It’s Lonely At Drop Off
…and not for the reasons you may think.
The morning rush is hard. Getting everyone up, dressed, brushed, fed and out the door is a struggle most of us can relate to. My role in the morning routine for our family used to take place mostly at night. As a full-time working mom, who commuted into the city every day and was often home later in the evening, my way of pitching in was leaving the morning routine (outfits, lunches packed) laid out and ready to go before I collapsed into bed myself.
The actual dropping off, when I had the rare opportunity to do it, was the easy part. If I was lucky, I’d get a kiss and a wave, and they were off. Sure, I had the emotional twinge of thinking things for my kids like have a great day, be kind, be brave, I love you. But for the most part, it was what happened after the drop off that made things harder for me. And sometimes, truth be told, still does.
This fall, I took a huge leap of faith and made a big career transition. I left my job, my team and my colleagues in the city to pursue what had formerly been a part-time private practice and turned it into my full-time gig. I’m absolutely loving my whole new world, but am finding that now as a full-time working local mama…
I’m mommy-dating all over again and it’s hard!
Don’t get me wrong – I’m finding my tribe. I have wonderful neighbors and friends, and lots of acquaintances who I’m hopeful will turn into friendships. But sometimes when I drop the kids off, they run inside and us parents are left hanging around and walking back to our cars, I feel pangs of loneliness. I feel like an alien, finding my way among lots of ‘professionals’ who know what they’re doing so much better than me.
In many ways, I’m the New Local Mom On The Street. Sometimes I have people to chat with; make plans with. But other times, I walk back to my car all alone. I watch other parents talk, laugh and plan with their friends (or so I think) and I feel lonely, even envious, of the relationships and friendships that I have yet to cultivate.
I sometimes find myself thinking… “Talk to me! Walk with me! Commiserate with me! Let’s drink coffee together! Let’s walk the neighborhood sometime!”
Some days, it ends here. I get into my car, head wherever it is I’m heading and the thoughts swirl about and eventually they fade into whatever comes next in that hour. But other days, it happens. Someone does walk up to me or I walk up to them and we make plans. We compare potty training nightmares or exchange permission slips. I’ve had a conversation with someone!
And on some days I watch them get into their car too, and I wonder what’s in their head. What are they worrying about and where they are off to next…
Julia holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, advanced Clinical Certificates from NYU, and certification in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. Julia can best be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via her website www.therapywithjulia.com.
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