As I look around the dinner table, I sigh deeply, at the dishes with broccoli - still swimming in gravy, that my children never touch, empty juice boxes with dissolved paper straws, and, now ketchup stained place mats. My three little humans are asleep, and with what should now be significantly valuable 'me time' I can't help the feeling of emptiness that tends to surround me, around this time, every evening. I ignore the dishes, switch the kitchen light off, and head to bed. It's 8pm.
I can't remember the last time I got dressed up and went out for dinner or drinks. I have a few friends I could entertain the idea of doing this with - but as a mother, I just can't seem to find the time or effort to negotiate and set up plans with said friends these days.
Do you ever look back and remember the days when you just fell into friendship? The days you were less inhibited perhaps. Those magical years of innocence and freeness, that made it so simple to drum up the courage to seek others, exchange numbers and set up brunch. I do have the confidence to speak to others - my mind just blocks me suddenly like a red light and I ruminate through thoughts of 'what's the point?' 'I'll never have the time to meet up anyway' and just like that I'm back at square one.
Let's not even speak with the level of exhaustion that I face daily. Children who are constantly vying for my attention, a business that (as a result of children) only gets my attention during the hours of 10am-3pm. The cooking, cleaning, laundry, teaching, comforting, arranging, let me stop there. There is barely enough time to breathe between pit stops - so the thought of using my reserves to meet friends and socialise never gets the level of enthusiasm that it requires.
Although single motherhood-ness should not mean that I be completely disconnected from the world - here I am. At 8pm taking myself downstairs to bed - akin to a child. I know my children will not be young forever - I know my life will not be this way forever - I know they will grow, I will change, have more freedom and can develop further friendships as this happens, but for now, here I am, a single mother - and lonely.