We are a trio, my sons and I. A fabulous trio, I may add, who jet around to Costa Rica during Thanksgiving break, stay up late watching Once Upon A Time, and have fun trying new restaurants. Table for three Miss? But of course!
There are inside and practical jokes. There are adventurous road trips complete with Doritos, juice boxes, and The Beatles blaring on the radio. There are profound talks on our tan nubby couch, or on the front stoop watching a early summer thunderstorm turn the sky into a hypnotic display of angry clouds and electricity.
My sons are my life, my heart, and my dates for weddings. Together we have formed a cozy, albeit loud trio, scooping up joy like cotton candy flavored ice cream, and finding magic in the mundane.
It’s a good life.
It’s also a busy life. With hallways littered with grubby Vans sneakers, and a refrigerator masked by lunch menus, volleyball schedules, and Dotism inspired art projects, there is no time to think, “How am I really doing?”
And that’s when it gets you.
Loneliness is a funny thing. It creeps in unwantingly, like sunlight through the vertical blinds on a Monday morning.
Sometimes it’s late at night, after the last crumb has been wiped off the counter, the last crusty fork placed in the dishwasher, and the kids are asleep in their bunk beds; their heads sweaty, bodies sprawled, faces sweet. You think, “Soon they will be grown,” and feel it.
Or it could be in the grocery store, overhearing a couple argue over whether they should choose frosty mint or mineral green accents for their master bedroom, and you wonder if you will be sharing a bed with your tabby for the rest of your life.
You feel it while scrolling through Facebook. Images of fun nights out involving copious amounts of cocktails fill your newsfeed, #girlsnightout #bestfriendsforever, and think, “Holy Crap! I haven’t had a best friend since C&C Music Factory was on the radio.”
It’s not uncommon for single mothers to reach for their children for companionship, or mask that nagging feeling of loneliness by staying busy with the kids. But not acknowledging uncomfortable emotions is like trying to ignore your overflowing kitchen garbage can; eventually it will spill over, leaving you with an even bigger mess to clean up. This can lead to anxiety and depression, yet there are steps you can take to help get you through some of the low points in the journey of single parenthood.
1.) ACCEPTANCE- One of the most freeing words in the English language, acceptance is the first step towards not only getting control back, but finding your way back to happiness. Feeling Lonley? Don’t fight it, invite her in for some tea and acknowledge, that yes, it does stink to feel alone but it’s not the end of the world. If the kids are with Dad this weekend, and you find yourself yet alone again on a Saturday night, embrace it. Grab that stack of Allure magazines that you’ve been meaning to read, light a few candles and pamper yourself.
2.) LOSE THE STRANGER DANGER – I hate meeting new people, particularly because I’m self conscience and worry if people will like me. Guess what I’ve learned? Some people won’t like me…who gives a rat’s ass!? The key here, whether you are searching for a soul mate, or a BFF, is BE YOURSELF! Sound corny? Here’s why it’s not. In order to feel connected to other people, you need to be your authentic self, otherwise you may turn blue trying to stifle your inner self.
3.) JOIN CRAP- Yes, there is laundry to fold, floors to mop, and bills to pay, but you can’t find friends or a love interest if you’re holed up in the house all day knee deep in fitted sheets and Marvel underpants. Does the your town have a book club? An Art club? An over forty dance club with a DJ who only plays hits from the 80’s? If it does go! And invite me too!
It’s a good life, this single mom thing. But even the most fabulous mom can feel the ache of loneliness from time to time. Because no matter how clever, cute, and lovable our children are, finding an adult, whether it be a partner or a friend who “gets you” can only enrich your already rich life.