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Isolation

11/20/2013

Belle

Sabine loves her grandmas!

Sabine loves her grandmas!

My husband’s mother and his aunt, both of whom are referred to as grandmas, visited for a long weekend. Friday evening until Tuesday afternoon were filled with grandmothers spoiling the heck out of my kid. 

The grandmothers are in love with Sabine and spent most of the time playing with and holding her, giving me precious blocks of time to sit and do nothing but look at my lovely child. I thought I would do more, like cook, clean, paint and take a tub, but instead I enjoyed just watching, and having two free hands to pet my cats!

And then the grandmothers left and suddenly our 900 square foot apartment seems extremely empty… and lonely.

People had mentioned the isolation that motherhood brings and I always assumed these were mothers who did not get out. I figured the only way to feel isolated when you were a new mom was to avoid play groups and making new mommy friends, so I struck out as soon as we moved to New York and remedied this. I have awesome mommy friends, fun play groups, regular outings and more. I live in a walkable, exciting city that is brimming with free things for me to do with my baby.

What I did not anticipate how much my child would dictate what we do. Sabine is run down from a long weekend of grandmothers doting and playing. Her nap schedule is off. Her sleep schedule is off. She is fussy and unpleasant to be around. Because of this we missed play group. Because of this our morning trip to the grocery was not fun. Because of this I am sitting in my apartment, freshly showered but still in yoga pants, waiting for her to wake up and praying for a better mood so we can go to the library. So I can get out. So I can see other faces and maybe chat with some other lonely moms.

I am not complaining. I know that these early months are the hardest, and that as Sabine grows we will have more good days and more adventures. It’s hard to galavant through NYC with a four month old, you know? Despite this knowledge, I sit here looking out my big windows at the city below and feel so alone. I remind myself that tomorrow will be better, and that in a few weeks we will be heading to my parents house for Christmas, and in a few weeks after that I will start school, giving me some precious structure to my rather fluid weeks. The isolation, though, is still very real. I know that if I’m sitting here feeling this way, looking out at this big city, at least a few other moms are doing the same thing. So I thought I’d write about it and hope that together we can remember that this too shall pass, and that we are not alone.

To the lonely mamas, and the lonely future mamas, I raise my cup of hot decaf to you. This too shall pass.

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10 Comments

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  1. November 20, 2013

    I “liked” this post in a commiserating, “I’ve been there and am about to be there again” kind of way. You’re right that it’s a totally different kind of isolation when your days are dictated by a 10# crying human. It’s just…different.

    I hope you can get back into your routine and out and about soon!

  2. November 20, 2013

    Its really tough right now because it’s getting colder, and harder to justify leaving the house. I quit work two years ago this month, and those were the hardest months of parenthood for me. Hang in there!

  3. Prairie #
    November 20, 2013

    It is so isolating!

    I watched for the garbage trucks every Wed. I loved hearing the police/traffic chopper overhead. Both somehow made me feel less alone. I texted & emailed a lot.

    Since returning to work I have made a commitment to email my mat leave momma as everyday.

  4. November 20, 2013

    Oh yes I totally agree, and is a big reason why I returned to work part time. I started to feel that way even before I finished my 11 weeks of maternity leave. It is no fun. Shoot me an email anytime if you’d like: theresajpowers@gmail.com

  5. November 20, 2013

    So so true. In fact I’m going back three weeks early from my leave…part time…but I really need to get out!

  6. November 20, 2013

    People think we are crazy because we are very strict with scheduling, even (especially) with visitors and trips. All the older generation says things like “by the time [fill-in-the-blank-3rd-child] came around, I didn’t even bother with the scheduling!” blah blah blah. But we have had the run-down-after-long-weekend-full-of-spoiling thing, and it is no good. Even with the strict scheduling we still have issues for a few days after, especially in the sense that the babies want more attention than I can give them because they’d been getting 1-on-1 all weekend long and now it’s just boring old tired mommy who also has to cook, clean, and do the laundry during the day.

    People think we’re crazy. We get teased. And the “oh well I’m sure twins are MORE than twice the work” kinds of statements.

    But most of the people who tease us feel free to mess with their kids’ schedules and then drop them off at daycare the next morning! Most of them don’t have to deal with the babies that CRY ALL DAY LONG after a long weekend! And the isolation and frustration and hopelessness that comes with that! And when you have visitors all the freaking time, you start to dread Mondays, and get anxious, and then hate visitors, and then hate the weekends, and live for Wednesday through Friday when the schedule is mostly normal again and you have the best chance of having good days. Because most of the people who tease don’t seem to understand that a long weekend echos for days, and if you aren’t strict about schedules and sleep habits during those vulnerable days immediately following a disruption it can cause lasting bad habits that can go on for WEEKS (like the time we were waking up every hour on the hour for six weeks after a 10 day trip to my husband’s parent’s house!!!!!)

    Maybe that’s just me. And with Thanksgiving coming up, and not bringing the babies to any of the Thanksgiving meals because of our schedule, and the guilt tripping that comes with that…

  7. November 20, 2013

    Oh honey I’m sorry you’re feeling so alone. It will get better but for now I hope you can feel my love from the West Coast! Hugs!

  8. November 21, 2013

    The isolation of staying at home is incredible. It is hard to understand. Ive been thinking about this a lot, and there’s a couple of things that make it worse. 1. You’re actually isolated from YOURSELF, you can’t reach out and connect normally, because you have mummy brain so you leave sentences half finished and things unsaid so you can’t reach out to others. 2. It takes three days of “break” like you’ve just has, to feel a bit of normal, so two hours here and there just doesn’t cut it 3. So so so much is beyond your control. It gets better and worse when they are a toddler. Better, because they are more interesting, engaged and engaging. Worse, because the danger anticipation thing when you’re out takes up 220% of your concentration. I have no answers, only to say, I get it.

  9. November 21, 2013

    A year and a half in and I still feel that way. It is hard moving away from friends and family with a baby (or 2). Raising my cup of joe to you momma.

  10. jak #
    November 21, 2013

    errrrrrrrrr, i’d love some isolation at home with my baby. i’m glad to be working, but working from home and office alternating and trying to take care of baby and household and competitive career IS FARKING DIFFICULT. enjoy your time with the bean as much as you can, fussing or no fussing. i miss my baby like crazy when i’m in the office for the day (and no he doesn’t cry all day at day care, he loves it, even if he’s had a rough night, busy weekend, etc. daycare mom sends pictures during the day and says he’s the happiest baby she’s ever known, so at least that is good?).

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