You’re Not Alone: Loneliness and Parenting
Parenting can feel like a monumental task, most because it is! Unfortunately, the main thing that can come attached to parenting is loneliness. Parents likely focus all of their attention and resources towards their children that they may forget to socialize, become lost as a person, or just in general feel stressed out and lonely. Although it may feel like it, you aren’t alone. In fact, more than eight in 10 mothers had feelings of loneliness some of the time, and 43% said they felt lonely all the time. Loneliness in parenting is real and it affects a multitude of parents everywhere.
Isolation and Parenthood
Aren’t all parents supposed to love endless games of peek-a-boo and cooking cold pasta for lunch? The reality of the answer is, this may be fun some days but missing adult interactions and having a moment of quiet without other obligations may just sound more tempting than hiding behind the blanket again. It’s normal and natural to feel isolated while being a parent, and it can happen even more so if you’re a stay at home parent. Don’t allow feelings of guilt or “parent shame” enter into your mind, you are doing the best you can with what you know.
Not only can isolation and loneliness as a parent affect your overall mood, it also makes you more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and burnout. It’s near impossible to give your best if you aren’t feeling your best, and this is exactly what it can feel like on a day to day basis. You may start to become more easily overwhelmed, over anxious, and over-think situations that possibly didn’t bother you in the past. These are all signs of isolation and loneliness in parenting and it can look different for everyone.
Overcoming Loneliness as a Parent
One of the best things you can do for yourself as a parent is ask for help. Many times (too many times) parents feel like they have to do it all on their own, and if they ask for help that means they’re failing in some way. This couldn’t be further from the truth, everyone needs help. This could mean asking a close family friend to take your kids to the park for an hour or learning to set aside 5 to 10 minutes at night to talk to an adult (your partner, a friend, neighbor, etc).
Furthermore, sharing your thoughts and feelings about parenthood and the loneliness you may feel can help release the tension you may be experiencing. Talking to a trusted friend or therapist can go a long way in getting things off your chest and renewing confidence in yourself. With loneliness, parents may often lose their footing, so to say, and feel a lack of positivity and strength. Practicing self-empowerment techniques such as journaling or words of affirmation, can help end the day on a note of warmth and self love.
Isolation during parenthood and loneliness as a parenthood is something many people experience. It shouldn’t lead you to feel guilt or that you’re not doing enough as a parent, because as humans we all feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Reaching out to a family friend, having the kids play at the park, or expressing self love towards yourself are all ways that can help you overcome lonely feelings. Talk with your partner about the thoughts you’re having throughout the day and don’t be afraid to seek comfort in their words or a therapist’s. Regardless of the methodology used, the most important thing to know is that you are not alone.
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