Motherhood can be lonely. It’s a hard time in your life where your friends and you all go your separate ways. They live the single life and you’re up to your eyeballs in poopy diapers and haven’t bathed in 3 days. You can’t ever get together with them because your priority is now the time you spend with your family. And, then your friends have to learn that your family is more important than they are.
You need someone to talk to but it seems like no one understands. Your friends think you’re complaining and how hard can it be staying at home all day? After all, don’t you just lounge around in your pajamas and watch tv?
Your husband doesn’t quite get it because, well, as amazing as he is, he just doesn’t see what you do. You try to talk about your day and the response you get is, “Isn’t this what you wanted?” Just because you are living out your dream doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its difficulties.
Motherhood can become especially lonely at all those hard stages…having a toddler, having a teenager, etc. You try to talk about how hard it is and all the other parents just say, “Wait until they are a teenager”. But, the problem is that those parents haven’t had a toddler in a decade. They can’t remember what it was like. I forget after only one year…then the baby grows into a toddler and it all comes back to me and I think why in the world did I want to do this again?!
I have been that mom so many times…the lonely mom. It’s not a great feeling. Here are some things to consider if you find yourself lonely.
Satan Wants Us to Be A Lonely Stay At Home Mom
Isolation is one of the biggest tools of the enemy. God created us to grow in groves. My pastor once told us this analogy and I think it’s the perfect picture of why God gives us others. If you look at a redwood tree, it’s one of the mightiest and tallest trees out there. Yet, it has one of the most shallow root systems. Redwoods are protected because they grow together. By themselves, they are weak but together, they can stand strong in the mightiest of storms.
Satan wants to bring us out of that protective grove where we can easily blow over in the slightest of winds. He isolates us by making us feel lonely. When we’re lonely, we further isolate ourselves.
You Have to Force Yourself to Reach Out
The last time I felt lonely, I let it go on for weeks before I finally reached out to a friend. She immediately made herself available and we went out to coffee. It took me weeks because I kept thinking about how nobody cared or loved me, “Don’t they see how I am not doing so well?” “Why are my friends so busy all the time, do they not care about me?” But, see, this was all the enemy’s doing. The more I threw myself a pity party, the more I isolated myself.
My friends are not psychic. I should have reached out right away instead of stewing in my self pity for weeks.
Next time you start to feel lonely, reach out right away. Your friends do care. Do you have a friend who prays for you when you ask? Do you have a friend who is your sunshine, who always cheers you up even if they have called you to talk about their own problems?
How to Decrease Social Anxiety
When I was a young mom, I would go weeks without talking to another adult (besides my husband). I would forget how to talk to other adults. But, it comes back quickly. The more you socialize, the easier it becomes.
I also have a lot of social anxiety. The thought of going somewhere and talking to a bunch of people I don’t know gets me so terrified my heart races and I start shaking. But, you know what I have discovered? Most of us moms are in the same boat-terrified of that awkward socializing with new people.
Years ago, I started forcing myself to socialize, as terrifying as it was. At bible study, I would sit by someone I didn’t know. When I go to our homeschool co-op, I get an hour off to do whatever I want. I force myself to walk into the breakroom, full of strangers, and sit down at a table of women I don’t know.
You know what has happened through me forcing myself to do this? I have met a lot of new friends. God has also used me…I have had quite a few conversations with these strangers that made me realize God sent me that woman. If I would have not forced myself to get over my anxiety then I would have missed out on that opportunity for God to use me.
If I think back to when I was younger, I realize all this forcing myself to socialize has also made it much easier. I still get a bit of anxiety but once I sit down next to that stranger, the conversations flow naturally.
Put Your Phone Away
The other day at our homeschool co-op, I was exhausted. I just did not want to socialize at all. So, you know what I did? I got out my phone and was on that for a while before I felt guilty that I was wasting time and went out into a quiet hall to have some quiet time. Smart phones have made it so much easier for us introverts and those of us with social anxiety to do nothing about it. We can so easily whip out our phone and everyone will leave us alone. Leave your phone in your purse or even better, your car. Avoid the temptation to hide behind your phone.
You were made to have that need to talk with others and to develop bonds with others. You can’t hide behind your phone or not force yourself to socialize and then complain that you have no friends.
Why Is Loneliness On the Rise?
Loneliness is becoming an epidemic. Searches about loneliness are one of the top searches on Google. So, why are we becoming a lonely society? I believe it’s because of a few factors.
We Isolate Ourselves
We’ve become a society that isolates ourselves. We used to value neighborhood block parties and spending most of our time on our front porch with our neighbors. Everyone’s front door was always open so neighbors could just come right in. Now, we get upset and ignore our front door when someone knocks. We stay in our homes, playing video games or watching tv.
We also isolate ourselves by being on our phones all the time. Our kids spend their time on the bus on their phones instead of talking with their friends. If you look at all the neighborhood kids walking to the bus stop, most of them are on their phones. If you look around in a restaurant, many people have their faces buried in their phones.
We’re Too Busy
Another problem I see is that we’re just so busy all the time, we don’t make time for each other. No one has time anymore to get together with their friends. Moms used to spend their days together. Now, in your mom circles, you’ll have moms that work all day or are gone running their kids to classes, sports, and lessons. For many of us, busyness can make us feel important or feel like our kids are important. I talk about my own struggles with busyness in How We Should Spend Our Time: Is Our Busyness Hurting More Than Helping.
How Can You Make Friends?
If you’re a young stay at home mom who feels lonely, the biggest thing you can do is pray. Ask God to send you some good friends. That’s exactly what He did for me…and He put them right in my neighborhood.
There are also groups for moms where you can hang out with others that are in the same phase of life as you. M.O.P.S. is one of those groups. You can find a group near you here. Even if you have a mix of small kids and older children, they have a group called MomsNext.
I also highly recommend going to the women’s bible study at your church. I have met so many women at my large church by going through bible study. They have been there through so many hard times, just listening and praying over me.