The 13 Loneliest Moments in Motherhood and What to Do About Them
The emotional rollercoaster that you experience during pregnancy is nothing compared to the ups and downs that you'll go through once your child is born. While you're surrounded by love and excitement, there are moments that can feel extremely helpless and isolating at every stage of motherhood — whether you're physically alone or not. From the first time a bully makes your child cry and there's nothing you can do about it, to when your child starts asserting their independence and begins needing you less, these are 13 times when moms feel the most alone — and what to do about it.
When Your Child Has a Major Public Meltdown.
In this dreaded moment it can feel like all eyes are on you — and against you. Instead of letting strangers' stares or your child's fit rattle you from being the parent you want to be, stay strong and remember that how you handle it now will set the tone for future meltdowns. People in the grocery store don't know the story behind the tears — that your child is normally perfect but was up all night sick and hasn't had her nap yet — and you shouldn't let fear of judgments dictate how you parent or view your own child.
When You Get a Call From School That Your Kid Is in Trouble.
Every parent will most likely get a call from school at some point during the course of their child's education. As scary, upsetting, and completely inconvenient as the initial call is, it's important to remember that you are not the only parent who has ever been
summoned to the principal's office. This is a time when your child is learning how to express himself or herself and potentially stand up for what they believe in. It's important for you to hold off on judgment before learning the story to show your child that you will support them but also reprimand them if they are in the wrong.
When Your Child Officially Becomes a Sassy Teenager.
Although it feels like a punch in the gut when your sweet child becomes a moody teen, it's essential to remember that this is just another stage of motherhood. Try not to take the attitude and disinterest too personally while also taking solace in the fact this, too, shall pass. Even if your other mom friends aren't admitting it, they are most likely experiencing similar rejection!
When You're Late For Pickup but There's Nothing You Can Do About the Traffic.
No parent is perfect, and running late for pickup happens. But it becomes 10 times worse when you're already feeling terrible about your tardiness, and then you get stuck in traffic or behind a slow-moving car and there's absolutely nothing you can do. Take a breath, because working yourself up over something you can't control isn't going to change the situation, and remember one of the best things about children is their willingness to forgive.
When Your Child Officially Wants Nothing to Do With You.
Way before children hit their teenage years they start to assert their independence and want to do things on their own. When your entire world revolves around the notion that your child depends on you for everything, giving up some of the constant connection can make you feel lonely. But instead of focusing on what you aren't doing together or what your little one doesn't want your help with, take pride in their accomplishments and independent spirit.
When It's Just You and Baby During Those Never-Ending Night Feedings.
When it feels like the entire world is asleep except for you when you're nursing a fussy baby, it can feel extremely isolating. You are tired, mentally and emotionally drained, and pretty much alone. Although these times can be extremely difficult in the moment, these late-night feedings will also be the uninterrupted memories with your baby that you will miss most as they get older.
When You're Off in a Different Room Breastfeeding While Everyone Else Is Together.
Some nights you start to feel like you've lost yourself. Especially when you're trying to socialize and people are more excited to see the baby than to talk to you, and then you're off in a different room nursing while everyone else is enjoying time together. Instead of focusing on the moments you might be missing out on, think about what your baby is gaining from your dedication and the attention of those loved ones.
When You Officially No Longer Recognize Yourself in the Mirror.
From the bags under your eyes, courtesy of the sleepless nights and the spit-up-covered clothes, you might not recognize yourself when you glance in the mirror. Instead of stressing about the things that you no longer have (like rested nights and feeling completely together), appreciate that this different version of you is thanks to your new title as mom. Everything is fluid in motherhood, and you will develop with your little one.
When You Lay Awake at Night Worrying If You Are Doing Alright.
Somehow the mom guilt, stress, and worry manage to creep in late at night when you're alone with your thoughts and insecurities. During these dark hours, it's easy to get sucked into the haunting self-doubts and comparisons, but these are also the precious hours that you can spend thinking about your little one's remarkable growth and the things you can change for tomorrow. While it's easy to overlook the tiny milestones and successes, they deserve recognition each and every day.
When Your Spouse Is Out of Town Either Temporarily or Permanently and You Realize It’s All Up to You.
Whether it's just you because your spouse is out of town or you no longer have a partner, this daunting time alone can also be empowering for both you and your child. Not only are you proving to yourself what you are capable of handling, you're also setting an example to your kids of how you recover from failure, prioritize, and offer unwavering support.
When Your In-Laws Start Criticizing Your Parenting.
While you would hope that you'd find comfort in having an extra set of hands around to help with the kids, when your mother-in-law or father-in-law starts commenting on your parenting style, it can quickly have the opposite effect. Even if you don't find comfort in their presence, don't let their criticism fuel self-doubt or any insecurity. Appreciate them for who they are and what they can offer, but also recognize their limitations and weaknesses. As soon as you remember that you are your child's biggest advocate and not them, their dings will sting that much less.
When You Realize That You’re Trying to Reason With an Infant.
New moms sometimes feel isolated when they are surrounded by a small child all day without any adult time. While some
adapt baby talk to communicate with their tiny audience, others treat their child like a small adult and continue chatting away as they would with a confidant. But you can run into trouble when both you and your child are melting down and you have the sudden realization that you're trying to reason with a baby. Instead of feeling pity for yourself, change your tactics in order to get peace. Try taking a second and remembering to set your expectations based on your little one's age and that tears come with the territory.
When Your Child Comes Home Crying Because of a Mean Kid.
The first time your child comes home crying because a mean kid teased them or left them out can be more upsetting for the parent than for the hurt kid. Your instincts kick in, and you automatically want to protect your child, but when you realize that you can't shield your little one from every bully, you can feel incredibly helpless. Instead of fueling their heartache, acknowledge their feelings and then use this as a teachable moment to learn how to recover from upset and as an example of the type of friend he or she doesn't want to be.