Abby R. reached out to me this weekend with this question:
I’ve been feeling really lonely lately but I’m never alone. Never. I have small kids who follow me into the bathroom. I shower with the door open in case someone needs something so I can hear them. I drop my kids at daycare and pick up a fellow working mom to carpool (we work at the same job). I suppose when I hit the bathroom at work I’m alone, but it’s not a single-user bathroom.
I honestly cannot find a time when I’m alone.
I feel really alone, though.
Why is this? What can I do about it?
My Darling Abby R.,
First, can I give you a big, virtual hug? If yes, here it is!
If you aren’t feeling up for a hug, then disregard.
Second, it can be really lonely when you aren’t connecting with the people around you. Sometimes, work is just work. Kids are not our peers. It’s unlikely you’ll have a mature connection with them. As for your spouse, if you have one, it’s easy for each of you to get caught up in your own lives.
Now I have a question for you:
What do YOU need to not feel alone?
This might sound counter-productive, but from what I read, it sounds like you need ACTUAL ALONE TIME. You are spreading your time to everyone else but yourself.
How are you taking care of yourself when you aren’t giving yourself any attention?
Most of us can sneak away for 20 minutes to the bathroom with our phones. Little kids make that impossible. Even if they don’t go in with you, those adorable little fingers will be under that door in a heartbeat.
You can’t have a relaxing, rejuvenating shower with the door open. The heat escapes. You’ve got an ear out for “Moooooooommm!!!!!!” You likely feel time-crunched because you know the longer you are in the shower, the more trouble the kids will get into.
I can go through each point you listed to give you examples of how it’s YOU giving away every moment you have to someone else. But I think you’ve gotten the point.
Make time for you, then begin rebuilding personal connections.
Goody Readers, let’s help a fellow woman out! What advice would you like Abby R. to hear? Do you think the opposite of my advice would be better? Should she try to re-establish her connections with those who are already around her? Have you ever felt the way Abby has, never alone but lonely? I can’t wait to hear from you!
The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological, or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician, or mental health professional. This column, its author, The Good Parts of Life website, and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.