Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Written by Racheal Kwacz
As fulfilling as it is, motherhood can sometimes get lonely, and this loneliness can creep up in many ways.
Sometimes the loneliness hits when your little one is throwing a tantrum and you just can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong, leaving you feeling disconnected from yourself as well as your child.
For career women with a fast-paced lifestyle, the transition to becoming a stay-at-home mom that comes with a whole new form of chaos, can definitely be a lonely journey.
When both you and your partner are busy juggling all the new challenges that go hand-in-hand with parenthood while keeping daily household activities running as usual, it is easy to unknowingly neglect each other. Although unintentional, the lack of interaction can cause both you and your partner to feel even lonelier.
Here are some methods that have worked to help me overcome this:
Take a Breath and Figure Out the “What”
I'm almost five years into this motherhood gig and I teach this for a living yet, I still have moments where I need a deep breath to recalibrate so I'm going to start with that.
Take a breath. Take a deep breath.
Then I apply the same three points on myself that I would use with my child to figure out the “what”
How do I feel?
What do I know?
What is the big picture? If I zoomed out, what would I see? What led to this?
How do I feel?
Acknowledging how and what I feel is pivotal because it helps me be honest with myself and work through it. Being able to identify how I feel also leads me to understanding why I may be triggered.
What is at the root of this feeling? Is it fear? Rejection? Isolation?
What do I know?
What are the facts? What is real?
Is my little one’s brain able to be rational right now or is she just hurt and panicking?
Am I reacting or responding?
Is this building a connection or isolating?
I realize that if I can uncover the reasons for her tantrum and my triggers, then I can really move myself into understanding and empathizing with what is perceived and what is real.
At the heart of it, I try to remember that we are a team and I am her leader. What is she trying to tell me? How can I help her? How do we come together instead of apart? What can I do to empower us to do better the next time?
It doesn't matter if you're a stay-at-home mom, working mom, work-from-home mom, kinda working mom or home business mom…it's all hard and it's all lonely because motherhood does get lonely!
It's isolating and many times, it feels like you're the only one going through it because you're in the front row seat of the real life reel vs everyone else's amazing highlighted life reel.
You feel like you're failing, you have no clue what you're doing, you have a billion different hormones surging and crashing with you and it is all new.
Something that I have to remind myself over and over and over again? Start talking.
Do life together. Talk to your spouse, other mama friends, non-mama friends, colleagues, neighbors, maybe even find an online group that can offer support and encouragement. Just start talking.
Be brave; share your stories and fears, the hard and the raw.
Vulnerability is your strength and you will find more connection when you come across people who are as honest as you are.
Sure, there may be people that might judge you or even try to use it against you, but those aren’t your people. Your people are the ones that say “me too”.
That are able to share this with you and remind you that you aren’t alone. But it can only happen if you are honest with the hard and share your stories.
Find your tribe, invest in your kampung, create a support system.
Motherhood does get lonely but you don’t have to do it alone. It’s terrifying to try and make new mama friends and everybody worries they’ll be judged but just keep talking, your people are out there and they’re just as desperate to find you too.
Plan, Protect and Prioritise
My husband and I have a rule that we learned very early was absolutely pivotal to our sanity as parents and it was time together.
I remember being a new mama and feeling like a complete hurricane had hit me - I was sleep-deprived, my boobs hurt, shell-shocked from a traumatic birth, isolated from everyone because we were in "confinement" and every night (or somewhere at dawn or afternoon or who knows in that newborn haze!), when Ella Grace slept and between feeds, my husband and I would just sit on the couch and enjoy a little brownie together.
It was so simple but it was life-changing. With that little time together, I felt seen, heard, poured into, but more importantly, he did too.
My biggest tip would be to plan, prioritise, and protect your date night. It's so easy for you both to get lost in the day-to-day, work, kids, family, commitments but I know that I am a better parent when I am a better wife which means making time to invest in my marriage. It isn't so much being perfect but it's just building on that connection because when our marriage feels supported and seen, we are a lot more patient, giving, kind, grateful, joyful in our parenthood too. There was two before three and some day, the little one will leave to build a family of their own, and it will and has always been about you both too.
The key isn’t to just make a date night which we all know isn’t going to happen because we wait till the stars align to finally make it. Instead, the key is to plan it, to prioritize it, and then to really protect your date night because stuff will come. It always does!
It's so easy to get lost in the day-to-day chores, work, kids, family, commitments but I know that I am a better parent when I am a better wife and that really means, making the time to invest in our marriage.
It isn't as much as being perfect but it's just building on that connection because when our marriage feels supported and seen, we are a lot more patient, giving, kind, grateful, joyful in our parenthood too.
There was two before three and some day, when the little one will leave to build a family of their own, and it will be the two again. It has, and always will be about the both of you first.
As for what to do? Mix it up! Have fun, play, go have a laugh together, have a romantic dinner, book a staycation in the city, go out with friends, the list is endless.
My husband and I are going to a stand-up comedy show tonight which is one of our absolute favourite date nights and has been even before we had Ella Grace. We've booked a babysitter with someone we trust, the venue is close-by so we can come home if needed, she should technically be in bed when we leave, and the most important thing we're going to do tonight is just to be present.
That’s really the secret.
Racheal Kwacz is a Child & Family Development Specialist, a Women’s Leadership Speaker and a Mama Tribe Advocate.
The creator of the ‘RACHEAL Method’, she combines her 20+ years experience working with children in the USA and in Asia along with the foundations of ‘Respectful Parenting’, leading parents and teachers around the world to raise kind, confident, compassionate and resilient little ones.
Racheal equips and empowers parents to grow through the different stages of parenthood without shaming, bribing, threatening, or punishing. Her upcoming one day intensive workshop "Respecting Parenting: Surviving to Thriving", will be held on the 30th November at The Stripes Hotel KL from 10am to 6pm.
For more information about Racheal and her workshops, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org