Perhaps it’s because Christmas is over. I’m missing all the shoes lined in the kitchen. All the coats hanging on the back of the door. The sound of the kitchen door constantly opening and closing. The noise, laughter, and energy of a house full of people.
And now it’s just me and the boys, rattling around an apartment all afternoon with nowhere really to go, nowhere really to be.
I think it’s this contrast between ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ and the routine of everyday life that has reminded me that despite never really being alone, being a stay-at-home mother can be lonely.
It’s not like we can’t go out. We have a car. We have friends I could call. But after three weeks of holiday and still feeling foggy from jetlag, we decided to stay in today. Sometimes you have to stay in. Sometimes the kids are too tired and you all need to stay in, even though you know they’ll be running up the walls (quite literally in our case, before crashing back to the floor and screaming about the injustice of gravity).
And so I’ve spent most of this afternoon with packs of raisins in my hand, negotiating with two small children and wondering why exactly Christmas gifts that we lugged back halfway round the world aren’t apparently enough to entertain them for just a few hours just weeks after they unwrapped them…
So I’ve had company, yes.
But I’ve still felt quite lonely.
It seems strange to state that motherhood is lonely at times. After all, I can’t even go to the toilet with a small person breaking in and demanding sheets of toilet paper so he can block up the sink.
But that didn’t stop me breaking into a high-speed 5-minute monologue to the husband the minute he walked through the door, relieved for both adult conversation and the fact another human could listen to an entire sentence, without suddenly throwing himself to the floor or interrupting me to shout ‘SNACK SNACK SNACK!’ before attaching himself to my legs in protest.
The loneliness is something that surprised me in the early days of motherhood. I expected broken nights and hazy days. I didn’t expect the loneliness that came in hand with days in a giant villa with a tiny baby that, let’s face it, didn’t really do much back then. Nobody warned me about that at antenatal class.
I wasn’t unhappy by any means, but I craved adult company. I craved conversations. I missed my family and friends overseas. I missed pointless chats about last night’s TV while making cups of tea in the kitchen at work.
I’m not complaining and I don’t want anything to change. I adore my boys and I choose to spend most my time with them, despite the fact the extra dirhams would be useful if I chose to work full-time. But with two children under the age of 4, sometimes it’s a bit lonely.
I’m sure that all mothers of small children feel it at some point.
It’s a special, wonderful, memorable time in our lives.
But it can be lonely.
And on that note, I’m just off to talk some nonsense to the husband…