Monday, 27 February 2012
The loneliness of motherhood
Some women take to motherhood like ducks to water, but I wasn't one of them. It doesn't matter how much you long for a child, it doesn't mean you won't feel the sense of loss for your old life. At times, it can seem like you are grieving, like your old life has gone and there is no way to get it back again. I think that these days, with the perpetual childhood so many people in their twenties and thirties seem to enjoy, it has become particularly difficult to adapt to being a parent.
One of the things a lot of people recommend, is going to these mum and baby groups. Now, I'm not against them per se, I know plenty of people who have met "friends for life" through these groups. Maybe it's because I'm not much of a joiner, but I have come to loathe those groups. I go to a select number very occasionally for the sake of my children. I always choose ones that are drop in, I never ever commit myself to groups that require a waiting list or where you HAVE to attend every week. I used to take my son to dance and music classes, but found the cost prohibitive, especially when I could attend my local children's centre for £1, he preferred going there anyway. The problem with these groups, as you might guess, is the cliquey-ness of them. The "in crowd" you thought you had left behind in school re-emerge as alpha mummies. That loud and brash breed who just take over wherever they go.
A few months ago I attended a post natal group at my local surgery. There were about 12 mums there with new babies. The idea was that we had a discussion about an issue, for example weaning. On this particular day, one alpha mummy completely took over, clearly loving the sound of her own voice. It got tiresome quickly so I started squeaking my son's sophie giraffe toy every time she piped up, made no difference though. I sometimes strike up conversation with other mums at these groups, however that is the last time I hear my voice....I then get talked at mercilessly for at least 20 minutes before I make my excuses and escape. Is it me?!
I guess what it comes down to is loneliness. I'm writing about it flippantly but quite clearly these mothers are horribly lonely. Motherhood IS lonely. Although of course you are never actually alone, the very nature of motherhood is very isolating as it is just so damn difficult to leave the house. And the thing is, these "friends for life" you make, you actually have nothing in common with, aside from giving birth at a similar time.
And I guess as well that this is also one of the reasons for the rise of the Mummy blogger.
As mums we are horribly horribly lonely.