A word reserved for the widowed pensioner. And with beautiful children to create endless joyous noise in a busy home, a forbidden word for mothers.
And yet. Loneliness is a real, albeit guiltily harboured, emotion amongst mums.
Surrounded by children, constantly needed, constantly busy, dashing between the school gates and the swimming pool, the dentist and the supermarket. Never alone.
I count myself lucky to be self-employed. I can make my own hours and fit work around being a mum. Many parents don’t have that flexibility and so I am grateful for my situation. I do miss having colleagues, however. My husband works long hours. He is a wonderful father to our children and provides for them in a way that makes me incredibly proud to be his wife. But we are often like ships passing in the night. One of us is opening a laptop as the other assumes childcare duties. Roles are then swapped as one of us heads off to a meeting while the other stuffs the rowdies into the car in a bid to make it to drama class on time.
Sustaining friendships as a parent is a task. I’ve always favoured quality over quantity in friends and so have a handful of wonderful, dear friends who I know would be at my doorstep in a crisis long before I would have to ask. However, casual socialising requires military planning and with geographical distance and the general busyness of life plotting against us, it’s easy to go months without a proper catch-up. My sister lives in London, my brother in Leeds and whilst my parents are only a 20-minute drive away, they have their own work commitments.
It would be easy to throw out clichés at this juncture. “Join a parent-toddler group!” “Go to an aerobics class!” “Invite a fellow school mum round for coffee…”
To be brutally honest, when I read suggestions like this, I cringe.
We are not living in a fantasy land of rainbows and daisy chains. It’s easier said than done to walk into any one of the above situations, not knowing a soul. Friendships are not always formed; sometimes there are impenetrable cliques already established; people don’t always welcome you with outstretched arms and a hand-woven friendship bracelet, ready and willing to be lifelong buddies.
I have no answers. Perhaps things will be less lonely as the children get older and want to discuss world news and good reads over who would win a fight between Owlette and Dr.Ranj.
Perhaps I need to stop moaning.
Perhaps I need to concentrate on how bloody lucky I am to have three hilarious, gorgeous children running riot around this house every day.