How Can Stay At Home Moms Dealing With Loneliness Create Their Own Support Systems?
Tonya is among the ranks of stay-at-home moms. She thinks it is important to be the primary caregiver for her child throughout the early years.
Although Tonya enjoys being able to see her child reach all the first milestones, she finds herself longing for the adult companionship she had with her co-workers and is dealing with loneliness, like most stay at home moms.
Tonya wishes there was a way to connect with other stay at home moms so they can support one another and remain sane.
Stay at home moms get no sick leave, days off, or vacation time. They are on duty 24/7. If you are a stay at home mom, you need to make sure to take some time for yourself in order to be the best for the most important job you will ever have, parenting.
Many stay at home moms crave adult conversation. I know this first-hand. When my children were young, I mentioned at a La Leche League meeting that I wanted to start a support group for stay at home moms, ten women, tots-in-tow, arrived at my door, hungry for adult conversation. Within a year, word of mouth and the media had spread the news, and our group unexpectedly blossomed into a nonprofit organization for mothers who have chosen to stay at home that is still going strong 25 years later.
The organization grew into four mothers’ groups and dozens of other supportive services. We learned so much from our experiences that others interested in networking with fellow moms at home might benefit from the ideas and experiences that helped us get started.
You may benefit from some of the tips for stay at home moms listed below:
Need for Support
Isolation and dealing with loneliness are such universal feelings among stay at home moms that Arlene Cardozo says in her book, Sequencing (New York: Atheneum, 1986) that the difficulties of adjusting to being at home are the following:
- Loss of identity,
- Loss of a system of rewards and
- Expectations, and loss of a community of co-workers
All except the last usually are resolved during the first year of transition from career to home. Some women, she says, deal with these losses within themselves or have supportive extended family. Others seek out other women in similar circumstances for friendship, stimulating conversation, and networking.
Many women look to their husbands for their primary sources of support. However, no one person could ever meet all the needs another person has for support and understanding, nor would it be fair to expect this. Many mothers who choose to stay at home are coming from careers where they have learned the value of on-the-job training and expertise, work-related training, prioritizing and delegating projects, negotiating workloads, and stress and time management. These women usually had established support systems by networking with other professionals who understand the difficulties and joys of their professions. As women move their careers to the home front, they are learning to transfer skills to their new profession: Mothering.
Finding Other Stay At Home Moms
Today’s families are so mobile that they often are distant from their relatives. Their frequent moves also make it more difficult to establish close or lasting friendships.
This lack of close friends can cause the mother at home to feel even more isolated and winds up dealing with loneliness rather quickly. Maybe that’s why today’s at-home mom is making more efforts to create a circle of friends for herself. When she moves, she often places high on her list of priorities finding a neighborhood where there will be other mothers home during the days. Actually accomplishing this, though, may be quite a feat. Some women visit the prospective neighborhoods and parks during the day; they ask about other mothers at home at community centers, public schools, libraries, and nursery schools.
Some churches and organizations like the YWCA, Welcome Wagon, and La Leche League help parents network with one another. Many are supportive of mothers who have chosen to stay at home, and some even have groups especially for full-time mothers. These groups may provide meeting places where mothers can talk and children can play. Some may even provide services such as workshops and family programs. Many times, mothers will meet each other while participating in these activities and will decide to get together outside class.
If you would like more stay at home mom tips and would like to meet other Stay-At-Home-Moms, so you can give and get support, develop lifetime friendships, do activities with your children and other families’, and share resources that will save your time, money and sanity, then:
¨ Start your own local group by following the directions in the Shared Blessings manual.