The other day I was at an Ontario Early Years centre for work. The place was packed with parents, Grandparents and kids. Some moms sat back and let their kids explore, others stayed right with their child. What I didn’t see was a child that was like my first. I didn’t see a child that moved from thing to thing, hitting and pushing and crashing other kids toys along the way. I didn’t see a kid that was swearing up a storm and finding a way to escape. I looked around and I felt longing, I wished that I had experienced what these parents were experiencing (I did experience a little with our youngest son, J, but I was also in the midst of trying to parent a very complicated child). The early years being a mom were quite honestly extremely lonely for me. I had (and still have) one truly great friend in town and she listened to so much of my angst during that time.I don’t know how she was there day after day. Meanwhile, people I thought were friends just cut me right off. One friend was a Psychometrist (a Masters degree in Psychology) and though we hadn’t been friends for long I was hopeful the friendship would blossom once I had a son the same age as hers. We hung out a couple of times and at some point my son taught her son the word “bad” as in “bad boy”. She was really upset about that and we didn’t really talk after she witnessed one of my son’s meltdowns. I really expected more from her, I thought because of what she did for a living that she would have understood our struggles. But this was not the case. The other friend to cut me off was someone I would have professed to be my best friend. We were friends for years and we were godparents to all 3 of her children. She co-hosted my baby shower with the Psychometrist. She watched my son for me when no one else could/would but she became convinced that we were not parenting him properly because if we were he wouldn’t be acting the way that he was. In a fit of exasperation one day after watching him she completely cut us off. It was a painful break up and I missed our godchildren but I had no idea how to make it better so I let the friendship go.
So there I was,with a swearing, kicking, screaming 3.5 year old and I had 1 friend in town. All my friendships from work fell by the wayside – that was as much my fault as anyone else’s. Reaching out to people seemed like so much work and I just didn’t have the energy after dealing with C all day. It wasn’t until years later that I really understood how lonely I was during that time.
It’s amazing how it still hurts after all this time. I wish I could go back and change how I managed those early years. He still would have struggled and I still would have been exhausted but it would have been good to not have been so lonely.