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5 Ways I’ve Fought Loneliness in Motherhood




Written by:

Barbara Mighdoll

In the journey of motherhood, there's a rarely discussed season: loneliness. It sounds dramatic, I know, but hear me out.

Throughout life, I've always had a built-in community of women to surround myself with. High school meant cheerleading, college was filled with sorority sisters, and post-college brought a crew who bonded over Bachelor Mondays, Galentine's Day, and bottomless brunches. I was always a part of a group.

My pre-COVID, pre-kids life was all about spontaneity and connection. Saturday night plans, impromptu after-work happy hours, girls' days in wine country, hosting boozy Wednesday night dinners, and the ever-growing chain of group text messages – spending time together, that was the norm.

But recently, during a chat with a long-distance friend, I felt envious. She and her friends still enjoyed frequent girls' nights – something that no longer filled my calendar. It hit me: I'm lonely.

5 Ways I've Fought Loneliness in Motherhood

Can we talk about being lonely as moms?

These feelings of loneliness had been brewing for a while, I just couldn't quite pinpoint them. But how could I be lonely? I was busier than ever and I have a great group of friends, although most of them are scattered across different cities now. Catching up with friends now required a 45-minute car ride or a 4-hour plane journey. It's not that I have fewer friends – it's just that those face-to-face hangouts, the deep conversations over dinner, or the impromptu day trips seem to be happening less and less. And that's what really gets to me. 

It wasn't like I intentionally distanced myself from my friends. It's just that diving into new motherhood completely changed the game for all of us. Suddenly, our schedules were all over the place, we were exhausted, and we were constantly juggling new responsibilities. Life took on a whole new rhythm, leaving less room for the way things used to be.

Here's how I've overcome loneliness in motherhood

I quickly realized that I was mourning the life I once had, and that was making me feel lonelier than ever. But then it hit me – this feeling of loneliness won't last forever. It's a season, just like the ‘terrible twos' or potty-training accidents. I began to look at this sense of loneliness as a phase of growth. When you're making room for something new, like growing your family, it's inevitable that you'll need to adjust your expectations in other areas of life. Making space for one thing means shifting expectations elsewhere.

Change is uncomfortable. Loneliness is uncomfortable. But here's the thing – strength comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone. And that's exactly what motherhood requires of us. So instead of wallowing in loneliness, I challenged myself to embrace this new phase of life, and discovered new ways to find connection.

So here I am again, accepting change and pushing beyond my comfort, this time with more responsibilities and resilience.

1. Embrace self-discovery

Motherhood comes with a lot of change – physically, emotionally, and mentally. It's easy to lose sight of who you are outside of being a mom, or even feel like you hate being a mom. That's why it's so important to focus on self-discovery and find ways to connect with yourself again. Whether it's through journaling, hitting the gym, practicing yoga, taking a nap, or carving out a little time just for me every day, finding those moments to explore your passions and interests is key.

For me, that meant diving into a passion project (now turned full-time career), finding a consistent 20 minute workout routine daily, and leaning into food bloggers to inspire me in the kitchen. These activities have helped keep those feelings of isolation at bay.

2. Be proactive with your social calendar

As a mom, there are days when I'm completely worn out, and the idea of getting all dressed up to go out feels like the last thing I want to do. But staying connected requires effort. That's why I've made it a point to be proactive and organize ‘playdates' for me and my friends!

I plan dinners well in advance, and arrange childcare and coordinate schedules accordingly. Whenever I discover a new restaurant or want to revisit a favorite spot, I immediately hop onto OpenTable to reserve a table on a night when we can all secure childcare for our young children. This has been particularly helpful in getting out of the postpartum funk many new mothers experience.

3. Lean into your community

Personally, I’ve leaned into my New Modern Mom community, meeting readers in San Francisco IRL! I've formed a mom’s brunch group for like-minded women who are also in this ‘transitional period,’ either ready to leave their full time jobs or looking for something new and more fulfilling. 

Connecting with other moms in your community can not only provide a support system, but also give you the opportunity to make new friends. Joining local new mom groups, attending playgroups or finding the courage (and energy) to spark up conversation at the playground is a great way to meet other moms and share experiences and advice.

4. Befriend your kids’ friends’ parents

Playdates aren’t just for the kids – they’re also a great opportunity for moms to connect! You never know who you might meet and what common interests you may have. Plus, having friends within your kids' social circle can make it easier to coordinate playdates and form carpooling arrangements. I can really vouch this works: some of our best friends in the city are friends we met through Caden’s relationships he had made at the park. So now I’m saying ‘yes!' to last-minute playdates with Caden’s friends in an effort to form relationships with the parents in his class.

5. Find peace with life just being us

As a working mom, it can be easy to fall into the trap of constantly feeling like we need to ‘do' something – whether it's taking on an extra project at work or planning an elaborate weekend outing for the family. But sometimes, just being together as a family and enjoying each other’s company is enough. Embrace those quiet moments and don't feel guilty if you don't have outside plans. I'm the most content when our plans include just me, my husband, and our kids.

I hope these strategies help you in this season of life. To discover more actionable tips for working moms as well as valuable info on motherhood, and family life, subscribe to the newsletter.  

5 Ways I've Fought Loneliness in Motherhood
5 Ways I've Fought Loneliness in Motherhood

Featured Image by Biserka Stojanovic from Getty Images


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