Is it normal to feel lonely as a mom? Do you feel lonely, isolated, rejected, and less than others?
Mom, I’m writing this to you, not because I have some secret formula that I have figured out to combat lonely weariness, but to share that, I too, understand the feeling of being a lonely mom.
You are not alone and there is hope.
Is it normal to feel lonely? Unfortunately, if we are answering that question based on the general population, then yes, many mothers are lonely. It shouldn’t be normal but solely based on the frequency, it’s an all too frequent occurrence.
A survey of 2,000 mothers indicated that 90% of them felt lonely!
Another study by the British Red Cross discovered that 8 out of 10 mothers who we under the age of 30 reported feelings of loneliness some of the time. More shockingly the study found that 43% of mothers said they feel lonely all of the time. 54% said they felt like they had no friends. To say that these numbers are heartbreaking is an understatement.
It’s obvious mothers feel lonely, so what’s to be done with it?
What is Loneliness?
Most likely we knew that bringing a child into this world, would alter and change our lives in ways we didn’t anticipate, but did we truly understand the depth of the loneliness that was ahead?
There is a difference between feeling alone and being alone. Loneliness is the feeling of being isolated or having negative feelings toward the amount of social interaction you are receiving. It’s not impossible to be surrounded by people and still feel the pangs of loneliness. In fact, being lonely as a mother may seem a little counterintuitive. After all, once you birth that child, at least for the foreseeable future, you don’t have many opportunities to be alone!
Your children want you and need you, but at the same time, you feel isolated and alone.
Loneliness is something that can affect any stage of motherhood, but it is very common in the early years of having children. As children become older loneliness can take other shapes. Children become more independent and their need for us lessens. As their independence grows and they need us less, we often feel a paradox of emotions. Our children are supposed to grow up and become independent, but the absence of their presence or need for us leaves us with feelings of grief.
Likewise, many moms with young children crave alone time, but once they get alone time, they miss their children.
Many mothers feel like their emotions are at war with each other!
The Lord is near to the brokenheartedPsalm 34:18 ESV
and saves the crushed in spirit.
The Lonely Mom
Why do moms feel lonely?
Bringing babies into this world changes our lives in countless ways.
- Our body doesn’t feel the same…like ever!
- Our interactions are limited, especially for the stay-at-home mom.
- Our careers may have changed, or we now work from home.
- Our priorities have changed…forever!
- Our relationship with our spouse may look different.
- Our friendships are forever altered.
- Our expectations of ourselves are truly unrealistic.
- And if we are being truthful, many of us struggle with mom guilt as our motherhood journey continues.
The list probably could go on and on. As different seasons of motherhood come and go, the list will look different for everyone.
A recent study found that loneliness is more deadly than obesity and it is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
4 Tips for Addressing Loneliness in Motherhood
1.Let go of unrealistic expectations.
I cannot state this enough. Your expectations of motherhood most likely are unrealistic. How do I know this? Because none of us can foresee the future, so whatever God has in store for your motherhood journey is going to be completely unique and beautiful to you and no one else.
Can I be honest, my expectation of motherhood, the motherhood I long for, is to be a stay-at-home mom. To bake sourdough bread every week, homeschool my kids, paint a white picket fence, and grow big gardens. Do you know what my reality is? My reality is that of a working mom. I work in the mornings, I have an office, and I drop my kids off at their grandparent’s house so I can drive to work. I long for the day that I can stay with my children, but God may never hand that to me.
God’s plan is always better than mine. God’s plan is always better than yours.
Your expectations of motherhood most likely look different than my own, but they are no less valuable. Motherhood is messy and chaotic, but it is also beautiful. Even when your expectations are not met in what your dream of motherhood was, remember what a gift you have been given.
2. Embrace the changes.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV
Some of you may have rolled your eyes when you saw that verse. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tends to be a bit overused to emphasize seasons of life. Yet, I continue to find it helpful. Your season of life will go through changes. Your motherhood journey will look very different on day 1 than on day 10,000. The key is to know your season and have the self-control to embrace it.
3. Don’t underestimate the value of professional help.
There is a time to seek professional help. It is normal to feel lonely from time to time, but if loneliness is just a symptom of a greater issue like depression, postpartum depression, or a trigger from trauma, I implore you to find professional help.
4. Turn to Jesus who understands and can relate to all our feelings.
One of the best things I ever did for my motherhood is read the book “Real Moms, Real Jesus” by Jill Savage. I had never before contemplated that Jesus truly understands and can relate to every emotion that we experience as moms.
What is the Solution to Loneliness?
Are you a lonely mom? Maybe you have read this far and are wondering what the solution to loneliness is. Being a lonely mom is not easy and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, I do have a challenge for you today. Make one small step forward. Your children are watching you. Chances are they know that you are lonely. Maybe they are lonely too. Be an example to them, and take a step forward to find community.
Take one small step forward to combat being a lonely mom. Make a phone call to a trusted friend and tell her how lonely you feel. Make a coffee date with a close family member. Maybe even go so far as to look up local churches that you can be a part of if you are not in one already. Perhaps look into your local ECFE program if you have one.
Are you feeling like a lonely mom? It’s worth the effort to find a connection in your community. And mama, you are not alone, chances are many other mamas are feeling the same thing you are. Press into Jesus, remember he is close to you, and go find that community!