It has been really quiet in our house this week. #1 an #2 are away with their Dad catching some Canary Island sun, so it’s just been me and the demonic toddler rattling about together. It’s made me wonder why I ever yearn for my pre-children days. Days without children seem somewhat lonely these days.
Now, if you ask my Mum, or my sister something about me there is a high chance they will say ‘she hates being alone’. It is something I refute quite strongly because in actual fact, I really like being alone. I like my own company, and I like having my own space and I am really ok with being ‘alone’. I just mostly choose not to be. Before children I didn’t really like being alone, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I was in fact, lonely. Not alone. Big difference.
Yes, I had a job, I had a boyfriend, and I had a circle of friends. But fundamentally, underneath it all, I wasn’t living the life I wanted. It was empty in a way that meant the thought of spending all day doing nothing at the weekend filled me with dread. I absolutely wasn’t alone, there was always someone to hang out with, but I was lonely.
Then quite quickly #1 and #2 came along and suddenly loneliness was replaced with sleepless nights and toddler groups and all the ‘stuff’ that comes with having two under twos. And somewhere along the way I actually learnt how to be alone. Which sort of happens naturally when you end up divorced with two under twos. So now I am actually alone in the marital status sense, but not lonely.
This week made me briefly question if I am lonely again, happy to report that I’m not, just out of sorts without my big girls around. (It’s very very quiet). But I do wonder if having children sometimes just masks the loneliness, instead of curing it. We are all so busy, with work, and children, and ‘stuff’ that there isn’t really any time for us to be lonely. I have brief flashes of wondering if I’m lonely or just hormonal (happy to report I just have PMS), but then those thoughts are very quickly replaced with wondering if the toddler has eaten the hamster and why has it taken #1 over 45 mins to walk home from school. I’m far too busy loosing my shit most days to be lonely, so this week, with all shit still intact, it’s been a bit weird.
Life as a single/solo/co parent with 3 children is very far from lonely. There is always somewhere to be, and something that needs doing. Someone has to be at Brownies, or Athletics or tea needs made or I have a race to run, or work to go to. The people in my life also make it very hard to be anything other absolutely content with my lot. Whereas pre-children, if I went to the cinema on a Friday night then that was a busy week. Maybe the reason that loneliness escapes me is because I just have no time to be lonely. The thought of sitting in the house on my own before wasn’t a pleasant one, but now I really enjoy my alone time. Being a single parent, or just a parent really can be lonely some days, but that doesn’t mean you are lonely. Everyone has days when they feel out of the loop, or alone, or down. That’s perfectly normal.
I’m also quite lucky that my girls are still small enough that they won’t be moving out any time soon. But I do sometimes wonder what life will be like when they are gone, will the emptiness come back and seep into the void that they leave? I don’t think so. Life now is very different to what it was 8 years ago. Taking the time to realise who I am, and what makes me tick has eradicated the lonely. Sure, life will be a lot different when the girls are gone, but by then I’ll hopefully be floating in the Med somewhere drinking alcohol, reminiscing about the times when they all did my pigging head in day in day out.
So for now, I am going to appreciate the last few days before the mini dictators come home safe in the knowledge that I am no longer lonely when they aren’t here, that I actually just miss them a little bit and safe in the knowledge that come Saturday night I will probably have lost my shit at them all over again.