Yesterday, I decided to take my kiddo to the Providence Children’s Museum (Side note: If you’re in the area, it’s really good!). Aside from wanting little Bear to have space to play, run, climb, and explore…if I’m 100% honest, I was also craving contact with another human. Like, a grown-up human.
Tucked into a corner of the museum is a “Woodlands” play area for kids 0-4 years old. It has a cave, river, bridge, boat, slide…and is FENCED IN. Yes. So, while I certainly needed to check in with little Bear, I didn’t need to be so hawk-like. He can’t climb fences yet and escape, so this was the perfect time to connect with another parent or caregiver, right?
Here’s the thing. No one talked to each other. Unless it was saying “sorry” for their kid snatching the stuffed beaver costume from another. Or a “that’s so cute!” when toddlers scooted over to allow more kids on the rocking boat. But, I really tried to start a conversation. I would beginwith, “How old is your son?” or “Do you live nearby?” It didn’t go very far.
I find this dilemma nearly everywhere. At the playground. At the coffee shop. Taking walks around the neighborhood. I see more interaction with our cell phones. Is it so hard for us to say hi? Or to pause, especially when you pass each other nearly every day, to introduce ourselves and maybe set up a playdate? I’m craving real adult connection and conversation and can’t seem to find it many places.
These days, I’m home more often with Bodhi than when we lived in Pennsylvania. He is in part-time daycare, and the rest of the time, we hang out. For the most part, I’m surprised to say I enjoy being with him more often (I thought I would miss working as much, and there are days that’s totally true). But, the loneliness…oh my gosh the loneliness factor is HARD.
As a new mother, or seasoned mother, or stay at home mom, or work from home mom, do you ever get lonely, too? What do you do to cope?
Here’s what I’m going to try and do to make some mama friends:
I’m going to create habits for me and for Bodhi: Every Thursday we’ll go to the same library for Storytime. Hopefully, we’ll see the same people over and over again, and it will be natural to suggest a coffee date.
I’m going to dig around my alumni networks. Eek. I’ll look up who was in my sorority or who might have been in my graduating class in undergrad that lives in the area. I KNOW some of these folks have to have kids.
I’ll create my own experiences and community by finding yoga classes or a book club to get involved with, and hopefully find connection there.
I’m not going to stop trying to strike up a conversation when we go out. Maybe not every single time, but if I see another mama at the park and our kids are having a blast together, I’ll start asking more questions and hope she does the same.
How do you work with loneliness as a mother? How have you made other mama friends? What helps you feel like you’re still connected outside of your sweet kiddos? Feeling lonely is hard on our emotional health, so it’s important we make these in real life connections.
I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. I listened to a podcast recently about making friends and how to feel less lonely, especially as a mother. I think you’ll love this episode, actually the whole Startup Pregnant podcast is amazing. :) Enjoy!