In the 18th and 19th centuries, American pioneer women spent months alone on the prairies raising their children, doing endless backbreaking chores, and protecting the homestead from countless sources of danger. Some of these women would go on to develop lifelong mental illnesses resulting from the continued stress and isolation.
While very few 21st century stay-at-home moms will ever have to deal with such harsh and extreme conditions, most of us have faced periods of feeling lonely and stuck. There are over 5 million stay-at-home mothers in the
Loneliness is a very common condition for stay-at-home mothers, particularly those with young babies. While loneliness in general is usually seen as "no big deal", it can become a big deal in the long run. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are high on the list of contributing factors for depression. It's important for stay-at-home moms to create schedules and strategies that make their lives more balanced and fulfilling.
Take Time For Yourself
It's no mistake that this suggestion is first on the list; most mothers spend everyday providing for the needs of others, and rarely take any serious time addressing their own needs. Sometimes a feeling of loneliness is rooted in a real disconnect from yourself and your own wants, needs and dreams. Doing a little work to get back in touch with yourself can be a good place to start if you want to eliminate loneliness.
It's not easy to find the time to meet your own needs when you have so much else on your plate, but it can be done. You might have to sneak in some time during the kids' nap or bedtime, or your partner can handle the little ones for a bit while you relax. Your "me time" can consist of just about anything that makes you feel good, whether it's a bath, reading, knitting, writing, or other pursuits.
Join The Fun
One of a stay-at-home mom's best anti-loneliness weapons is the companionship of other moms. Playgroups and play dates can fill hours that would otherwise be long and boring.
The first step to having regular meet-ups with other mothers is to find some other moms in your area. Mothers can usually be found at the kids' corner of the library, the park, the church nursery, and anywhere else children gather. Going to these places is a great idea anyway if you're feeling lonely, and meeting other mothers for future play dates is just an extra bonus.
Strike up a conversation with some other mothers and see how it goes. Like you, they might be looking for some companionship for themselves and their kids. Being the moms of young children, you already have a shared topic of conversation.
Another way to get out into the world is to sign up for classes at your local community center. Depending on your schedule and preference, you may want a "mommy and me" style class where you and your little one have fun learning everything from fitness to music, or you can sign up for a class just for you. These adult classes usually take place in the evening, so they might be doable if you have a spouse who's willing to put the kids to bed while you're out.
One great feature of most community/recreation center classes is that they're usually not very expensive, and you can meet other women there who share your interests.
The Internet is a great place to connect with other stay-at-home moms. You can chat, post, and blog to express your ideas and you can learn what other stay-at-home moms are thinking and doing in their own corners of the world.
The Internet is great for everyone, but has some special benefits that are perfect for those who are a bit shy or reluctant to approach people face to face. Online, you can lurk around a community that interests you to see if you would be a good fit. If not, you're on to the next one without ever having to say one "hello."
The Internet is an incredibly diverse world where just about every mom can find her own special niche. Do a search of online communities for stay-at-home moms (or moms in general) and it's sure to yield rich results.
Show Some Love
If you have a partner, be sure to make time for the two of you to spend together. It helps if you can get the kids on a predictable sleeping schedule so that you have your adult time set aside.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy; you can spend some time watching a movie, having a glass of wine together or cuddling on the couch. Talking about the events of the day can help you and your spouse form a greater appreciation for each other's jobs.
While you're both probably busy people who are tired at the end of the day, you should still find a few moments to connect and communicate.
Put Things In Perspective
If you're a stay-at-home mom experiencing loneliness, you might find it difficult to look on the bright side, but doing so could be one step toward feeling better.
Realizing the importance of your job and the special benefits that come along with it will probably help you see things in perspective.
The reality is that no job or lifestyle is perfect. Your friend who works outside the home most likely suffers lonely moments the same as you do. Your friends who don't have any children go through the same feelings as well.
Don't let negative perceptions of stay-at-home moms or societal pressures affect your self-concept or your ability to be the best mother you can be.
Everyone makes their choices in life and we all have the opportunity to make the best of what we have. If you take some basic steps to get some more socializing in your life and make an effort to keep a positive attitude, you might find yourself feeling more connected and alive.