All mothers feel isolated at some point (or various points) throughout motherhood.
But the isolation single mothers feel is different. You go from having a home with two parents helping to raise the kids, to having one parent who is responsible for everything. Suddenly there is no other parent to give you air when you need it. Or help take the burden off you by helping out with the kids.
There is irony in the isolation you feel as a single mom. Like how you can feel so alone when you are constantly needed by people all day?? You are your children’s world and they will fight to get your attention at every moment. If they don’t want your attention, then they need you to help them with 5 million things.
You desperately want time alone where you aren’t needed every second of the day.
But then when your kids are in bed, you suddenly don’t want that alone time because you don’t want to get caught up with your thoughts or feelings. You don’t want to think about how this is possibly going to be your life every day. Where you have no one to turn to and share your day with. No one is there to be your cheerleader or tell you that it’s ok and tomorrow is another day.
When you go to other kid’s birthday parties or get togethers and you’re the only one running around after your toddlers making sure they’re being nice, not getting into trouble, or not eating everything off the floor. It makes you feel alone because you notice all the other parents are a team. They take turns watching their kids while you don’t have that luxury. It’s usually a stressful event because there’s no one to help you.
Likewise going anywhere in public (like the mall, beach, pool, park, etc.) is extremely stressful for you. You and you alone have to be extra vigilant to watch your kids at all times. You don’t have extra eyeballs on them and you can’t split duties with anyone.
If someone has to go to the bathroom or needs a diaper change, everyone has to go. Of course then this usually causes your other kid to be upset because they aren’t ready to stop playing. Then you also get to deal with that by yourself!
Going to public places with my kids, even though I’m used to it, still brings me anxiety especially if it is somewhere like the beach or pool. I take my kids because they love it and they have the best time. But I am always completely drained afterwards because it isn’t “fun” for me. Of course I enjoy seeing my kids have fun but the constant keeping watch over them and the fact that I’m never sitting, is utterly exhausting.
You again find that you feel alone. You may feel sad or angry that you don’t get to lay out at the beach or pool and watch from your towel while your significant other is with your kids in the water.
One of the things that makes can feel the most isolating is that there are days that go by without talking to another adult. You lose touch with what’s going on in other people’s lives and in the world sometimes because the jobs you have consume every minute of your day.
Sometimes you don’t even realize that it’s been multiple days since you’ve seen or talked to another adult. But then when you do finally talk with your friends or you go on playdates and talk with the other moms, you hear about how their husbands help them or gave them time to go out by themselves.
You retreat back inside yourself because you have nothing to contribute to the conversation. You try not to show that it upsets you to hear them talk about how much help they have because you have none.
Or when they say jokingly to you, “I don’t know how you do this all by yourself!” You just smile or laugh it off but in reality you want to say you do it because you have to! You have no choice because there is no one else!! You don’t wish your circumstances on others, but you wish they could feel what you feel so they would really understand.
Having personally felt these isolating feelings, I want to let you know there are ways to combat them!!
Here are some ways to deal with isolation as a single mom.
Join a facebook group for moms or single moms. I joined a mom group that consisted of moms in the area I lived in who would come up with different play dates throughout the week. This was a nice way to get out of the house and ensure my kids would be around other kids of similar ages to play with.
Although I’m a bit of an introvert and I don’t usually socialize when I go on these playdates, it’s so nice to switch up our routine and get out of the house. This helps keep your mind off of things and it’s good for both you and your kids to be out of the house.
It’s also a great way to commiserate or discuss parenting issues online. This was huge for me not feeling so alone because I could still connect with other moms despite everyone having their own schedules.
Have a support system. I make an effort to connect with my friends as much as possible (with and without my kids). I also am very lucky I have parents who live close by and love spending time with their grandkids. This meant I was able to go to their house and have them play with the kids which gave me a break and gave my kids time with their grandparents.
If you find you are alone because you just moved or don’t have family nearby, again the internet is a good place to find solace. (Hello mom blogs!)
Share how you are feeling. Although your friends or family may not exactly understand your situation, it is good to talk to people you trust. Maybe they can offer you advice from the outside looking in. Or maybe they can just be a good listening ear.
Either way, getting your feelings out and feeling heard by another person can help you immensely because you are releasing those feelings in a healthy way while also feeling connected to other people.
Call a friend. Even if you don’t want to talk about how you’re doing or how you’re feeling, calling a good friend can help keep your mind off of your own problems. You can laugh or commiserate on issues your friend is dealing with.
You already know you aren’t the greatest at keeping in touch with people right now because you have so much going on in your own life. But it helps you stay connected to the people who are important to you.
Daycare or babysitter. Although I have only used a few select people as babysitters for the occasional day or night out, I know many moms who have tried these options.
They will put their kids in daycare for a day or two a week or hire a babysitter to watch their kids for a few hours a week. This frees them up to either run errands, have alone time, or go out and socialize.
Getting out of the house without your kids is a nice way to feel like you’re not alone because you can be around other people (or just yourself) without having to worry about your kids. There are lots of times I’m stuck inside the house for a good amount of time (like a week)! So I know getting out of the house without the kids is a nice way to not feel so alone.
Being thankful. When I start feeling alone, I remind myself how lucky I am that I’m blessed with two amazing children that I have the privilege of raising and being with everyday. I know these long days where I find myself with no adults around and two wild kids who are dependent on me for everything, will end soon. I am grateful I am a mother and on days I feel isolated, remind myself that I have the best role in the world.
Even though we love our kids with everything we have, if we don’t take care of ourselves and our feelings, who will??
You will end up feeling very isolated and that feeling sucks!! I still feel this way at times because as a single mom feeling alone is an issue that arises time and time again. But using these tips to combat loneliness helps so much!
Do you ever feel isolated being a single mom? Leave a comment to share your thoughts and how you moved past that feeling!
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