Being a stay-at-home-parent is probably one of the most lonely jobs on the planet. I’m the founder and organizer of a playgroup of 60+ people, and I’m still so lonely that it hurts. The friends I have made, however invaluable, still cannot fill the void that has consumed my life without constant adult interaction. The fact that I am happily married to my best friend still does not console my sadness that inevitably shadows my being every now and again. Single persons in my position might turn to the likes of a london escort for much-needed company, but I’m not in their position. I already have a loving partner and a network of friends. Perhaps I just need to write out my feelings.
My loneliness is never so evident as it is when I’m having a self-inflicted panic attack. When the attack first strikes, I’m terrified of being ill. But then it warps into a weird and twisted sob-fest in which I unrelentingly flip through the catalog of friends, both near and far, present and past. I think of my childhood home and all the happy memories I have with my parents and brothers growing up. I think of familiar places, my friends’ homes and their families. I think fondly, and ultimately forlornly, of all the great memories I have in my life.
Throughout these episodes, I try to find solace any way possible. It’s usually through my husband. But sometimes he is sick of listening to the same nonsense over and over again. Which leads me to an even more chaotic state of upheaval. He is my best friend, my confidant. And when I don’t have him to lean on, I should have someone. But who? I again thumb through my mental rolodex of friends and family I could call, and cry and confide in, and no one comes to mind. I have but a few very close friends, a couple who I would consider calling that I know wouldn’t mind hearing from me in a fit of depression and chaos. But those friends have new lives now. It’s not the same as it was between us. And it’s so rare that we speak that my phone call, in my desperate time of need, may go unnoticed or ignored.
Which leads me to my belief that most of my panic attacks are self-induced because of my loneliness. In addition to needing friends and consolation in the throes of my despairing pity parties, I often contemplate returning to the workforce. I find it’s really hard for me to break the ice and be myself with new people or colleagues. However, I often wonder, is my state of well being slowly deteriorating because I’m stubbornly not going back to work because of an unfounded fear?
Thankfully, through my role as the organizer of my playgroup, I have changed and adapted and have become a completely different, more mature, person. You see, organizing and leading a group of 60+ is tough work. There has been many a time that I have needed help. Thankfully I have one very strong-willed woman up to the task of helping me to lead this group. It has been a blessing. There have been tons of times that relinquishing control has been scary, painful and nerve-racking. But being able to do so has shown me that I can trust other people to do things, too. Just because something isn’t done my way does not mean it’s wrong. It means that everyone is different and everyone does things a little differently than the next fellow.
In addition to letting go and not being so Type A to control every single aspect of the group, I’ve also had to step up and put myself out there in terms of meeting new members, speaking with managers and organizers of locations for our outings, and more. This, in and of itself, has been the biggest game changer for me. I’ve successfully stepped out of my comfort zone and have bucked up and *gasp* introduced myself to new people. I’m literally a whole, new me.
But through all of this, through learning about myself, making new friends, and teaching my toddler a thing or two about life, I’m still as lonely as can be. My boy can talk now, yes. And talk he does. He talks so much that I have to tell him to be quiet. I can have conversations with him now. But I’m still so lonely.
It’s fitting that my loneliness comes on the cusp of seeing two friendly and familiar faces from the past within the past two days. First, I bumped into an old friend from high school at the bookstore with Boo. He and his family were there, with his daughter who was born one day after Buggy. I wish I had more to say to him, as he is one of the nicest, most unselfish people I know, but I was caught so off-guard and seeing him was so out of place for me, that I was almost literally speechless. I could muster the niceties of socialization, but because his entire family was there, and because I was still trying to place him once I recognized his face, I fell victim to polite smiles and small talk. I hope he is having a beautiful life and that I bump into him again one day soon so we can properly catch up.
And today, Boo and I went to lunch with one of my best friends in the whole wide world. One of the people I could call and cry to and would never be judged. We met him and his wonderful girlfriend and had a really fun time. And it made me want to hang out with them all afternoon, and forget about having a clingy, whiney toddler to deal with…
Oh, to be a person again. With no responsibility other than myself. There are times that I so desperately want that again. I miss me. I miss driving around, smoking cigarettes, and listening to loud music. I miss sleeping in until 11, 12 or 1 in the afternoon. I miss my life!
But I love my boy. I love him to pieces. I would never change anything about my life with him. Maybe if I could just put him on hold for a day or two, and then come back and resume my life again. Maybe that would help. Or I could just do a better job at taking care of me, and giving him a much deserved, wonderful life full of happy memories, love, laughter and family and friends.
I miss my friends that were once so near and dear to me. I wish more than anything that the tide of change and the sunset of time hadn’t washed over our friendships. I wish I had done a better job at holding them close, and cherishing them for what they were.
I’ve already started righting some wrongs in my past. But I think I’m going to start doing a better job at never having any wrongs in the future. I’m going to make the best effort I can to take care of myself, stay in touch with my friends, and reconnect with old ones. I am considering reentering the workforce as well. A balanced mom is a happy mom. And a toddler needs a happy mom.
best friendsdepressionfriendshiphigh schoollifelifelonglonelylovemompanic attackparentresponsibilitysadstay-at-home-momstay-at-home-parentwell beingwork