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The loneliness was heavy, but as I sat there in quiet for the first time all day, I couldn’t bring myself to reach out to anyone. Why? Why don’t moms have social lives?
My husband was tired and had gone to bed early when the kids did. The solitude I found myself in was a rare instance and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself.
I often fantasize about being home alone for stretches of days where I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. But in that moment, I didn’t want to be alone.
I wanted a friend…company. I wanted a goddamn glass of wine and a deep conversation with another woman who gets how hard it can be to be a wife and mother.
But I just couldn’t grab my phone to text an invite. It felt like too much work. Too risky. I felt too vulnerable and too exhausted.
I got to thinking about the problem of feeling lonely but being totally unwilling to do anything about it. I’d been in this place MANY times before and shrugged it off as being in a bad mood or having PMS.
As I sat there by myself gulping down my glass of white wine and feeling like a fool for crying about such silliness, it dawned on me that I’m probably not the only mom who doesn’t have a social life.
And why the hell don’t we??
Here are some of the suspected reasons:
Especially if you’re a working mom, because you’ve already been gone all day. To take anymore time away from your family feels like a crime punishable by receiving the award for the shittiest mom in the world. Moms are trained to put everyone’s wants and needs above their own. So if your kids and your husband even give off a vibe that they don’t want you to go, your ass is staying home.
2. Our husbands either can’t do it or don’t want to do it without us.
He throws them in bed without the story, songs and back rubs and that just won’t work. He complains that he’s had a long day at work and needs time to relax- he just can’t handle the kids on his own tonight. He’ll do it, but when you get home, you’ll be spending two hours picking up the destroyed house. Sometimes it’s just not worth the extra hassle.
3. Moms are too fucking exhausted.
You’ve been interrupted too many times to count by demands for snacks, entertainment, band-aids and help wiping butts. There was no break between the office and the chaos of dinner time. You’re still thinking about all the shit you wanted to get done today but didn’t. When the text from your girlfriend pings, you’re almost afraid to see what it is. Please don’t be one more thing to do! You look, you want to see her, but you’ve got nothing left. Nothing.
4. Precious free time is used as alone time.
It feels like peace and quiet are rare luxuries. You can’t even take a shit alone. If the kids are occupied, the damn dog wants attention. Free time to do what you want seems like something that only happens in the movies. So when the miracle happens that you get some, you feel the need to stockpile that precious alone time and savor the opportunity to read a book, take a bath or finally catch up on your Netflix shows. The friends will just have to do without you…Game of Thrones just can’t wait any longer.
5. The kid’s social calendar takes precedence.
You gotta keep em’ busy or no one’s getting out of here alive. Play dates. Trips to the park. Running them to practice, games and rehearsals. Your kids get more social action than Justin Bieber. And it leaves no time for adult playing. Every minute is booked with kid activities that there’s none left for mom to have dinner with a friend.
6. OCD gets the best of us.
The dishes can’t wait- if you don’t do them tonight, you’ll go insane. All the laundry baskets are full and you can’t put off folding any longer. You want to meet up for coffee; you really do. But if you don’t take care of this shit RIGHT NOW, you’ll go crazy.
7. Other moms don’t have social lives either.
By some divine intervention, you got it all done. The kids are happy with Nana. You’ve finally got the night off! So many people to see! So many things you could do! You send out the bat signal- Ladies night out! But other moms don’t have social lives either and no one can go. This is the WORST! You’re excited and ready to get some girl time only to have your dreams crushed by the fact that all your friends are moms too…and rarely get the same night off as you.
8. Censorship is too much trouble.
If the stars aligned for you to actually see your friends, you’d still feel the burden of having to censor your conversation. You can’t talk about how great your life is these days- how awesome your husband has been lately- how you lost ten pounds and feel sexier than ever. That’s bragging.
Yet, you also don’t want to dump all your drama, vent about how your kids are monsters who suck the life out of you and confess that you want to run away from home for a week. That’s complaining and no one wants to be drug down with that crap. It’s just easier to keep all that to yourself…and stay the hell home.
9. Wait…I have to get dressed for this?
Socializing implies actually getting a shower…and getting dressed…and even doing your hair and makeup. Who has the time and energy for that?? Especially if it’s only to go out for two hours and then undo it all again! Besides, you traded in your high heels and little black dress for flip flops and t-shirts a LONG time ago. You’ve got nothing to wear anyway!
All these reasons make perfect sense.
Moms have every reason to be tired…stressed out…yearning for alone time.
But the problem with moms not having social lives is that it makes life so lonely…isolating…depressing. Sometimes it feels like you have no friends…
…and then you start creating a story that no one likes you…and you don’t belong. (Read this blog post if you feel like you don’t fit in!)
Then you start picking yourself apart trying to figure out what’s wrong with you…which leads to self doubt and crying while you sit alone gulping down a glass of white wine.
Yes, we’re moms and we’re devoted to our families. But we were women first. We deserve to have time alone AND time with friends. Moms deserve healthy social lives where we can connect with other women and feed each other’s souls.
We owe it to ourselves and each other to have the kind of female friendships that allow us to be real and raw…to both complain about the shit we deal with daily and express intense gratitude for living awesome lives.
Moms deserve a night off, dammit…to sit together and binge on Netflix in silence or to hoop and holler together at the bar.
Most of all…we owe it to other moms to make time for them when they have the courage to reach out with a text asking to get together. We’ve all been there. We know how scary it feels to extend the olive branch knowing that the chances of getting a “Yes! Let’s get together!” are slim…because moms don’t have social lives.
It’s time we starting having them. It’s time we choose ourselves and each other. Because moms NEED social lives…and we’re the only ones who can create them.
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