Alone but not really at all…
I had a burning desire to write to my local friends with young children the other day. This is what poured from my heart and the responses back have been overwhelmingly positive, with most of them saying they, too, feel lonely and isolated but also inspired by each other.
To my gorgeous yummy-mummy gal pals,
I’m writing this between doing dishes and washing whilst both my babies are having a day sleep. I’ve been wording this note to you all for weeks now in my head and just have to get it down before it enters the ether in my full-up mummy brain.
I just want to let you know that you all inspire me daily. It can be a lonely job being a mum, even when you are surrounded by the noise and chaos of children.
I often find myself doing the most mundane household tasks and thinking of each of you at different times. Even though we might not see a great deal of each other, I think about our connection as I drudge through washing bottles, wiping bums, hugging away tears and rocking (myself –just kidding) the girls. We are all doing it – or have done it – and we all have so much to give to each other in the sense of advice, inspiration, or just an understanding ear.
This parenting gig didn’t come with instructions, try as I might to find them in books etc., most of my knowledge has come from you guys as well as trial and error. I still stuff-up daily, and sometimes I even win a few rounds with the girls and with my own high expectations.
Once-simple trips to the supermarket, now tactical game plans, entail getting the appropriate trolley, snacks for the toddler, wipes for any strategic messes the girls throw at me and, of course, two dummies (aka plugs) etc. Sometimes even this simple shopping task seems all a bit too hard and I think of my inspiration. If some of you with three kids or more can do it – then what am I complaining about??
When I think about anything that seems just too damn tough being a mum, I draw strength from you all. We all have our battles and sometimes we just have to wade through them, other times we have to let the current carry us no matter how much we just want to get to the bank and lie the hell down!
I’m not sure when I signed up for part-time solo parenting but somehow, I find myself a bit lonesome up on the hill and I think of you guys maybe feeling the same at times. Whether it’s because your boy is working or playing away, working long hours, or just there but not really there… I’m with you. I miss not being able to just get in the car and drive down to the pub for a drink whenever I feel like blowing off steam, and I miss not having work outside of the house to have something else to bloody talk about!
In saying all that, though, I know there is light at the end of the tunnel and I can see that some of you are working/studying/just living lives outside of being a mum. Some are just having drinks with friends a bit more easily these days, and this makes me very happy! You are my hope when I am up to my elbows in the less-than-pleasant joys of motherhood. I will find ‘myself’ again one day – a new version, but just me.
You might be reading this and thinking ‘why would she send this to me? I’m just muddling along being a mum – I don’t think I’m an inspiration’, but you are wrong. We never give ourselves the credit we deserve. I’d like to give thanks to you for being my friend and for being in my mind and heart when I am putting yet another load of washing on, cleaning the highchair for the twenty-thousandth time, and kissing the scrumptious cheek of a once-crying, now-smiling bubba.
I think this is the toughest but most gorgeous role I’ve ever had, and I’m glad to be sharing it with you.
Hope this has brightened your day.
Much love always, Ails. xx
P.S. Here’s to sharing future chapters of our lives as grandmothers with you guys too. They say that ‘children come with labour pains, but grandchildren are pure profit’ – sounds good to me! xx
This is an excerpt from ‘Perfectly Imperfect: Raw reflections on body image, mothering, love and loneliness (that you don’t usually share)’ by Ailsa Robson.