I’d never really considered before how easy it would be to never really be alone but still feel incredibly lonely. Yet over the last year it’s a recurring conversation I’ve had with various friends in differing personal situations.
One friend was going through a low point in her marriage, which has since ended after they just grew apart. One day they woke up and realised they basically had nothing in common anymore. In that situation it’s not hard to see why there would have been a growing sense of loneliness as the pair of them drifted apart.
Similarly, I have heard hard working single Mum’s (and a single Dad I know) talk openly about the loneliness of being the only parent. And I get that too.
However, one conversation with another friend put a completely different slant on things. With a husband working long hours, her own career and two young children, she observed that, whilst she craved time for herself so that she could actually be alone, there were times in the midst of the full on chaos that exists when there are children around, that she just felt downright lonely.
Giving that some further thought I really started to see where she was coming from. As a mum in a very similar situation, I completely understand how you can start to feel lonely when virtually every waking moment is spent making sure that everyone else has what they need. In the low moments, which every Mum has – don’t believe them if they say they don’t – you start to wonder if anyone actually wants you for anything other than what you can do for them.
This crystallised for me recently when I was struggling to dress a cold, angry and tired toddler. She was angry because she was cold. She was cold because she had just got out of a nice warm bath. The bathroom door was closed and the heating was on. It was NOT cold. But she was so angry that she wouldn’t let me help her put on her PJ’s that had been warming nicely on the radiator!
There I was attempting to dress the toddler and restore the vital sense of calm that’s needed to ensure bedtime is as painless as possible. At the very same time I was pouring with sweat caused through the wonderful combination of wrestling with said angry child who was kicking and biting me whilst shut in a steamy bathroom with humidity levels that could rival the tropics!
I can’t lie, expletives were running freely through my head while I wondered if anyone would actually even notice if I just gave up and let her sort herself out!
At that precise point, all I wanted was a great big hug.
Thanks to ‘Hurrah for gin’ who has, once again, summed it up beautifully!