Inside: Stay at Home moms often feel lonely and socially isolated after they have their first baby because it is so darn hard to make Mom Friends. Having no friends, or feeling like you have no friends, often leads to boredom and depression. It makes the days feel even longer than they really are. But there’s a trick to avoid all of this.
How to Avoid the Stay at Home Mom Blues By Doing This One Thing
For years, I was a lonely stay at home mom.
No more lunch dates with my colleagues on Fridays. All my non-mom friends were of course working. My husband went to his office. My sister lived across the country. I was all alone. I was isolated with my new baby. It was just her and I. And the early days were especially awful.
When I finally found my group of girls, my Mom Tribe, I was about 5 years into parenting and it was life altering for me.
What is a Mom Tribe?
It’s a small group of women who get you. When you’re with them, you don’t apologize for your messy house or your kids running through theirs. You parent similarly, so zone parenting rules apply and we all step in to help. You bring donuts to each other on shitty days and you motivate each other to finally start working out again. You spend weekend evenings having impromptu dinners in the front yard and you wouldn’t think about grabbing a mani pedi without asking them to join you. Homegoods is never, ever a solo trip. They’ll either talk you out of buying the giant metal rooster or they’ll talk you into it. Either way, you’re coming home with sh*t you never knew you needed to own.
When I found my Mom Tribe, I was finally able to take a breath and realize that this inclusion, this feeling like people really get me, these moments of laughing until you pee your pants (which let’s be honest, is super easy once I had my gigantic babies), felt right. It felt incredible.
We picked each other’s kids up in carpools. We grocery shopped together. We snuck out for movies after the kids were in bed. Playdates in the backyard were almost always accompanied by a beer or two. Which morphed into throwing together a dinner and more beers with the husbands. Which inevitably led to walking home and picking the car up in the morning. A perfect evening.
I was in heaven. My friendships felt easy and natural and comforting. My time as a mom was so much more enjoyable all of a sudden.
Because I had friends to share it with.
Friends who got me. They understood what I was going through because it was happening to them too. They made me feel like I didn’t just have to be a mom. I could be a friend and an adult and I could be a little cool again. I started getting dressed up more. We all started working out together to finally drop the baby weight. My mom slump was over. I found my groove.
And then we upped and moved to the other side of the country.
I had to leave my Mom Tribe behind and it was devastating.
Because not only did I miss them terribly, I was an isolated mom again. I stood on the new school playground waiting for my kids all by myself. Other parents were gathered in groups chatting and laughing and gossiping. I was the cheese that stood alone.
I could not let a repeat of my first five years of motherhood happen again.
So I set out purposefully to find new Mom Friends. I started with awkward small talk and waving to people I kind of knew. I never imagined I could ever find another Mom Tribe anywhere as awesome as my Cali girls.
But you know what, I did. I found my Boston girls.
And they saved me. I knew who I was going to go apple picking with and who I was spending New Year’s Eve with. We got invited to a 4th of July picnic 7 months in advance. I had fire pits to sit around and carpools for our kid’s early am viola classes. I found my groove again. I fit in with ladies who got me. Ladies who would text to see if I needed anything from the grocery store in the dead of winter.
And then, if you can believe it, we moved again a year after we arrived.
I now had a second group of friends to miss terribly. And I was positive that there was no way I could strike gold three times and find another Mom Tribe.
Because there I was, standing on another school playground by myself. Again. I had not one friend. I literally knew no one. And it was so painfully awkward.
So I sucked it up and set out to find more Mom Friends…and I’m still at it.
But in the process of reaching out to people and making Mom Friends—which has always been extra hard for my introverted self—I found another Mom Tribe. My people. We literally have a name for ourselves, that’s how ‘tribey’ we’ve become. We are the People of the Court. It’s perfectly ridiculous and I love it.
We trick or treat together and sit in Jacuzzis as the kids run around us as we plan wine trips and camping trips. We eat more meals together than not on the weekends and unless it’s baseball season, we’re almost always hanging out. Holidays included.
And so now having found a Mom Tribe three times in three different time zones, I have come to realize that while finding your Mom Tribe does require a heaping dose of luck—The People of the Court all live on the same small cul-de-sac as me which is a huge jackpot—there are some tried and true tricks I’ve used to find my Mom Tribe.
Need more convincing?
4 Reasons Why to Thrive as a Stay at Home Mom You Absolutely Need to Find Mom Friends and Eventually, a Mom Tribe:
1.Motherhood Can Be Lonely and Isolating
This is especially true if you’re the first of your friends or siblings to have babies. Friends that you had pre-kids just won’t understand you now in quite the same way. You might be able to salvage your relationship, especially if you leave the baby home and join in for girls’ nights, but honestly, most friendships that are lopsided on who has kids and who doesn’t won’t survive long.
It’s sad, but true. You’ll grow apart through no fault of your own.
You’re thinking babyproofing and preschool registrations and trying anything and everything to sleep through the night and they’re planning where to go out that night for drinks. It’s not a sustainable relationship.
So whether you’re a new mom or you’re a seasoned mom, if you don’t find other girl friends who also have kids, you’re going to be looking around and realizing:
It can be pretty darn lonely being a mom. Especially between the hours of 4-6pm. The ‘Witching Hour’ sucks.
2. You Need to Get Out of the House Without the Kids
I’ve met many, many parents who have never left their baby or kids home. Maybe their spouse doesn’t feel ready to tackle it solo. Maybe their spouse doesn’t want to be the only one responsible for keeping the kid alive. Maybe it’s personal issues of mom guilt, or needing to be in control. Or maybe it’s fear or anxiety. Any of these sound familiar?
I am an A-type control freak who left a 3 page typed list of what to do the first time I left my eldest. But you know what? I left her.
Because it was good for my soul. I am a mom and I love it. But I need alone time. I need adult time.
I need to get out of the house, put on some lipstick, and breathe air that doesn’t smell like poop or Goldfish crackers.
Spending time with Mom Friends is crucial to my overall health and well-being. I come back refreshed and energized and ready to tackle endless games of Candyland.
You’ll feel less bored, depressed, lonely and socially isolated as a Stay at Home Mom if you find Mom Friends.
3. You Need to Be Reminded You’re Not In This Alone
Whatever parenting problems or concerns you’re facing, I guarantee you’re not the only one going through it. Baby won’t breastfeed? I’ve been there. Kid won’t for the love of anything sleep? Yep. Picky eater, kid won’t listen, Godzilla sized tantrums? Yep, yep, and yep.
And chances are your Mom Friends are dealing with the same stuff. And if they’re not personally, they know others who are. They will remind you that you’re not in this alone. That it’s all normal. They’ll remind you of something old that used to work. Or give you new ideas, a shoulder to cry on, or a cocktail.
Mom Friends are the ones who will show you a tighter swaddle wrap or a new gadget that’s a lifesaver or will come up with a creative solution to your kid picking her nose in public.
4. Your Husband and Your Mom Can Not Replace Girl Friends
You might have an incredible spouse who happens to be your best friend. Mine is. But he’s not a girl. He’s not going to understand sore nipples, and widened hips, and want to talk about the gorgeous UPS guy who is always on your street.
Your spouse might be the most amazing co-parent ever. But Stay at Home moms still need girlfriends.
Likewise, your mom could also be your best friend. Your go-to for advice and hanging out. Mine is.
But it’s still never going to be the same as someone your age, or your age-ish, going through the same things you’re going through right now. No matter how awesome they are, don’t let hanging with your mom or mother in-law replace time spent with Mom Friends.
The bottom line is that having Mom Friends will make you a better person because it will make you a happier person. And that in turn will make you a better and happier mom. It will spill over into all aspects of your life.
This mom life we’ve signed up for is going to have a lot of ups and downs and loop de loops. It’ll be thrilling and scary as hell.
But it’ll be a lot more fun if we have a friend or two sitting next to us enjoying the ride.
What are your tricks and tips for finding and making Mom Friends?
Share this with your Mom Friends and show them some love.