Loneliness is not a disease or an epidemic. It is neither a subject easy to discuss or define. It is definitely not a subject to discuss in social situations, among mother's groups at the playground or the pool, even though I'm pretty sure it is a common denominator among us all. An invisible link holding us all in place, the reason we turn to one another. The reason we reach out, blog, speak, smile.

I have plenty of friends and yet...
I have even managed to maintain somewhat of a social life and yet...
I try to go out once a week and have made friends with the other writers at the cafe where I go to work and yet..
I am not shy. Nor subtle. I am not a wallflower or the quiet girl across the room. On the contrary. And yet...

...Most of the time I feel lonely.

Unable to socialize as much as I would like. Spending my days taking care of Archer and then writing by myself.

I was warned of the loneliness that came with being a mother. The shot social life and fighting the crowds of faceless faces, the voices that sound the same, the park-life rich with cliches and clowns. I was told it would take some getting used to, waking up every morning, going through the motions. I was told to make friends, to get out there, to be around other mothers who might be in the same boat-- paddling the same seas. Like the first day of school with babies on our backs instead of Jansports.

I would never tell anyone in person that I feel lonely much of the time. And if you called me to talk about it I would change the subject. But staying home most of the days, alone with Archer. Most of the nights, in my pajamas at 9pm, face against the window, watching the world and the lights, listening to the music, the laughter, parties, people my age who can stay out all night, sleep in until noon.

I thought eventually I would come to prefer this life of quiet nights, that I sewed my wild oats, and experienced enough irresponsible years before my pregnancy at twenty-three. I thought, "I could use a change" and I could. I did. Except lately? I can't help but miss it. I can't help but miss breakfast with friends on the weekend at 1pm. I can't help but miss the loudness of nights and quietness of days.

And no matter how much I love my life and the people who are in it, I usually feel completely alone. And sometimes it's too much to bear without telling somebody or something other than paper.

Because I'm a grown-up, now. And grown-ups talk about their problems instead of masking them with makeup, elevating themselves with high heels and running off like a wild thing down the boulevard in search of old friends. In search of the missing pieces from yesterday and the companionship of something both new and exciting and old and familiar.



Scar | 3:56 PM

i love you. lets be lonely together.

Phoenix | 4:39 PM

You're not alone, I'm lonely too.

Not sure what to do about it...not even sure anything can be done. All I can say though, is thank god for computers. Imagine how lonely our grandparents must have felt at our age.

motherbumper | 4:39 PM

You are right, grown ups do talk about their problems but running away always seems more attractive. Grown ups take the hard way - because the easy way ends up lonelier in the long run.

Unknown | 5:05 PM

Great post - I can totally relate. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous | 5:21 PM

Phoenix speaks of grandparents and wonders how they survived without computers. Well, they did, didn't they, and so have billions of others who managed to hang onto reality and not crave the freedom that was kiddee school. Think of the craving for childhood (babyhood?) shown by the current crop of celebrities. They think the crowd will help. It never does, for we are all alone and that's fine.

OhTheJoys | 5:41 PM

I could almost recognize this about you in Chicago. We didn't talk much. I wonder if you could see it in me too.

Outgoing, yes. Friendly, yes. Connected, secure... not always.

Tiffany | 6:03 PM

I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and really enjoy it.

I can relate to the loneliness. I'm a monther of three, (got pregnant at 17) and wanting a fourth, and sometimes I think its just because I can't stand the thought of mine growing up and not needing me.

Anyways, I feel you.

Anonymous | 6:10 PM

Oh, god, so beautiful. I just read & commented over at Babble, too, but I had to say something here as well, because this post speaks to me so loudly. It resonates within the empty loneliness within myself, echoing, and I'll probably be hearing it tonight as I try to sleep.

Anonymous | 6:49 PM

I have been lonely all my life and it hasnt change since getting married and having 2 kids. I walk through life wondering when the day will come when I will finally feel like I have everyone I need.

I hope it doesnt come when everyone decides to leave.

Anonymous | 8:29 PM

I lurk here from time to time but I've never commented.

I just wanted to tell you how much this post resonated with me. Motherhood is a lonely venture, something that I found completely surprising. I always imagined pregnancy and motherhood to be the most exciting time. But I think that I've had some of my loneliest times since I became a stay-at-home mother.

Rainy and bitter cold days are not my friend. I'll go out in any kind of weather--just to get out. To see other people. But I won't speak unless spoken to, lest I be rejected.

Anyways, thanks for such a beautifully written post. I just wanted to say what a chord it struck with me.

Anonymous | 9:26 PM

Sometimes reading your blog is like that Roberta Flack song:
Strumming my pain with his fingers,
Singing my life with his words...
Telling my whole life with his words...

I feel ya, sister from another mister.
xoxo, Liz

Anonymous | 1:50 AM

Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk to you again...the words of that Simon and Garfunkel song have always been mine... We can be alone, and not lonely, or in a crowd, and all alone.

We get lost in our children, be it one or five. I think it's the re-making of a new identity that brings the feeling. I'm not *me*, anymore, I'm a *mama*.

You are every mother, everywhere...I think it just goes with the territory. Thanks for saying what we all want to say.

linda | 1:55 AM

Come to Portland, lady! You will have peeps and peeps! You can sit in your pyjammies anytime, and have breakfast at freekin' 4:00 pm with kid in tow!

Woman on the Verge | 4:43 AM

I too feel this lonliness and the occasional longing for the life I had before kids. I sowed many wild oats before getting pregnant at 22 and giving birth at 23. I thought it had been enough, and most of the time it was. The desire for it takes me by storm though, when it comes. I get lost in a tidal wave of jealousy of my friends who can still party all night, sleep late, have the quiet of an empty house to "recover" in. I stayed out until 5:45am this Friday and without sleep at all took care of my 2 kids all day. While I know I cannot live that life anymore and yesterday made me realize why, I still have to do it sometimes. I have to try...

Julie Marsh | 8:25 AM

"if you called me to talk about it I would change the subject" - me too.

Just because we're not talking about it doesn't mean we're not dealing with it. Time and introspection work too.

Anonymous | 11:28 AM


lonleymom27 over here in canada is feeling the exact same thing.

and it is lonely.

Jonathon Morgan | 12:22 PM

I feel like this a lot -- all of our friends are about our age, which means the majority of them don't have kids. There's plenty to talk about, and plenty to do, but there's always a part of me that feels just like this, too.

Consider this a hug.

Fairly Odd Mother | 12:44 PM

I'm 40. Waited til my 30's to have kids. And, you know? I'm still lonely. I can't believe how isolated I can feel, or how the days can just tick. . .tick. . .tick by.


am i the only one who doesn't feel lonely? sometimes i feel like the whole wide world is up my crack at all times, and all i crave is the tiniest taste of loneliness. even when i am all alone -- how i prefer to be mostly -- i feel so unalone, that it's almost utterly annoying. and i don't have nearly the rich social and outside life that you do.

wtf is wrong with me? how can i be lonely too?

oh, your grass is soooo green.

The Mommy | 1:31 PM

You may be lonely, but you are most certainly not alone. I have felt the same loneliness you speak of since adolescence and it hasn't gone away no matter how rich my life becomes. The chiildren, the husband, the friendships all almost seem to add to the feeling of loneliness because it doesn't seem like I should feel lonely with so many in my life.

Although I got pregnant at the time I wanted to, I am pretty much the only one in my circle of friends. I also work fulltime which makes making mommy friends very difficult. I hope some day I will master the art of loneliness so that it doesn't feel quite so sad.

Lisa Dunick | 2:53 PM

It's consistently amazing to me that motherhood can be so unbearably lonely even when you're surrounded by so many people--and even when, sometimes, you just want them to disappear.

Anonymous | 4:27 PM

I feel lonely on a daily basis. Surrounded by kids and confusion and sometimes my hubby, but still lonely.
I craze time to myself and then once I get it, I miss having people close by...

mexi | 7:02 PM

i think you just said something that i have felt but couldn't quite name. i thought that by having a child i would become part of some "community" of mothers...but what i have come to understand is that beyond superficial talk of schedules, routines and milestones, there's not much holding this community together. my hope is that i'll find that needle in a haystack out there and one mother i meet through my son will turn out to be a friend of substance.

Laura | 10:49 PM

I have an 18month'er.

I had a rare taste of no-kid-dom last week when my mom took Lily overnight. Hubby and I had no plans, nothing going on - just a leisurely night to ourselves. And you know what? It was kind of lonely! Too quiet.

I think parenthood and loneliness are a matter of context. When we're busy running after a squealing toddler, building blanket forts in the living room during the day - I'm never lonely. It's at night, after babes in bed and a lot of my other friends are out that I am.

I used to feel that same loneliness before I had kids, during the day.

karrie | 5:17 AM

I'm thirty five and sometimes still miss that life.

The loneliness for me is worst when I'm surrounded by friends who do not yet understand the reality of those early nights in pjs, or endless afternoons that drone by with nary a nap in sight.

Shawn | 6:22 AM

Lovely post and I'm so glad you wrote it. It just goes to show that we are all islands unto ourselves, floating side by side, yet never truly connecting. The thought amazes me.

I am terribly lonely, yet it's my fault that I do not get out and be more social. I think it's because, like you, I'm a writer, and most of my spare time is at the computer. By the end of the day, I just want to sleep.

I have to say, though, as social as my pre-mother life was, I was lonely then, too. Lucky for me I have realized that happiness is truly a state of mind and that I have more power than I think.

Anonymous | 9:41 AM

Our society celebrates indepenence, convience and self-sufficency. But I also feel that effects the personal relationship drastically.

Maybe we are meant to feel a longing? Meant to be members of a clan, a village, a family, a flock?

This feeling is our constant reminder that we can't- we don't have to go it alone- our motivator to reach out.

Anonymous | 10:05 AM

hey bec...wow, I was just crying in bed the other night telling KC how lonely this life is, and then I read your blog. so weird. it is so hard to have such a balance, it seems that it is all or nothing. either you are a crazy party animal, aka britney spears and never see your kids or you are a total dotin mother. why can't we find that equalibrium. it is so nice to read this because I am in the exact same boat...love you babe.

Anonymous | 10:06 AM

The loneliness and isolation that many women feel when they become mothers is exactly why Mothers' Centers got started over 30 years ago and why they continue today. I feel so fortunate to have found a center in my area when my daughter was only 6 months old - she's now 13. I have have made some lifelong friends and learned alot about myself and motherhood along the way. To find out more about where they are or how to start one check out www.MothersCenter.org.

Anonymous | 2:10 PM

Great post. I feel it too somedays.

The Flying Enchilada | 2:24 PM

God, I'm lonely. I thought it was me. I didn't think someone like you could feel as lonely as I do. You're right though. I bet most of the moms at the groups I attend feel quite lonely too, but put up a front.

Thanks for sharing, while I'm still lonely at least I know it's not because I'm pathetic.

kittenpie | 3:10 PM

As I think someone said above, it's not just the age thing. Motherhood as we do it here is isolating. Much of life as we do it here and now is isolating, but somehow, more so for grownups. Because self-reliance and independence is prized, but it comes with that price, too, the moments when doing it yourself means being all by yourself.

I was always someone who, though I enjoyed the company of others, also enjoyed my own company. While at home for a year, I liked the quiet rhythm of our days together, but at the same time... I never could quite figure out how to find others. It always seemed like I saw these established groups, a perfect circle with no space for me, perfectly coiffed and highlighted and fit mothers in their yoga pants with their bugaboos who already had friends and were taking their matching offspring out while discussing their new renovations. They just weren't... my people. We were my people, and so it was just us.

Unknown | 7:40 PM

even though, i'm older, supposedly wiser, and a mother of two little ones, i am restless, like all of the time.

while, i love my girls wholeheartedly, everyday, every morning, i feel a part of my creative side and "self" slowly fading. most of the time, i'm a part of a whole but not-so-much myself.

Anonymous | 9:06 PM

It's always overwhelming to me how I can be so, so lonely and yet I'm almost never alone.

Your post hit quite a nerve tonight.

Meanie | 4:50 AM

I think I mistook loneliness for postpartum depression the first time around.
The other day the girls were being loud and nutty and I was losing it on them. My mother-in-law very sadly remarked that one day they would move out and that I would give anything to hear their little voices fill up the house again (she has 3 grown boys). I guess there are all kinds of different cases of the "lonelies".
great post.

Anonymous | 7:10 AM

Just wanted to say that I understand.

Fraulein | 9:12 AM

Forgive the lengthy response here...what I found is that parenthood accelerated my alienation from some childhood friends who don't live close by, even though these friends have kids also, just because everyone's overcrowded schedules make it so hard to find time to get together. And then even when you do see people, it's impossible to have a real conversation because there is always a baby to be breastfed or a toddler screaming or an older kid needing help with something. Then before you know it, those friendships seem to diminish. This has made me feel very lonely at times in the past few years.

But I'm lucky to live in a town where there are tons of other moms about, and I find myself striking up conversations with people I run across in Dunkin Donuts and the library and at the local bookstores and on the playgrounds. I feel so blessed to have these newer friends in my life.

Also, this is one of the few upsides I can see to waiting to have kids until your mid-30s, as I did. I had my 20s and early 30s to just focus on me -- going out to bars and spending long days rambling around museums, having endless after-party gab sessions with friends in all-night diners, etc. I'm glad I had that time for me. Now I don't feel bad about devoting most of my time to my own family, since I had to wait so long to have one.

BOSSY | 9:45 AM

Bossy had her son at 23 as well. Worry not, you'll have your Second Coming.

(PS we're all lonely for stuff.)

ImpostorMom | 10:47 AM

I know exactly what you are feeling because I feel it as well. I find myself feeling sort of lost because I still identify with that younger, more carefree, less depended upon self. Sort of like I look in the mirror some days and wonder when exactly I became a grown up anyway.

Anonymous | 12:48 PM

Right on sista

Anonymous | 5:51 PM

I'm right there with ya here in NY. I sometimes wish I lived closer to you and BMC, hopefully that doesn't sound creepy, b/c you two ladies are awesome. I have a 21 month old son who has just started really talking and no mommy friends my age (26) so I definitely feel the lonliness.

Rachel | 9:13 PM

I know what you mean, I got pregnant at 18, got married and had my son 2 weeks after my 19th birthday. All my friends were busy in college, going to parties and I had a newborn. Most of the other Moms looked at me like a kid, it sucked so much, I didn't fit in anywhere. I tried a few "young mom's groups" but they were all mostly 30-somethings. Luckily with time people stopped seeing me as a teen mom and started seeing me just as a mom. Now I am 21, and I have my 2.5 yr old and a 3 month old. Life is still kinda lonely sometimes, but mostly it's pretty good having friends in both worlds.

Radioactive Tori | 5:20 AM

There is a line in a song that sums up my feelings on this perfectly...I'm never alone, I'm alone all the time. Those felings can and do exist at the exact same time for me. I totally relate, and love you for writing this out!

Sheena MarĂ­a | 3:12 PM

I'm a mother of two young ones (age 2 and 3-months) and I'm lonely, too. I think part of it has to do with: we spend so much time taking care of our babies, the house, our husbands, boyfriends, etc., but... who is taking care of us? Sometimes we need to be dependent instead of depended upon...

Anonymous | 8:58 AM

I love your writing and this post made me realize that I never feel lonely. I have a husband and a son and if they're not around, I can always talk to God.

Anonymous | 7:22 PM

Your post was beautifully written. It really touched me. I had my first child at 22, and my second at 28. I am married to the second child's dad. He has been a good husband, father, and friend. Still, I am lonely. My closest friend recently moved away, which made me realize that I hadn't bothered to make more. I don't miss the "all-nighters" anymore, but I do miss having close friends to hang out with and just talk to. Sometimes I just feel so empty. I feel so meshed with my children, that I don't know who I am when I am without them (or are asleep). Sometimes I crave time for me, but then I don't know what to do with it when it comes. Because I am ALONE and LONELY.

Anonymous | 6:50 AM

Hi, I've just stumbled upon your blog. Feeling kinda lonely now and starting to asking questions in my mind why do I feel this way. I'm a stay-at-home-mom with 5 kids, as a matter of fact, I knew the answers but refused to relate to them. But your writings have lift up some of my depressing moments and I agree with you . What a magic can blogging be. It's so nice to know you and the commenters. BTW, I live on the other side of the globe. Amazing!

Anonymous | 7:12 AM

I;m 50 years old, and still lonely. Kept having children to keep from feeling lonely, but still...that emtpy, "no one gets me" feeling.


Unknown | 1:26 PM

GGC, I'm wondering if this is just a part of the motherhood package. I was a world traveling, 2 degree getting, city living party girl- even marriage didn't change that. Then I had my son at age 31. He's delightful, he warms my heart and connects me to the earth in a way I never knew was possible. But I find myself lonely. Even having made mom friends. I'm thinking that maybe it has to do with my definition of myself and where I see my worth. It's changing from being the star of the show to being behind the scenes supporting the star. And it is joyful, and it is welcome, but it is still a huge adjustment. Maybe I expected to adjust sooner and with my son nearing 14 months, I'm still not quite used to it. Anyway, thank you for your post- just knowing that other mom's feel the same way I do makes me feel like I'm not crazy and I've learned that is half the battle :)

Sherie | 12:24 PM

I applaud you for baring your heart and soul. Yes, we are grown ups and we admit our hurts and face it with much courage. Thank you for sharing.

AlishaLoren | 4:11 PM

Thank you for your honesty - I feel like I'm reading my own story in your words. I'm really glad that I've also found my niche in parenthood now, just like you have, but those early days were rough. Thanks for talking about it.