6 Tips for Coping with Loneliness as a Mom
If there's one thing that I fully did not expect about motherhood, it is the extreme amount of loneliness that I experience on an almost everyday basis. In an average week, I spend the majority of my time alone with a three-year-old. Morning and nighttime, thanks to my husband's crazy work schedule, I find myself in the company of me, myself, and I — and my four kids. And truth be told, it can be a pretty lonely place to be. I mean, my kids are great and all. But there's only so much of the little kid world you can take before you start to wonder if you're even a real person any more, you know?
Sure, I try to keep up with friends, but you know what? That takes work. And when it feels like I am barely managing to survive the day intact, with some semblance of a clean house, cooked meals, and laundry that isn't literally drowning me, taking the time to try to get out of the house and actually see other people seems like more than I can possibly do. Plus, there's the fact that I'd have to put on “real” clothes, most definitely a bra, and possibly even do my hair and makeup. (shudder)
And in the vicious cycle that is motherhood loneliness, staying home and being even more isolated because I can't seem to summon up the energy to make an effort only makes me more lonely and feel worse about myself and so the circle continues. Ugh. It would seem the only real solution to breaking the cycle of loneliness as a mom is dusting off your yoga pants and doing something about it. So I asked some real-life moms, who run the gamut of experience, for how they cope with loneliness in their mothering days. Here's what they had to say:
Use an app
Katie Van Brunt of Loyal, Loving, & Learning uses the app Marco Polo to “vent” to her girlfriends. “[The app is] like a mix between FaceTime and video where you can record a private video live, but your friends can watch it at any time,” Van Brunt explains. “I send them videos of my kids throwing tantrums and they send one back. It makes me feel like I’m not the only one in the trenches! But I also use the app to pray with my friends and share good news. It’s awesome!”
Help someone else
One thing is certain about loneliness–if you're lonely, chances are, there is another mother out there who is just as lonely or more so than you. So why not help both of you by reaching out to another lonely mom? Sarah Guerrero, a mom of three and founder of Stand For Mom suggests searching for a fellow lonely mom and finding a way to help. Nothing better to remind you that you're never really alone.
Keep it simple
One way to bust through loneliness? Keep it simple and don't overthink it. Whenever Braunwyn Windham-Burke, who recently welcomed her 7th child, is feeling lonely she makes a point to call her friends and organize a lunch meet-up. Full bellies + friends = a happier mama.
Start a mom group
Can't find a mom group to join to connect to? Start your own! “I started a mom group in my area when i had my first almost three years ago,” says Danielle Miller. “And now I’m surrounded by a mom-tourage of over 300. I keep it small so we can keep the drama out. We vent, we meet for dinners, play dates, and from May-October, we meet three times a week for walks and play dates at the local parks.”
We all know that social media can be risky for “connecting” as a mom. It's easy to get sucked into mindless scrolling and lose real-life connections to online likes and friends. But in the early years of motherhood especially, or if you're in a situation of special needs parenting or experiencing a loss, or any other type of situation that feels like it really requires connecting with other moms who “get it” online groups can really be a lifesaver. Jessica Bridges Watson of Four Plus an Angel notes that Facebook groups have “saved” her sanity. “Connecting with likeminded moms online always helps,” she says.
Nourish your spiritual side
With a husband who works out of state, Anna Kirklin is often lonely while keeping busy with her work as a photographer with Kirklin Photography and running the ship at home with her three young sons. So when she's feeling alone, she turns to a higher power (and her family, when she can) for connection. “My answer may not be the popular one, but it's what I personally do,” Kirklin says. “I throw myself into more prayer and daily mass. When I get lonely, I get bored, and I that can be dangerous, for the soul. So I make sure I spend extra time with God, kids, and my sisters and mom. Rosary every night, and lots of extra cuddle time.”