Whether you are a new mom, seasoned mom, stay-at-home mom, or working mom, all aspects of motherhood can become isolating at one point or another. On nearly a daily basis moms have to pick their battles wisely and have their patience pushed past the limit of any non-parent. It is hard, bottom line. Most moms live in a state of exhaustion they aren't even aware of because it's been their normal for so long.
Unfortunately, due to the fast pace of the demanding world today, there isn't enough time to do all the things a mom is 'supposed' to do. Go out for a girls' night, practice self-care and mindfulness, even getting an hour alone is rare, because if it's not the children, it's the significant other. It feels lonely and isolated. It doesn't help that all over social media we see the portrayal of perfect motherhood. If that's the norm, you're the odd one out, who is going to understand what you're going through? Who do you turn to?
You're Not Alone Mom (Far From It)
The Western Journal of Communication performed a study recently. One hundred and thirty-six mothers completed an open-ended online survey. Results indicated that mothers felt an intense burden of flawless motherhood. They avoid sharing any challenges or negative thoughts and experiences. They only discuss victories. All the while, living a completely different life behind the screen and behind closed doors.
Saying a mother is lonely might make some people think, "What about their kids? How can they be lonely?" It's true, becoming a mom means never being alone again. That is not the same as being lonely, though. Being "alone" is physical. It means being physically by yourself. Being "lonely" is emotional. You are feeling alone or disconnected from others – even when they're right next to you, said Sharon Melin, MA, Outpatient Therapist.
Why Do Mothers Get Lonely?
Loneliness is not just for new moms though. Let's be clear, mothers can struggle with feeling isolated at any point in motherhood, and it may come and go a few times.
- There may be limited adult interaction, especially for stay-at-home moms.
- Getting out of the house with a toddler can be difficult.
- The adjustment to different stages of motherhood can be overwhelming.
- Mental health issues can worsen feelings of loneliness.
- It's difficult to maintain friendships with friends that don't have children because they can't relate.
- Many moms won't reach out for help because they don't want to be labeled, like they don't know what they are doing, or can't handle being a mother.
- Moms often struggle with guilt over the way they're raising their children, whether they work outside the home or not.
How To Combat Feelings Of Isolation
All mothers are different and struggle in different ways, one thing that can help almost everyone though, is going outside. Breathe in the fresh air. According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, getting outside in fresh air is associated with increased energy levels. Other ways of combating isolation:
- Validate your own feelings: Mothers can try to accept they are worthy of feeling the way they do, instead of feeling they don't deserve to.
- Truly believe and understand you are not alone: Mothers can reach out on social media to any mom group and see immediately, they are not the only ones feeling this way.
- Do one thing each day, that is enjoyable: If moms can do more, that works too, but just one thing will help.
- Shower, get dressed, and brush your teeth: Getting ready for the day has the power to mentally make a person feel better right away.
- Build a circle of people: It doesn't need to be a big circle. It can be 2 or 3 people. Just have people. Even online people.
- Use social media the right way: Basically, if mothers can try to see past all the posts about perfect motherhood, and know it's not always perfect for everyone, it will help a great deal.
- If nothing else, talk to your doctor: If things just are not getting better, mothers might want to reach out to their doctor for guidance.