Parenting can be lonely.
It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to support the parent. – Alison Smith
Parenting can feel real lonely sometimes…
When my kids were little and I was a stay-at-home mom, I was seldom alone. However, when I had a rare moment with my own thoughts, I realized I was really lonely. Have you ever felt that way?
I missed being able to have a whole conversation with a friend without interruptions. I so craved interaction with other grown-ups that I found myself hoping for a chat with cashiers, the librarian, and anyone who would listen. Going for groceries alone became a treat, just so I could feel like a normal human again…and finish a complete sentence!
It’s so important for us parents to connect with others. Parenting is hard enough. The effects are amplified by feelings of isolation.
Sometimes we feel isolated just by nature of being home alone all day with little ones, but there are other reasons, too. I’ve got a friend who lives far from an urban center and most amenities which are life lines to a parent—libraries, shops, community centers… Living geographically far from others adds another layer to the challenges of parenting.
Even those in active communities or urban centers can struggle with feeling disconnected, though. Parents share with me how they feel like the only person in their world who is trying to parent in a more peaceful, respectful way. Like they’re the only ones questioning the mainstream rhetoric of punishment, timeouts and outdated behavior modification ideas.
It can be really hard to keep going. I know. And it’s lonely. A supportive community is critical whenever anyone is working on making changes in their life. Especially so to parents who are already feeling overtired, overwhelmed and lonely.
Knowing parents are feeling this way keeps me focused on creating solutions for them—even those parents who aren’t yet clients.
It doesn’t have to be so lonely, though. Here are some solutions.
If you’re feeling lonely spending every day with little ones, find some other parents in the same boat and band together so you feel connected.
If you live in a remote area, without friends nearby, look for a supportive online community to check in with so you fill that need for companionship. I’ve made some really great friends in online forums. It’s remarkable how close we are. In fact, sometimes it’s easier to open up to a new acquaintance thousands of miles away. There’s a certain safety in it.
Maybe you’re in a thriving community but still feel isolated. I encourage you to take a chance and reach out to others. Get real. Show vulnerability. Most people are good. And kind. And helpful. But they can’t help if they don’t know you need it.
What about if you have lots of friends around but they just don’t get what it is that you’re trying to do? Maybe they offer unhelpful advice that you know isn’t a long-term solution. You know the kind of parent you’re trying to be. You owe it to yourself to be surrounded by positive, encouraging people who are focused on the same growth goals as you. Find your tribe.
You will be amazed how many wonderful parents are out there, just waiting to connect with you.
~ Alison <3
Alison Smith is a parenting coach living with her family in New Brunswick, Canada. You can connect with her and find your community at www.alisonsmithcoaching.com/home