According to Merriam Webster, lonely is defined as "being without company." So often lonely comes with a negative connotation but sometimes it's just being alone - not sad or burdened, but reality. Just like being a single parent. This blog has been created to create a community of single parents who can journey through single parenthood together - the good, the bad, and the ugly; the laughter and the tears; the joys and the sorrows.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
When loneliness calls...
"Since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell Down at the end of lonely
street at heartbreak hotel I get so lonely baby I get so lonely, I get so
lonely I could die"
"Hey there, lonely girl"
"But only the lonely Know why I cry Only the lonely"
"Ah ----- look at all the lonely people Ah ----- look at all the lonely
Musicians have such an uncanny ability to bring music to the feelings that so many of us experience. Among those feelings...loneliness.
It almost seems uncomfortable for me to even say anything about loneliness because in writing this, I'm essentially admitting that, yes, I feel lonely.
Just the name of this blog references the loneliness that I feel like so many of us, as single parents, feel - the bouts of pain that we experience along our journey of solo parenting. Because even in a world where single parenthood abounds, we can still feel "singled" out.
The irony is that I've found that some people think we can't be lonely. I've heard (more than once), "I know you're single but at least you have a child." Unless you're walking in the shoes of a single parent, I'm not sure that you can really grasp this...but having a child is not the same as having a spouse. A spouse is an adult companion. And if you have children, a spouse typically shares responsibilities and participates in decision-making. But us? Well...we do it all.
For me, the sting of loneliness has lessened over the years. But I still get struck by it from time to time. Sometimes it even feels like I'm drowning in it. It mostly strikes me at night, when my daughter has been tucked in. I typically have the TV on for background noise in the living room as she's falling asleep; despite the noise of the TV, loneliness can still echo in my heart.
I'm certainly no expert, but in case you're wondering, here's what I do to ease the loneliness:
"Make new friends, but keep the old" (Sorry, couldn't help but throw another song lyric out there!) I'm a pretty outgoing person. For me, this one is simple. Other people might have to try a little harder here. But it's vital to have a good network of friends. People that you can call when you feel lonely. People that you can talk to about the loneliness. People that know you so well, they know you're feeling down-and-out before you even speak of it. People you can get together with and have some "grown-up" time (which I strongly believe we all need to keep our sanity!).
Cry. Ugghhh...I kinda hate this one. But sometimes we all need to do it. And so...I do. Not often, but sometimes the tears just have to flow. And when they do, sometimes I feel better afterwards. I just need a minor pity party every now and then. That's all.
Laugh. Watch a funny movie. Even better, watch a funny kid-friendly movie with your little one. I find laughter coming much easier when my daughter is in stitches next to me! Just the sound of a child's laughter is music to anybody's ears!
Talk to other single parents. Share your worries, your advice, your stories. Vent. And make plans to get-together sometime so you can combat the loneliness bug together! If you don't know any other single parents, make it a mission to find some! Not in a creepy, stalker sorta way...I don't recommend stopping just anyone with a child in tow that appears even remotely single. But keep your eyes and ears open, because believe me - we are everywhere! You could even check to see if your community has any sort of single parenting groups. I found a wonderful peace when I went through a program at my church in Louisville called DayBreak: Encouragement for Single Moms. And now, it's a program that I've had the privilege of helping to form in my smaller community.
Do something you love. I love to organize and to craft. Since my daughter was born, I rarely make time to do these things anymore. In fact, if you saw my house, you certainly wouldn't guess that I enjoy organizing! But I'm learning to make more time for these little things that make me happy.
Any other suggestions? What do you do to fight the loneliness?
And just for kicks, can anyone name all the songs that I've quoted? :)