In motherhood, you are never really alone… you are either with your children or you’re thinking about or worrying about them. Even still, motherhood can make you feel like you’re alone.
What do feelings of loneliness and isolation look like in Motherhood?
Motherhood is something no one can prepare us for. The changes we experience physically, mentally and emotionally are beyond comprehension before experiencing them.
This can actually be part of the reason we end up feeling lonely - we feel misunderstood by our friends and peers who don’t have kids.
We get the impression others see as “whiny” when we talk about the struggles of motherhood.
But we also feel guilty, because we know that becoming a mom is a blessing and privilege that not everyone gets to experience.
Another factor that contributes to loneliness in motherhood is feeling like you’re not yourself anymore. When you don’t feel like yourself anymore, it can be hard to know where you belong or where you’re going.
Today we’ll talk about some strategies you can use to help combat loneliness and isolation in motherhood. But first, let’s look at what causes feelings of loneliness and isolation in motherhood.
What causes the feelings of loneliness and isolation in Motherhood?
- It feels like the weight of the world is on our shoulders (and our shoulders alone). The love we have for our children is intense. We give our all to watch over them and it feels as though no one else could possibly care for our children the way that we do. This can make us feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders in taking care of our little ones.
- We don’t feel understood (or we feel misunderstood). It can be difficult to explain the pressures of motherhood to those around us. There are so many unseen stresses we deal with, from booking doctor’s appointments to worrying about our child’s growth, meal planning, grocery shopping, meeting everyone’s nutritional needs, etc. Sometimes we try to explain our struggles and stresses to those around us, but oftentimes we still feel misunderstood or, at least, not fully understood by them.
- Our identity changes when we become moms. Maybe work used to be our identity. Maybe we were the life of the party or we spent our time doing extra-curricular activities. Whatever we used to do, we are no longer able to do it the way we did before having kids. This can cause somewhat of an identity “crisis” or the feeling that we’ve “lost” our identity. This can make us feel helpless, like these changes are happening to us. We will discuss below how to take back control and view these changes as things that are happening for us.
- We crave connection (but it’s hard to come by).
- We want to see people, but it’s harder than it used to be.
- Maybe they work and we don’t.
- Maybe our kids’ napping schedules are different.
- Getting ready is more work than it used to be. We can’t just grab our phone and wallet and walk out the door. Sometimes it feels like we have to pack up the whole house before we leave.
- We have to get a little human (or 2 or 3) ready and out the door too.
- Even when we are with people, it’s harder to get in real conversation. Our little ones need a lot of care and attention and conversations end up being interrupted a hundred times. Or so it feels.
In today’s society, we often live alone, apart from friends, family and neighbors. We pride ourselves on our space, yet it isolates us.
We were meant to live in community, and to some extent I believe we still need that.
What can you do to feel less lonely and isolated in Motherhood?
Find your tribe. Find moms that are like you. Don’t feel like you need to be the same as every other mom. I struggled for a long time feeling like I just didn’t “fit in” because I wasn’t the same as other SAHMs I knew. But that’s okay. There were other moms that I was similar to.
You just need to stay true to yourself and reach out. With time, you will find your tribe. Try joining in-person moms groups in your area or reaching out through an app like Peanut.
Finding other moms who have a similar life perspective to yours can help you feel understood, which is so freeing!
Ask for help. If you feel like you are drowning, reach out to loved ones and ask for help. No matter what they help with, it’s important that you don’t do this alone. They could help you with the baby, with household chores, running errands or maybe you just need someone to visit with or listen to you rant. If you have a partner, it’s also important to remember that the responsibility of raising your little ones should be a shared responsibility.
Prioritize rest. Whenever possible, try to make it a priority to get enough sleep. When we are tired, everything feels that much worse. It’s hard to think straight and it’s hard to be optimistic or hopeful when we’re tired. Getting rest can be challenging, especially in those early days, but it’s so important to try. Going to bed early, napping during baby nap times, when someone comes to help or when your partner is there to care for the baby.
Create a routine. It’s easy to feel lost when we don’t have routine in our lives anymore. It can make it challenging to get up in the morning and understand what our day will look like. Creating routine can help us feel like we have some say or control in our lives. Keep it simple and start small. Do things that will make you feel better. Try things like: making the bed in the morning, putting on clothes that make you feel good, doing your hair or makeup, having a cup of coffee or tea, going for a walk first thing, doing yoga or stretches, listening to music, working out, etc.
Dream and set goals. Even as a mom, it’s important to keep dreaming. Allow yourself to dream of the things you’d like to accomplish in life. And then, write those down as goals. Having a clear idea of where you want to go in life can help give you a sense of purpose. Make categories for your goals, such as: personal, relational, career and financial. Then break these goals down into weeks, months or years. Your goals may not look the same as they used to, but it’s still important to have them. Having goals will help you feel more focused and in control as you’ll be able to see where you want your life to go and what steps you need to take to get there.
Celebrate your wins. At the end of each day, celebrate all of the things you felt you succeeded at. Maybe you changed a dozen diapers, tried a new puree recipe or went for a walk - celebrate it! Maybe you got a nap in, met with a friend or simply kept you and your little one alive - celebrate it! It’s important to acknowledge the things you are winning at, instead of focusing on the things you feel you could have done better.
Silence your negative thoughts. Every day, we are bombarded with thousands of negative thoughts. Each time a negative thought arises, recognize it. Then try to change it to a positive one. By doing this, you will slowly change the way you think and develop a more positive outlook on life and of yourself.
Here’s a quick recap for you!
If you’re struggling with feeling lonely or isolated in motherhood, you are not alone. Moms everywhere understand your struggle.
With all of the changes and stresses that motherhood brings, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and alone.
Here are 7 things you can try to help you out of this rut:
- Find moms that you get along with
- Ask for help
- Prioritize sleep
- Create a routine
- Dream and set goals
- Celebrate your wins, and
- Silence your negative thoughts
I hope you have found something useful in this article. From one mom to another, I truly wish you the best and hope you can find your way out of loneliness and isolation in motherhood.