Tuesday, May 5

The Loneliness of the Work-From-Home Mom

I sit in the darkened nursery, the curtains drawn, the Boards of Canada on the CD player, the Critter asleep on my lap: this is when I get my work done. There are days when the only other adults I see besides my husband are the strangers on the street and at the grocery store. Otherwise, I connect with other people mostly through the screen: e-mail, Facebook, this blog. I have the telephone numbers of a couple other local mothers, and I'm hoping to get over my natural shyness, call them, and make some "dates," however awkward they may be. In the meantime, this isolation cannot be good for the Critter. It's certainly not good for me. When did it happen that the workplace became the main nexus of community and companionship? In my first several months as a freelancer, I often got lonely, but nothing compares with the loneliness of a work-from-home mom with a Critter depending on her and deadlines to meet.

Like many other breast-feeding moms, I've thought a lot about this confused article against (or sort of against) breast-feeding that appeared not-so-recently-anymore in The Atlantic Monthly. Among the many things I have wondered in response to the article is where the judgmental attitude that the writer accurately perceives toward and among mothers—about all kinds of behaviors, not just breast-feeding or bottle-feeding—comes from. My sense is the villagers are anxious now that the village is gone and we're all out here on our own, creating whatever communities we can at the tot lot, through the Web, and over the phone.

2 comments:

Barbara said...

Here's a scary statistic that I can't source but I believe none the less:

A person needs to have 10 interactions DAILY with non-strangers in order to stay sane. Ten. So you owe it to your family to go out for coffee at the same place every morning so can increase your odds. I swim at the Y which has added a couple of people to my roster. (We work in a small office --myself and five other people.

How old is the Critter? Ours turn 8 on Sunday!

raerae said...

The Critter was born on 9/17/08, so he's just 9 months old.

I want to learn more about this need for 10 daily interactions! Do my interactions with a preverbal Critter count? Does saying "good-bye" to my husband in the morning and "hello" to him when he returns home in the evening count as 2 interactions? Does talking on the phone with one of my sisters count? (I assume that e-mail does not count.)