When Motherhood Gets Lonely (on a farm or elsewhere)

One of my teachers had a rather sad explanation for the rash of teen pregnancies that cropped up at our high school. The theory: some young girls have babies because they don’t want to be alone.

Not so, I argued. Teenage girls wanted homecoming dances, cute clothes, cuter boyfriends and carefree fun. Not diapers and sleepless nights and spit up and more diapers. Back then I knew that a child was no cure for loneliness. As I get older, and I would like to think wiser, I can see that there are times when motherhood itself can be a lonesome proposition.

Being a mother is fantastic, amazing, soul stirring, and so many other wonderful things. But there are also moments when a mom can feel a little isolated or “too inside of herself.”

Heather Bryant felt the sting of loneliness when she left her career to raise her children full time, on a farm no less. Check out this guest post from Heather, aka Farm Mom, for tips on keeping loneliness in check.

Loneliness

Life as a stay-at-home mom can be pretty isolating. Most days we only get to converse with little people whose vocabulary consists primarily of “I want,” “Give me,” and the intranscribable babble that comes along with the demands of childhood. We aren’t out problem-solving with our co-workers or chitchatting at the salon. 

As a SAHM, I am at home all day changing diapers, wrangling a toddler and trying to keep the house in modest order while all my friends (including my husband) are off at work. In addition to this (quite typical) challenge of staying at home, I live literally on the top of a mountain. 

My nearest neighbor is over a mile away and, if I drive like a prohibition-era ridgerunner, I can make it into “town” in about 45 minutes. This past month we were without power for TWO WEEKS. I felt like a cavewoman. Even when the electric is working properly, I often don’t have access to the internet. Needless to say, I struggle with loneliness and depression.

Most days I think I end up scaring the grocery clerk and UPS man with the amount of small talk I try to coax out of our minutes-long engagements. Just to be recognized by another human being, acknowledged as a sentient creature and engaged in (somewhat) intellectual conversation is such a precious gift!

I haven’t always been this desperate for attention. Once upon a time I was a pretty successful businesswoman. I worked diligently and capably in an office (aka “the cube farm”) and spent most of my day collaborating with other businessmen.

Becoming a stay-at-home mom really threw me under the proverbial bus. It took conscious daily effort to reach out to others for interaction and support, to meet new people and join activities for my kids. In fact, it took a ton of research, trial-and-error and an almost dating-like persistence to meet the right women and organizations to build an adequate support system and social network.

Relief

Community has always been the answer to isolation. Although it took me a long time to discover the right community for me, I assure you that the right community is out there for every individual. All you have to do is find it!

Most places have at least a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. MOPS is a group of women whose sole mission is to provide mothers of young children with friendship and relief. They will hold your baby for you, babysit your toddler, play with your preschooler – all while you enjoy coffee and breakfast in peace with friends.

If not MOPS, try finding a MOMS Club, La Leche League (if you are a breastfeeding mama) or any other number of mothering organizations available through a Meetup.com search of “mom” in your zip code.

There are also a great number of online communities through FaceBook and social networks like BabyCenter. But I caution you to not get too caught up in online networking. Although virtual communication is great in a pinch it isn’t the same as interacting with REAL people – people who by the very nature of being present force you to be authentic, who can make you truly LOL, appreciate the desperation of your struggles and comfort you with a hug.  

Hang out with other women (IRL – In Real Life) at least once a week. Even if it is only a playdate where the children run around screaming. Even if you can’t hear a word of what the other women are saying. Get dressed, comb your hair and enjoy the fellowship. (Even if that means the kids are still in their pjs.)

Surviving and Thriving

I still struggle with the isolation and loneliness of being a stay-at-home mom, but I finally feel like I have the tools to be successful here and, like you, I am making it – one day at a time.

For more great advice and resources for surviving and thriving as a stay-at-home mom, check out my blog, “From Cube to Farm,” and book of the same title.

READERS: What are your tips for dealing with loneliness? Ever consider living on a farm? Have any of your teachers told you something that still haunts you?

About the Author 

Heather Bryant is the proud and loving wife of RockstarDad and the grateful mama of RocketGirl and BulldozerBaby. Although she had a career at the intersection of finance and technology, Heather now stays home on a farm to raise her children full time.

Heather recently published her first book, “From Cube to Farm: Surviving and Thriving as a Stay-at-Home Mom.” The book biographies her journey from the cubicle to the farm and is designed to help other women when they decide to pursue the career of motherhood as a full-time job. Her website and blog are also dedicated to supporting and encouraging stay-at-home moms. 

 

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About Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson is a Dallas-based freelance writer who specializes in college planning, parenting, women’s lifestyle, education, and self-help. But she's always hungry to munch on new topics. In addition to writing for The BookWormMama blog, Nicole provides content, copywriting and proofreading services for various publications.

Comments

When Motherhood Gets Lonely (on a farm or elsewhere) — 23 Comments

    • Great addition! No idea how I forgot this one. .. Although it could be that we have to drive 80 minutes to our church and we therefore don’t get there for all the events that I wish we could. I would LOVE to live near my church community because – you are right! – there is so much support there!
      Thanks for the comment!
      Mom @ Cube2Farm recently posted..Where to find FREE Preschool Printable PacksMy Profile

  1. Excellent post – being a SAHM can be so lonely and sad – I joined MOPs and a playgroup when my son was a few months old and it changed my life! I’m so thankful for those women – who’ve become my close friends. Thank you for sharing :)
    Rachel recently posted..Protect Your Skin with EucerinMy Profile

  2. I was a WOHM up until last November. I was definitely not ready for my new role as a SAHM! Believe me, I’m grateful for the time I have with my daughter now. She was in daycare since she was 8 mos old. I was always jealous of SAHM for getting to spend quality time with their kids! So here I was but I man did I feet lost! I was isolated, going through the emotions of losing my job and I definitely missed that adult interaction I had with coworkers. I’ve adapted to the transition and definitely make time for my friends. That helps break up the wk. My husband is really supportive of my girls night out! Facebook and social interaction helped to! Great article!!

  3. Thank you for your article! I had a hard time going from working full time and multiple jobs to being a full time SAHM. Having projects has really helped keep my sanity. That and finding a group outside of the house that I get to meet up with every other week or so. Social networking sites also help me feel connected to the outside world. Thanks again for a great article!

  4. So reaffirming! Being a SAHM is the hardest job I’ve ever had. There’s the loneliness, certainly, but there are also so many times when I feel completely unprepared. And I’m still waiting for my vacation and sick days to kick in… I was fortunate to join a couple of new mom groups after my little guy was born, so creating that community of women experiencing similar things at the same time has been invaluable to my sanity. It’s also provided a nice play group for my little guy.
    Lynda @ Rhody Reader recently posted..Byron BartonMy Profile

  5. Pingback: Loneliness – a Guest post at BookWormMama « From Cube to Farm

  6. Great reminder! I live in a rural community and can totally relate to how easily it can be to feel isolated. This profession is amazing, has tons of rewards, but isn’t without it’s challenges. I’m the leader of a group in our community for stay-at-home moms – we really believe that moms need to get out there and talk to one another. And it’s always easier to get moms together if we have something planned for the kids! Great post!

    And yes – farm life is definitely for us!
    Joanna recently posted..Imagination and Adventure Make White Raven ShineMy Profile

  7. What a great post! I live on a farm out in the rural midwest and it can be quite lonely at times, it just makes me thankful for my dear friends though. I’m not a mom at the moment, but I do certainly understand how children can make life crazy!
    RJ recently posted..Swinging from The TreetopsMy Profile

    • Farm life is definitely a whole different experience than I was expecting. It is a hard and lonely life on a farm if you don’t have the community aspect built in – either through co-ops, churches or family nearby. I thought I grew up in the country, but it was the ‘burbs compared to where I am now! :) Best of luck to you!
      Mom @ Cube2Farm recently posted..GMOsMy Profile

  8. What a great post. If it was not for MOPS, I am not sure how I would have survived the first year. I do live in a rural environment too and it is definitely hard to get out and feel less lonely at times.

    • So glad you found MOPS, Mel! It sounds like it has been a lifesaver not just for me but many women. It is so good to have that friendship and community – even if it is only twice a month! ;)
      God bless and good luck, lady!
      Mom @ Cube2Farm recently posted..GMOsMy Profile

  9. Sounds like you took it to the next level, Joanna. That’s so great that you started your own group for SAHMs! It must be nice to be surrounded by women who will support and encourage each other on a regular basis – not to mention fight the isolation and loneliness by being together! :)
    Best of luck to you and your team!

  10. Sounds like you made a lot of huge life transitions and did a great job finding some solutions to the isolation. Kudos to you for the great tips. I think the tip about not giving up if you don’t find the right group is really relevant, since not every organization is going to have people you click with.
    Beeb Ashcroft recently posted..Sweepstakes SaturdayMy Profile

    • Thanks, Beeb! The advice about trial-n-error is definitely from experience! :) Each group has it’s own dynamics, unspoken rules/etiquette and, in some cases, even it’s own theology/dogma! Finding a place where you feel comfortable, safe and encouraged is of the utmost importance :) Hope you’ve found a place where you are supported and loved!
      Mom @ Cube2Farm recently posted..Owl LessonMy Profile

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