few couples who do have children may be ones with whom your kids just don’t get along with and even if they do, it may happen that your parenting philosophies don’t match.
In the end, you end up with little to no friends with whom you can relax. Slowly, as the kids grow up you realize school, classes, birthday parties and chores leave you with no actual time in which to socialize.
It eats at you, this slow isolation that happened without you actually being aware. Humans are a social group. We need connections in order to thrive and in fact survive. Social media does not help as you see the best moments of other families enjoying their apple picking and parties.
You do not realize it is not real life but a real life that you see on screen. Everyone goes threw the same pains but do not care to reach out during them instead only coming to you with their joys.
You grow cranky and exhausted without those few precious moments with people with whom you just laugh and be carefree. And if, within that time your spouse has to travel for work, you end up being completely isolated without any adult conversation and no one to just express your frustrations to.
All of the above happened to me. To top it all, all my acquaintances and one of my best friends moved away. There was a period of 6 months when I literally scrabbled to understand what it was that I was going through. I grew listless, irritable, going through the motions, developing aches and pains that I couldn’t justify.
One day I realized it was no one but me that could get me out of this hole. Here are some actions I recommend before you reach that point where the seclusion begins to suffocate you.
9 Empowering Actions for Lonely Parents
Even if it’s a small win. Light some candles, make a dinner. Have an impromptu party with the kids. Do not ever let your kids be affected by what you are going through. Teach them the importance of living life to the fullest.
Find A Mission
There are many non profits out there that need people to give a helping hand. Find a cause to support. Use your talents in any small way to be there for those less fortunate. Even if it is just making cards or ornaments for the festive season, doing something for another less fortunate helps not only them but is good for your soul.
Pamper Your Senses
Walks and runs are good for exercise but more than that the fresh air, open spaces and silence is good for your soul. Going to the spa is not just a matter of luxury but your body being pampered reaches out to your mind to soothe it. If you cannot afford the spa, use at home remedies to invigorate your senses. Give yourself nurturing time. Dress up and go to town for no reason other than you want to look pretty for yourself.
Get a Baby Sitter
I cannot stress this enough. If you have no family or friends to assist, find a baby sitter in your community that you can trust with your children for even a few hours. Get out of the house by yourself, go shopping, read a book or if possible catch up with an old friend.
Pursue an Interest
You need to have a passion to feed your inner self. Writing, gardening, painting, find something that helps you grow. Creating something other than your children’s schedule for the day is extremely essential. Me time in which you are not watching TV or reading a book but putting something out there. Using your body and mind to create
Find Your Tribe Again
Reach out to your old friends. Make new ones. Many a times for no reason people just grow apart. Even if they do not have kids, even if your children do not get along, do not let it affect your relationships. Talk to the person at the park. Converse with others, learning what their life is about. Everyone needs someone, and maybe by reaching out for a coffee or a drink that someone could be you being there for them.
Step away from the social media apps. Switch off the TV. Dare yourself to not log into the accounts on certain days or hours of a day. The silence virtual and real, will force you to think up ways to occupy your time more productively.
Take a few moments to empty your mind of all the schedules and multi tasking clutter and empty it to let thoughts in. As we need air to breathe, we need our senses to be able to feel every single moment in it’s totality, something we rarely do in the daily grind that is life.
Be Your Own Friend
I realized I had become dependent on having a friend to be with when I was not with the kids. I needed to grow myself in a way that I could to appreciate. While being with my kids watching them play is amazing, having them with me had become a crutch that I needed subconsciously. Going out means going out for grocery or to run errands. Don’t just do that. Go out to do something that you love that is not connected with children. Spend time with yourself and the experience the world as it was meant to be.
Most importantly, do not feel you are ever alone. You just need to reach out, physically or metaphorically. And the universe will take care of the rest. Empower yourself to be your own friend!
Aditi W. Singh is a resident of Richmond, Virginia and mother of two who enjoys writing, cooking and choreographing events and dance dramas. Her passion is to help as many parents as possible in finding that fine balance of parenting, self and culture. She also works for the non profit organization Circle of Peace International and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.