Humans are social creatures. Extroverts, introverts, vertebrates and even Virgos need human interaction on a regular basis. So this is why I’ve struggled being a stay-at-home mom. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that it’s one of the hardest jobs in the land.
For the first few years of raising my daughters, it was enjoyable spending time with my sweet, creative girls who were borne 14 months apart. Teaching them how to be respectful, kind human beings who also appreciate art, music, science and language arts was mostly great. Early Mom-dom was such a rewarding time, but with two dancing, singing, playing children always underfoot, I must admit I was fond of naptime.
In fact, I remember not being too upset to take them to half-day preschool. A mommy break was just what I needed, or so I thought. Then all of a sudden it was full-day kindergarten, and then both daughters were in school all day. Now I could write my first novel, another stage play, or Pottery Barn the heck out of my home. Alas, none of these ever happened. I’m sure I had the time, but other important distractions seemed to take over.
While the girls were in school, I attempted to search for time to spend with friends. Unfortunately, as many stay-at-home parents know, this can be difficult. Everyone is so busy with important other distractions, they don’t take the occasion to interact with other humans.
Insert the most recent international plague of the decade… sheer loneliness.
I recently read “Braving the Wilderness,” by Brene Brown. She writes of her research on society, and how due to social media, cell phones and easy computer access, we are becoming just “a bunch of lonely people existing.“ She also writes, “We are divided from others in almost every area of our lives… we’re disconnected, afraid and lonely.”
Brown says this behavior is putting us in a “collective spiritual crisis.”
How can you be lonely when most therapists and medical experts say it’s essential that parents find quality time for themselves? Isn’t that what alone time is? According to Brown’s research, experts should add quality time interacting with friends and family be added to that advice.
No wonder I’ve felt something missing since my children went off to school. I was told to make time for alone time while they were gone, but that’s not what social creatures are built for. God gave us eyes, ears, the ability to laugh and the board game Headbands to bring us together for interaction.
Perhaps this is why I’m excited to start my new adventure in life. After much research, praying and professional advice, my immediate family has decided it’s best for one of my girls to be home-schooled this year. I knew it was necessary for her success as a student and her overall health, but initially I had a pit in my stomach worrying about how I would manage without my quiet time. After all, I’ve been having “me-time” for many years since the girls are in middle school. Would this shift of schedule be positive for me as well?
Well, if Brene Brown is right, this might be a great thing for both of us. I now foresee spending quality time with my daughter as the best medicine for us. The teenage years can be tricky, not only for kids but the parents as well.
I realize home-school is not an option or a good fit for everyone; but hopefully, ours will reconnect our family by building stronger relationships and trust. Who knows? It might help this mom’s occasional loneliness, too. A double win for the family!
Stacey Hatton is going a tad crazy getting ready for the new school year. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.