MOTHERING AND ISOLATION When You Feel As Though You Are
‘THE ONLY ONE’...
BY: PINKY MCKAY
ave you tried talking about this in your mum’s group?’, I asked, Sonya, a mum who was struggling with an unsettled baby, a partner who worked long hours and no family close by. It turned out that Sonya felt very isolated, even though she lived in the city, within walking distance of cafes and her child health centre. She was anxious about admitting how tough mothering was right now because she believed everyone else was so ‘together’. Sadly, this conspiracy of silence perpetuates the loneliness of mothers – with everyone pretending they have it ‘all sorted’ there becomes an impenetrable wall that keeps mothers from reaching out to each other and becoming allies.
time we do have together.” Jessica’s solution is to enjoy playgroup and children’s activities during the day and ‘socialise’ on face-book at night when her partner is away. She says, ”At least I feel connected to the outside world. I can talk to adults, even though it’s not really in person, physically. And when Ben is at home, I switch off technology to be with him.”
There can be many reasons for mummy isolation – and you don’t have to be a new mother to feel like ‘the only one’:
Geography: You live in the country with no close neighbours. The scenery is pretty but you can’t talk to the cows. It may seem like a major effort to bundle your baby in the car and get out but you could be pleasantly surprised how much fun it can be – and who you might meet. Genna, a country mum says, “I drove an hour to my nearest ABA group. I am so glad I made the effort, I now know two other mums who live close to me and we are meeting up for coffee next week.”
Being single, but not single: You don’t have to be separated or divorced to be parenting alone most of the time. Many partners travel for work, leaving you to make all the big decisions and managing the day to day stuff of babies and small children without any relief for days at a time. As Jessica, a mum of two toddlers says, “ I can’t do things with my married friends at night because their partners are home and I feel I can’t be supportive to single friends because when my husband is home, I will ‘drop’ them because I cherish the short
Your parenting style: You don’t gel with your mums’ group because your parenting style varies. Alice says, “My baby sleeps less than the other babies but if I dare mention I am feeling tired, all the talk turns to sleep school. That’s not something I want to do. I don’t even want advice, just a bit of understanding without being told I am doing everything wrong.” Instead of torturing yourself, try seeking out a different group where you can vent safely and keep the conversation at your mums' group neutral, such as what toys the babies are
Peninsula Kids – Winter 2016