Webster's dictionary defines loneliness as sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned. Loneliness can also be defined as unhappy as a result of being without the companionship of others.
I'm not sure when it exactly happened. For me, it didn't just happen overnight. It happened very slowly, and then all of a sudden I realized I hadn't heard from anyone in days, weeks and maybe even months.
I thought a lot about many different aspects of being a stay-at-home mom before I took the leap. I knew I didn't function well without adults and outward motivation around me, but I was willing to take on the risk of the emotional toll.
I would not just be a mom of one, because I have step kids as well. With all of my step kid's activities, I knew I would make maybe a few friends. But, I forgot one truth about being a stepmom (and an active one at that), other kid's moms don't want to build a relationship with you. They want to become friends with your child's "real mom".
I don't say that with any malice intent. No mom has said one unkind word to me and other mothers are always extremely pleasant. But if we were really honest with ourselves, most people like to mingle with others that are similar to themselves. That's just kind of human nature.
I have yet to find a stepmom that is as active with their step kids as I am, so making friends has been a struggle for me. So long story short, being a stay-at-home stepmom has a whole other set of difficulties that I was a little naive about.
In my old life before babies, I had calls from friends and family all of the time, usually during my most busy moments. We would text or meet for lunch or dinner. Sometimes we would just hang out or just talk on the phone to catch up on each other's busy lives. You know, all of the normal stuff friends and family do. But now that my days are filled with cleaning, laundry, chasing a toddler, being a bonus mom and wife, the calls and texts have stopped. Not only from friends but from family as well. Everyone is living their own lives and since I am not close anymore, out of sight out of mind.
When I do see my family or friends, since I have no other outlet, I talk about my kids mainly. We talk about what we know and since lately that is all I seem to know, people are stuck with it.
Each and every day I get to see my sons and daughters grow up and learn new things. I love that I get to see all of their firsts. I don't regret one day of it, but I do miss my old life. I miss the interaction with others and the desire to be needed and not just as a wife, mother and taxi driver.
Before becoming a SAHM, I needed a certain amount of "me" time to refresh myself. And now, that hasn't changed. I still need "me" time but somehow many people mistake being at home alone with children, the same as having "me" time. Well let me tell you, it isn't. Most of the time I feel like completely isolated and alone.
I don't regret one minute I have spent being a stay-at-home mom. I feel so lucky that we are able to financially have me be at home, at least for the short term. I love every smile and pouty lip. I am extremely fortunate and I constantly need to remind myself of it. But, for an introvert with extrovert tendencies, this has been harder for me than I ever imagined.
So ultimately, I have to say that the loneliness is the hardest part of being a stay-at-home mom.
I have a few words of advice for women like me, those that have always found most of their self worth working outside the home. If you are considering becoming a SAHM, ask yourself these questions.
- Can we afford to be a SAHM?
- Am I more of an introvert or extrovert?
- Am I good at working alone, with no direction?
- Am I an organized person?
- Will my spouse treat me as an equal if I am not working outside of the home?
- Is being a SAHM worth sacrificing my career ambition?
- How long am I willing or wanting to stay at home?
- Ultimately, will I resent my children if I stay at home?
These are all very important things to think about when making the decision to stay at home. This is not a decision to make lightly or alone.
If you decide to take on the role of a stay-at-home mom like me (for however long), be aware that loneliness can hit you out of the blue. So I put together a few ways to fight the loneliness:
- Make a routine
- Get out of the house
- Find an outlet that is all yours
- Openly communicate with your spouse
- Find a mom's group in your area, in person or online
- Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor because loneliness can turn into depression
Loneliness may be a part of my life as a stay-at-home mom, but it doesn't define me. Each and every day I am blessed to watch my kids grow and blossom into the future exceptional adults I know they are going to be. Although there may be moments of lonely tears, the most meaningful tears are from happiness and laughter. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.