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Loneliness and the SAHM.

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I realize that this topic has probably been visited before, but I need to dredge it up again.

Are you lonely? Well, I am. I have two boys-almost 4 and 16 mos. Being a SAHM brings up loads of different feelings for me each day. But the one feeling I keep trying to put my finger on, I think, is loneliness.

I have a playgroup that tries to meet 1x/week. My older son is in preschool 5 mornings/week. We have good neighbors that my kids love to play with. I have a few good friends who we try to see as often as possible. All that said, and I still feel all alone. I have no family nearby, and DH's family, although local, are basically uninvolved in their grandchildren's daily lives (we see them about every two weeks or so). I feel so stretched by my kids every day. So alone. I am a fairly social person, so I do not isolate myself. And I still feel all alone in this. And I guess I *AM* all alone.

I guess I just didn't expect to be here with these two amazing kids and still feel so alone. I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here. Just wondering if you feel this way, too. And maybe if we had more family or other interested parties in our kids lives I'd STILL feel this way. I just don't know.

TIA for sharing your experience.
post #2 of 41
I find myself feeling the same way sometimes. I think that the family, kids, etc. don't replace the sorts of friendships that I had before children. There are days when my only interactions are child-centered and/or with store clerks, standing in line, etc. It just isn't the same as going out with a girlfriend to lunch, hanging out at the beach with someone, etc. Currently I get the most fufillment from the friends that I'd have despite children (although they have kids too). With these friends I find myself talking about things that have nothing to do with kids.... It is pretty much impossible to arrange a girl's night out or something along those lines to just hang out. I don't get much chance to do that sort of thing though. Who knew that being surrounded by family you love would still leave you feeling lonely, KWIM?
post #3 of 41
When I was a complete SAHM I absolutely felt that way. I had very few friends who all worked, DH worked many, many hours, and I felt lonely. Somehow, even though there was always much to do, I felt bored as well. I 'fixed' the problem by going back to school PT, and honestly I feel much more fulfilled. I've made friends too. I have a very understanding husband though. I go to class when he is home so the girls never go to daycare. I refer to us as SAH parents now, if such a thing exists.
post #4 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaomiLorelie
I refer to us as SAH parents now, if such a thing exists.
I can relate to this. Even though I am "really" a SAHM (meaning that my job is my "me time") I have found that working at an interesting job, even though it is just six hours a week, really reduced that nagging sense of lonliness I felt. I am a shy person by nature, so it was hard for me to be socially outgoing without my job.
post #5 of 41
Is it really loneliness or missing adult interaction? I've had times I've felt this way, but after a long talk with my DH we realized that I didn't have any quality time with HIM. Make the most of the time you have together, and realize that every mom needs a break once in awhile.
post #6 of 41
I can totally relate to feeling lonely, despite being a very social person and having quite a few friends. For me, I think my issues are more about missing a particular type of interection, like Alkenny mentioned. Most of my friends are moms and we often end up talking about the kids or the parenting issue du jour, or stuff like that.

And I absolutely think my altered connection with DH plays a role. I miss him in ways I never knew I would. My focus for the new year is finding a baby sitter so he and I can regularly spend time alone together, out of the house, not in front of the tv, not at our computers... but together. I am due in April (our third child) and I know some of that will have to drop off while we are caring for a newborn again, but I don't want to just throw up my hands and give up on the effort of he and I connecting (like I did w/DD). It is vital to my health as an individual, and as our health as a couple. I notice when I feel disconnected from him, I feel MUCH more lonely in my day to day living.

I am hopeful for the future. This past year has been difficult and I am excited to bid it farewell. 2006 will bring us many changes (new baby, DD will start preschool, DH just started a new job that allows him to actually eat dinner with us as a family every night ) and I am excited about them. I have also learned many lessons about what I need to do to take ownership of my emotions and DO something about them (like finding a baby sitter). I am not so included to just say "I can't do it because of the kids". My new mantra is actually more like, "I MUST do it becuase of the kids." They deserve happy, thriving parents, connected parents.

We are also going to implement one night a week where both DH and I get an evening "off" to do whatever we want to do. I am thinking of taking a dance class, or learning to knit on my night off. I think it will help me feel less like the life is being sucked out of me by the monotony of the day in, day out of being with the kids all the time. I need to do something this is just for me.

I will also admit, sometimes I fantasize about going back to work. But in the end, I don't think it would make me happy. I feel so strongly that I need to be home for the children for now and I know I would feel amiss by abandoning that plan. I'm hoping some of the less drastic measures I've already mentioned will aleviate that longing I feel.

But yeah... all in all, I do get lonely.
post #7 of 41
Add me to the lonely list. I have a lot of friends and I email them as often as possible and try to get together frequently too. I absolutely love and treasure my days home with the girls and am always finding fun things for us to do together, but there is this nagging loneliness that comes from not having adult conversation, I guess. I'm not the type to pick up the phone and call someone although it does help when someone calls me and we can chat ... but I worry people think I talk too much because when I do get adult conversation ...

I think the winter is particularly difficult because we're indoors more. I know right now I'm also feeling the post-holiday blues a bit, too.

Hugs!
post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamameg
I have also learned many lessons about what I need to do to take ownership of my emotions and DO something about them (like finding a baby sitter). I am not so included to just say "I can't do it because of the kids". My new mantra is actually more like, "I MUST do it becuase of the kids." They deserve happy, thriving parents, connected parents.

I need to do something this is just for me.

I will also admit, sometimes I fantasize about going back to work. But in the end, I don't think it would make me happy. I feel so strongly that I need to be home for the children for now and I know I would feel amiss by abandoning that plan. I'm hoping some of the less drastic measures I've already mentioned will aleviate that longing I feel.
I can so relate to this! I just called a friend today and when she asked how I was doing, I said I was so lonely! I think I felt it even more today because DH and I had a nice connecting conversation this morning... it makes the contrast after he goes to work more apparent.

I've been eating chocolate like crazy to stuff my feelings of loneliness, boredom, anger, frustration, resentment, whatever!

I also get conflicted about leaving 17 mo old dd w/ sitters. I had just started to get into a little bit of a routine of leaving her for a couple hours once a week so I could go to yoga, but then she started crying when I left! That made it hard. I feel a lot of conflict w/ my value of wanting to be a responsive parent and my need to have some time for myself.

I go to a playgroup too, and feel like it is "better than nothing." Sometimes I am so utterly bored by the conversation-another one about what kids' shoes are the best, "how old is she now?" etc. Also, I get tired of never being able to really entirely focus on a conversation, having part of my mind always on my child.

At one point, I took an online course in Adobe Photoshop through my local community college. That was actually helpful, to be learning something new and actually see the results of what I was doing. It was stressful at times, though, when I felt like I was behind, but, since the instructor didn't have strict deadlines, it worked for me.

Recently I have gotten involved in some 12 step groups (Alanon, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Overeaters Anonymous) both online and in person, and I've found I enjoy sharing and hearing other people's shares about deeper issues.

I've also started an email discussion group for moms in my town-I hope it will grow and I can find some new people to connect with. I'm 43, so I would like to find some other first time moms my age.
post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Babytime
Add me to the lonely list. I have a lot of friends and I email them as often as possible and try to get together frequently too. I absolutely love and treasure my days home with the girls and am always finding fun things for us to do together, but there is this nagging loneliness that comes from not having adult conversation, I guess. I'm not the type to pick up the phone and call someone although it does help when someone calls me and we can chat ... but I worry people think I talk too much because when I do get adult conversation ...

I think the winter is particularly difficult because we're indoors more. I know right now I'm also feeling the post-holiday blues a bit, too.

Hugs!
Exactly!! We have playgroups, I have lots of friends, et cetera, but I get very lonely during the day, even on days when we are very busy. DH has been home this week on vacation and it has been so great to have that adult companionship during the day. What a difference! Plus the kids have two people they can go to for things, so I am not constantly at their beck and call. I wish it could be like this all the time...
post #10 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thank you, mamas, for all your replies and commiseration. It's so important for me to know I'm not alone-I guess this is an important thing for many of us.

anne-You know, I never realized this until now and reading your post, but there are many, many days that all of my interactions are kid-based or with store clerks. Man, of COURSE I would feel lonely.

Naomi-Sounds like a few of the mamas here have gone back to work for just a little bit, or like you, started school, and that's made a difference.

Rowdy-I am understanding more and more that maybe part time work or *something* out of the house would help me. I just don't know what that could be with DH's schedule and taking care of the kids.

Babytime-Thanks for the hugs. I need them right now. The long winter months ahead are worrying me a bit.

sarahariz-I really appreciate your honesty. I feel very conflicted about leaving my youngest (16 mos), too. Although, like mamameg says, it's really integral to the health of my family for me to take care of ME and my relationship with DH (did she say it, or did I say it??? ). I'm paraphrasing, of course. I don't know what the answer is, though. Or HOW to make it happen.

cgmom-I think having ME be the only one who is here during the day (like most of us) is really, really draining in ways I never anticipated. When DH is here, and we can kind of split the duties, I feel so much better about everything.

Alkenny-Your post really stuck with me today. The problem is, I'm not sure what a break really looks like. That, AND, DH and I get no quality time together. We try to squeeze in conversations at dinner, in the kitchen, when the kids are running around. But we have a very, very challenging older DS(almost 4). He cannot take too much attention being placed somewhere other than him. Many times DH and I just say to each other, "let's wait until the kids are asleep". We have co-slept with both kids since the day of their births. They are still in our bed. I think this connecting with my partner thing is JUST HUGE. We try very, very hard to work as a team with the kids, with discipline, etc. But at the end of our day, we are both so exhausted, so spent, that we collapse on the couch with the computer, or the tv, or a book. Sitting next to each other and not really being with each other. I miss my bed. I miss my husband. This is so hard. We're going through a really, really, hard time with our older son, so everything seems to be coming to a head right now. I don't know why I'm sharing all this. It's just coming out. And I feel so lonely about so much.

And mamameg-I completely GET your post. Just get it. This year has sucked for us. I feel that we've gained so much by having these beautiful, challenging kids, but we've lost a lot, too. In fact, I feel that 4 years into this, I am finally accepting all that I've lost. And that main connection with my DH is a huge part of that. Maybe I'm lonely for HIM. ???

Wow. This turned into something bigger than just loneliness, huh?
I'm struggling with lots of things right now. Loneliness is just part of it all.
Thanks for sharing.
post #11 of 41
I am. I'm too young to make friends with the mainstream parents of my daughter's friends. I am foreigner who has no idea how to meet people here. I feel awkward in social situations because I lack the knowledge of cultural references to understand witty remarks and smalltalk. I never know what is approbiate and what not. It's like one big culture shock + being a SAHM to an 8 year old. This said, playgroups are no alternative cause she's too old.
post #12 of 41
Hi Bearsmama!

Yes, a high-needs attention hungry child can definately take a toll on a marriage. Dh and I went through a pretty rough patch over the summer caused in part by us feeling disconnected. It can be so hard.

And yes, I am lonely. Sometimes I secretly wish that I had another mother and children with me all day every day to share our days with. Don't get me wrong, the kids and I have lots of special 'alone' times, but often I wish for adult companionship. My dh is a physician and works LONG hours and through the week I am the same as a single mother. Sigh.

I wouldn't trade being a SAHM for anything, but it can be lonely and hard. For sure!
post #13 of 41
Having a high needs child can really throw a monkey wrench into things, that's true. to you, and I hope you can find some quality time together. It doesn't have to be anything that expands energy, you say you sit BY each other but aren't really spending time WITH each other, I hope you can find a way to connect.
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alkenny
Is it really loneliness or missing adult interaction? I've had times I've felt this way, but after a long talk with my DH we realized that I didn't have any quality time with HIM. Make the most of the time you have together, and realize that every mom needs a break once in awhile.
This has been an issue for me too. I felt ready to spend some "adult time" with my DH after we put the babe to bed, and he was usually so tired and talked out after working all day. He would say that sitting next to me was quality time that he enjoyed, but I really wanted more interaction, and would get upset if too many days went by without it.

Now we make weekend nights special by lighting candles, turning off the TV, and we each have a glass of wine and interact. I've learned to just let him be on weeknights because we enjoy the weekend nights together so much.

I have a lot of other friends that I can see and have good conversations with, but I found that it was the time with DH that makes the difference.
post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by huggerwocky
I am. I'm too young to make friends with the mainstream parents of my daughter's friends. I am foreigner who has no idea how to meet people here. I feel awkward in social situations because I lack the knowledge of cultural references to understand witty remarks and smalltalk. I never know what is approbiate and what not. It's like one big culture shock + being a SAHM to an 8 year old. This said, playgroups are no alternative cause she's too old.

What do you mean you're too young to make friends. I have friends of all age groups 20's-50's. I think friendship is about extending yourself a bit.
I do feel though that the transition from being career oriented to kid oriented is a challenging one. Many women/and men who leave a career where they were very successful and had that success validated daily in numerous ways don't always get the instant gratifcation with caring for a child. Being the steward of a child is immensely gratifying, but in such a different way that sometimes we don't recognize it.
Pg may not be an alternative, but what about getting involved in her school or scouting or sports. You can meet like minded parents that way. What about a church/synagouge/mosque. That's lots of places to meet parents that have kids your own age. What about pursing your own interest. You could take a class. I took a sewing class and a knitting class and met some really cool ladies that way. There's also groups that will match you with moms in your area with similar interest etc.
Also loneliness is a state of mind too. I sometimes find myself lonely, but I'm learning to be ok with those feelings by taking those opportunities to explore things that I enjoy on my own.
Whee, that was a mouth full
post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabrinat

What do you mean you're too young to make friends. I have friends of all age groups 20's-50's. I think friendship is about extending yourself a bit.
I didn't think of this when I read the original comment about being too young to make friends, but now that I've read sabrinat's comment, I have to agree. One way I alleviated some of the "I have no friends with kids" lonliness was to join my local mothers club and start a playgroup through it. I now have several women I am friends with, but I'l be honest... if it weren't for us having kids and living in the same small town, I would not be friends with them. They are perfecty nice people, but we don't have THAT much in common. We will never be super close, but I have close friends... I don't need 20 of them. I like having some casual companions who we get together with weekly, and having them REALLY helps with the feeling of extreme isolation. Even though I do still feel lonely sometimes, it's nothing like it was when my DD was tiny and I didn't know anyone.

huggerwocky, I hope you can find a way to make some connections with some other mamas. Even if you don't feel like you will be best friends for life, it can make the long days more bearable.
post #17 of 41

I hear ya

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alkenny
Is it really loneliness or missing adult interaction? I've had times I've felt this way, but after a long talk with my DH we realized that I didn't have any quality time with HIM. Make the most of the time you have together, and realize that every mom needs a break once in awhile.
Mine is more an adult interaction issue. My DH works 65 plus hours a week and he is my only daily interraction. (Well, not counting the pweeps and dant doo that occasionally comes out of DD and the constant MOM MOM MOM MOM nandy Mom. Or the squeak squeak I get from DS.) That is not stimulating conversation. I love my DC and would never leave them home with somebody else just to have a few conversations in a week. I just think it would be nice to have normal "adult" conversations. This site is as close to that as I can get.
post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Thank you, mamas, for all your replies and commiseration. It's so important for me to know I'm not alone-I guess this is an important thing for many of us.

Alkenny-Your post really stuck with me today. The problem is, I'm not sure what a break really looks like. That, AND, DH and I get no quality time together. We try to squeeze in conversations at dinner, in the kitchen, when the kids are running around. But we have a very, very challenging older DS(almost 4). He cannot take too much attention being placed somewhere other than him. Many times DH and I just say to each other, "let's wait until the kids are asleep". We have co-slept with both kids since the day of their births. They are still in our bed. I think this connecting with my partner thing is JUST HUGE. We try very, very hard to work as a team with the kids, with discipline, etc. But at the end of our day, we are both so exhausted, so spent, that we collapse on the couch with the computer, or the tv, or a book. Sitting next to each other and not really being with each other. I miss my bed. I miss my husband. This is so hard. We're going through a really, really, hard time with our older son, so everything seems to be coming to a head right now. I don't know why I'm sharing all this. It's just coming out. And I feel so lonely about so much.

Wow. This turned into something bigger than just loneliness, huh?
I'm struggling with lots of things right now. Loneliness is just part of it all.
Thanks for sharing.
Hey Bearsmama,

I was just talking about that to my dh during the past christmas days. DD had to spend the first ten days of her life in NICU due to respiratory (sp?) problems. When we came home the only way she would sleep was lying on top of me - all day and all night long. We therefore had a non-existant intimate relationship for the first year of her life and are slowly now (she will be TWO on Jan.12!!) begining to revive our relationship since Leonie spent the last 4 months in our bed as well. I don't know how other co-sleeping parents handle this 'problem' but I can't relax and be intimate w/my dh when dd's fast asleep right next to me.

Back to your original question - I too was very lonly during dd first year of life. My parents, my grandparents, my aunt&uncle, all of my friends, really everbody I know and love lives in Munich, which is 50mins by train away (but then you're just at the Central Station and might have to travel even further!) so I went to town 3x a week. Apart from my ILs and their friends and the obvious Sales Clerks and Servants in my fave Ice Parlor I knew noone in Herrsching, where we live. I spent my days talking walks, sitting in the ice parlor (mind you, I put on 55lbs during pregnancy, lost 22 of them immediately after givin birth, gained another 15 during that said year and now I am back to my pre-preggers weight! sup), spending time in front of my computer and such. Yes, I felt bad about that and I felt like crap. In addition to that breastfeeding sucked, I was sleep-deprived and had noone to turn to so I weaned at two months. There where times I sat crying on our bed, my husband by my side who tried to soothe or daughter as she bawled as well
After Leonies birthday last yeas (Jan' 05) I just got off my a*ss I went to the Family Center that I right next door to our house. My life has change ever since and I am way more happy that I was ever before. And I finally began to love being a SAHM! Of course most of the things we talk about are child related and of course I am the biddy of all the moms (I am almost 23, most of them are in the end of their thirties, one of them is even 42 but our children are age-alike (+/- 9months) and so they have a lot of fun together!) but I can also tell them about my problems (like at the moment I am very torn if I should start an apprenticeship as a office manager which is similar to going to college but I train at a company and at school) to hear their opinions. And I finally found that girlfriend that seems to stay by my side come what may. She knows that I am in therapy and why I go there, she knows my problems abd my failures, she knows my good sides as well and her son is just one day older than Leonie! The two are soooo funny when they play together since they now start talking to each other!

Now that I have solved the 'friend' problem I want to work on the 'husband' problem and on my own problems. That's the only thing I have made a New Year's Resolution for and I am looking very forward to that.

And I want to second something a pp said - when I feel that I have a problem I have noone to talk to (like APing, healthy&crunchy eating, handiworking and such) I come to MDC. To some this might sound sad to me it's a revelation to find so many like-minded people from all over the world!
post #19 of 41
EDIT - double posting, I am sorry
post #20 of 41
I just had a conversation like this with Dh. And we decided that it is critical for the kids and the family that we have (a) activities that are just for me and just for him and (b) more time together. There is nothing that benefits the kids more than two happy parents. That said, it is hard to carve out the time to make that happen, especially when the kids are young. Sometimes, it's less a matter of how much time and simply having "good" time. An hour at the coffee shop by myself reading a book will do wonders for my state of mind.
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