Mom's So Lonely She Could Cry (And She's Not Even Alone)

The stuffed bear stared at me from across the couch cushion. Perched precariously on a chartreuse pillow, its sad eyes bored into me - and I felt for a second - like it could see into my soul.

I made a face at it.

Then I slowly turned away, looking forward for a few moments, then whipped my head around, willing it to move and let me catch it in the act.

It didn't.

"What, that all you got?" I said aloud to it.

Is this what I've come to?

This has got to be a new low.

Maybe it's the changing of the seasons and there aren't as many park play-dates or walk offers. Or maybe it's the fact that my son's been pretty sick, which has kept us cooped up within the four walls of the house, but I'm feeling pretty lonely.

And maybe that's just par for the course as a Stay-At-Home-Mom - or any mom, really.

Of course, I'm never really alone. But there's a big difference in being alone and feeling alone.

My conversations are not really conversations, just one word exchanges, "Dink?" "Food?" "Outside?" "Walk?" I try to use full sentences, but I have to admit, at times toddler-speak can be much more efficient. I even find myself hearing my inner monologue sounding less like me and more like my toddler's high-pitched, sing-songy voice.

Building bridges and zooming trucks through them, while fun the first six times because it makes my toddler laugh, start to drive me batty by the 15th time, and make me want to pull my hair out by the 38th time.

By the end of the day, I think both my toddler and I are bored with each other. Both of us throwing tantrums, mine in my heart, his on the floor.

I've heard moms say that because they're with their children all day, they "are never lonely!" I tell myself they must be lying or clinically insane.

And while I love my son more than anything, I'm amazed at just how lonely I can be at home all day with him and I. It actually started when he was just a newborn, creeping in on me in a way I didn't even notice, until it started affecting my other relationships - mostly, my poor husband.

And what I've learned, even in my very short 19-month-stint thus far as a mother, is that it is a normal feeling and it's okay. It is possible to absolutely LOVE and adore being at home during the day with your children, yet still feel lonely. I used to feel guilty about it, but the truth of the matter is, I love my son with every bone, vein, muscle, organ, FIBER of my body, but he's not capable of being my very best friend.

That's what play dates were born out of. That's what mom's nights out were created for. That's why date nights with your husband are not nice-to-do, they are a need-to-do. Moms need adult relationships. Moms need friendships.

I don't think any of us get these things as often as we need, let alone like. Because the fact of the matter is, in motherhood, kids take the front seat, while friends take the back seat. But we have to soak up our friendships for all they're worth when we do get time to invest in them. As life allows - in between the sniffles and laundry and belly laughs - we can remember that we can in fact speak in full sentences - paragraphs even!

But at the same time, we can't let loneliness steal the joy of this season we're in. Because usually, it just ends up with us feeling sorry for ourselves in some way. Breeding jealousy or anger or regret or guilt. Wishing for something other than what we're currently doing. Feeling emptiness from a lack of social life and choosing to dwell in it, rather than fill it.

But I'm here to remind you that there are plenty of things to fill that emptiness with. For starters, let's try all the tickles and snuggles and kisses and "Momma, you're pretty's" that motherhood is made up of.

This is a season. One I hear we will miss and wish we could give anything to get it back.

So have peace with the pull in your heart. The tug of loneliness pulled tight by the tug of joy on the other end. It is okay to live with both, because we know that joy will always be stronger and will always win the fight.

I think sometimes we moms feel like we must be the only person in the world that feels so lonely - so my hope is, that maybe - just maybe - after reading this, you'll feel a little bit less alone.

Don't let loneliness steal your joy momma. It is good and right for us to have time away, time to refill our tanks and come back to motherhood refreshed and energized. But it will never happen as often as we wish it to be. And so remind yourself, this is a season. A wonderful, weird, amazing, dirty, loving, exasperating, fun, crazy, incredible, marvelous, and yes, lonely, season.

And that is okay. That is normal.

You are not alone.

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  1. This is filled with all sorts of truths. Great post--I think a lot...if not all--SAHMs will relate. I know I did. :)

  2. Great post Laura, I'm not a momma, but I do work at home alone all day (telecommute) and can relate-- it gets hella lonely! I also live in a rural area and often don't won't see another person all day---outside of the post office clerk. I find myself talking to our two dogs from time to time, and text my Mom way more than I ever used to. :) My partner is around people/interacting with people all day so while he wants a little alone time at the end of the day I'm super chatty craving some human interaction---it took some adjusting to that is for sure!

  3. I feel for you! Mike is always like, "Whoa, give me some time to decompress!" after I verbally unload on him when he walks in the door. It's totally an adjustment being home!

  4. Thanks Sara - I'm glad you could relate!

  5. This is interesting and good for me to hear, because while I rarely feel lonely, I often feel kind of 'bored' (which isn't really the right word because there is plenty to do)...maybe I'm just searching for something fun and exciting to happen, like for my laundry to magically do itself so I can curl up in bed and watch Downton Abbey re-runs. For me it's not loneliness as much as the cycle of day in and day out...feeling like, are there really dishes AGAIN? Is the floor really messy AGAIN? So no matter what that feeling is for a SAHM, we all have moments where it's hard. And it we shouldn't let it steal our joy. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. YES to so much. I am not a stay at home mom but I felt lonely a lot during my maternity leave(s) (two babies). I discussed this with my other mom friends, who are SAHM's, and they said that yes they often felt that way too. So must be normal :)

    I want to also agree with the point you made that momma's need their girlfriends. I'd take it further and say that women in general need their girlfriends. Even when you're married to your best friends, it's still healthy to have friendships outside of your marriage.

    Great post Laura.

  7. Thanks for the great message in this post Laura! I am a mom to two little girls and although I do not stay at home with them, I work from home while my girls are in daycare. Even though I am on the phone a lot during the day, it can get pretty lonely! There are days when I pick up the girls and immediately need to go do something to interact with other people or be in a place with lots of people even if it is just going to Target :) Now that it is cold here in Minnesota, I will definitely have to make the effort to get out of the house to keep my sanity!

  8. I think sometimes I definitely confuse/call my boredom loneliness. I think sometimes they're kinda interchangeable? At least for me. Sometimes I'm not bored, I'm lonely. And other times, I'm not lonely, I'm just bored - with like you said, the cycle of the days feeing the same. I think it probably just depends on the person's personality? And you're right, there are definitely hard things for all of us and the message is the same!

  9. Ha! Originally that's what this post said - that "women" need friends, but I changed it. For some reason I wanted it to be more specific, but you're totally right, it's a female thing no matter what point of life you're in! Glad you could relate, and happy to hear I'm not the only one. :)

  10. Thanks Jennifer! I totally do the same thing - need to just get out and interact, even if it's the mall or grocery shopping! I hear you on the MN winters - definitely a must to get out and about and be intentional with friendships before it starts creeping in on my attitude. Glad you could relate!