To the Lonely Stay-At-Home Mom: You’re Not Alone
You’ve embarked on this beautiful journey of being a stay-at-home mom, but now you’re lonely and depressed. All of a sudden, it doesn’t look so beautiful.
The Idea of Being a Stay-At-Home Mom
According to verywellfamily.com, “A 2021 study found that around a third of all parents experience loneliness.”
I got introduced to the idea of being a stay-at-home mom around 2012. My close friends were SAHMs homeschooling their children – and had been doing so for many years.
They were good at it! An inspiration for sure.
They gave me so much advice and feedback from their experience. They gave me the benefits of being home with my children and teaching them.
They told me that not only would I be a part of what they were learning, but I would be able to work with their hearts.
They told me about the challenges of dealing with personalities and all the things I felt I needed at the time.
I was ready for the adventure!
But, they never mentioned the toll it would take on my mental health to be home alone with demanding children all day.
They didn’t tell me I’d feel lonely and isolated because I had no outlet to be social.
Do I blame them for not doing that? No. Somehow, it kills me to wonder if they felt the same way.
Yes, they were my friends (and still are!), but they were just so busy homeschooling and raising their children that it was impossible to meet all the time.
Don’t get me wrong – I had playdates with our friends. We had lunch at each other’s houses, we went to parks, and we ate out.
However, it was only on occasion. It wasn’t something that could get me away from feeling lonely. My day-to-day life revolved around my children.
I went on field trips with my children (and still do!), and I enjoyed every minute of them (and still do!).
I enjoyed myself while getting out, but most days of being home with whiny, clingy children drained me and made me crave adult companionship.
Please don’t get me wrong, I loved my children to pieces (and still do!), but at the time, I had to keep reassuring myself that I was okay; I was going to be okay.
I didn’t want to be vulnerable. I didn’t want to be judged for coming across as ungrateful.
This is something I wanted, and my husband and I worked toward this goal for years.
Mental health awareness has become more talked about in the past couple of years.
So much so that I can talk about this with confidence, which isn’t something I would’ve talked about 3-4 years ago.
The stigma behind stay-at-home moms is that we don’t do anything all day and are living our best lives.
I put my whole self and energy into my children and home most days.
If any of you know how exhausting that is, raise your hand!
Thank you! I know you all know how it is. Been there, done that, and you know what? I still have my days.
But the key is to pay attention to these signs and focus on your mental health.
I want to share these tips with you that have helped me come from where I was because I was far away from where I am now.
Find yourself again
I feel like it’s easy to lose yourself when you take care of children and manage older kids all day.
I certainly did!
So many things encompass those feelings of loneliness; it doesn’t mean you need adult companionship all the time. It may mean you need something else to fulfill that emptiness.
It’s okay to have the desire to do that, too. If you feel you have a purpose outside of being a mommy all day, try to fulfill it.
I suggest searching within yourself to see what it is that’s making you feel lonely.
Take time to jot down those feelings on paper. When you write down your feelings, goals, etc., it helps a ton. Write down how you felt prior to staying home.
What made me happy while working? Do I miss companionships? Do I miss working and checking off my work to-do list?
If you’ve always stayed home, what would you do if you had free hours without the kids each week?
Would you work? Would you volunteer? Would you find a mommy tribe?
Answer those questions, and set some goals on how you can meet them.
Don’t put it off. Try making it work as soon as possible.
Find Your Passion
I worked out of the home for almost 11 years, so I had plenty of interaction with my co-workers.
I enjoyed it, but I missed my kids.
But there was not that sense of fulfillment as I thought when I started staying home.
I not only felt isolated, but I felt guilt, too. Here I was helping support our income, and now I wasn’t.
I loved helping contribute to the expenses. I loved keeping my brain busy and challenged.
Something about changing diapers, cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling wasn’t fulfilling that.
So, that’s when I decided to find a way to work from home. It has fulfilled so much of that desire to feed my brain.
I feel more in control. I feel valuable, and although my husband doesn’t ask that I contribute to the income, it’s even more satisfying to have my own income to spend how I like.
Is it because you’re like me? Do you need something to fulfill that loss of being challenged like you were while working, or do you want to be challenged?
One of my best friends homeschooled her children for over 25 years. She never worked outside the home; she never went to college; she just stayed home and homeschooled.
Now, she’s fulfilling her dream! At 45, she’s going to college to become a nurse.
Change your routine
If you’re feeling lonely, it could mean that you’re doing the same thing day-in and day-out.
We get caught up in the mom life, that we forget to take a break.
Sometimes, breaking routines give us an anxiety that everything else will fall apart.
Take an hour to unwind once your husband gets home. Ask him in advance if he’d mind doing that once a week.
Schedule time to get out and do something alone on a Friday or Saturday. That could be a walk, going to the gym, or eating out with a friend.
You don’t have to spend every Saturday cleaning up and doing laundry. Try doing it on Friday, so you can have Saturday to get out.
Try batch cooking during the week or on the weekend, so you have extra hours to focus on something to boost your mood.
Most importantly, know you’re self-worth. Your kids need the best of you, and they won’t get it if you don’t put yourself in the best mental state.
There are going to be rough days, sure, but are you able to give them your best with the rut you’re in?
Make yourself a priority sometimes. Your positive energy should rub off on everyone in the home.
What do you do when you feel lonely? Share in the comments.
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