A Working Mom’s Dirty Little Secret

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I’ve written a lot about the positive aspects of going back to work. I love the responsibility, the challenge, the fact that I’m impacting lives, and especially the paycheck.

I’ve even written about some of the challenges I’ve faced: the stress over applying and interviewing for jobs, dealing with snow days and sick days, and rolling with the punches when it comes to childcare.

But something surprised me. There has been a little twinge of something just lying under the surface this past year. I wrote it off for a long time as just some stress and anxiety surrounding trying my best at work-life integration.

But the other day after a meltdown worthy of my four-year old daughters, I realized what this feeling was. The feeling began to roll over me like a wave. It was not a feeling I would ever expect that *I* would feel.

I’m lonely.

Yes, you read that correctly. This self-assured, strong woman. This pleasant pastor’s wife. This bubbly coffee/wine drinker (time of day dependent). This woman who works with people all day long and then comes home to a house overflowing with children. Yes, this woman, though surrounded with people, is lonely.

You see, when I was a stay at home mom, I may have had lonely days, but they did not last long. As a sahm I had an amazing support system. I had a moms club, and play groups, and a mom Bible study, and coffee dates and story time at the library.

When I went back to work, I lost all of my fun daytime socialization with who my friend Becky referred to as my “co-workers”. Now I work from 8-5, when I get home, my old “co-workers” are now busy with dinner and homework and family time.

I was ripped from my social life cold-turkey.

I did not realize that I missed it until I really missed it. All of a sudden I feel like I am on the periphery of my old social circles. In talking with some of my other working mom friends this week, I’ve found that I’m not alone.

So, after a seriously weepy day, I had a chat with my dear cousin and bestie. Changes need to be made, and they have to start with me.

First, I’m going to carve out some time with my out of state friends whom I miss dearly.

Next, I’m going to be proactive about asking my friends for mom’s nights out and play dates. I can’t wait for them to just happen–every event needs a planner–that is something I know from my working life.

And I’m going to stop waiting for my husband to fit the girlfriend role. Husbands, as wonderful as they may be, make cruddy girlfriends. It is probably asking too much of him.

I’m sure the recognition of these feelings is going to be a great beginning.

And by sharing this dirty little secret, you too can be on the lookout for working mom loneliness, so that you, too, can be proactive.

chime in! Have you experienced working mom loneliness? What did you do to turn the situation around?

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About the author : Dakotapam

I'm a Lutheran pastor's wife and mom to six kids, including toddler twin girls. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!

9 comments to “A Working Mom’s Dirty Little Secret”

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  1. Nancy Dyk - April 24, 2014 Reply

    We sure miss you at book club!!! Don’t forget to come out with us! Miss you!

    • Dakotapam - April 24, 2014 Reply

      I’m super bummed about missing book club! Why do my kids decide to get sick on book club nights?

  2. Essie - April 25, 2014 Reply

    I love you so, so much. This whole pastors-wives-have-to-move-with-their-husbands thing really stinks. And BTW, my favorite time of day is at night when I’m on my butt watching TV drinking wine and chatting with you on my iPad. 🙂

    • Karrie - April 27, 2014 Reply

      It would never have occurred to me nor would I have ever thought “this whole pastors-wives-have-to-move-with-their-husbands thing really stinks”. My husband just happens to be a pastor is how I look at it.

      Good post, Pam. Maybe we can meet up in Fargo sometime!

  3. Lisa - April 26, 2014 Reply

    I’ve worked all of Kidzilla’s life so far so I didn’t experience what you have, but I understand. I realized just a few short months ago that I had somehow allowed my life to swallow me up and was doing everything and taking care of everyone except myself. Like you said, my Husband is awesome, but he’s no girlfriend. We need those girlfriends for a reason. And so, mostly with his encouragement, my BFF and I have made a point of scheduling just girls nights for us – no husbands, no kids, just us. It’s been a wonderful thing for both of us in many ways. Kudos to you for taking the reins and making things happen – too easy to let someone else do, I know, but it makes a difference.

  4. Dakotapam - April 30, 2014 Reply

    Karrie! We will have to meet up! I’ll be there for marathon weekend, but that will be way too busy! Maybe for my next support group meeting in July! And Esther just meant it stinks follwoing your husband when you have to leave your besties behind! (You Know You miss us!)

  5. Dakotapam - April 30, 2014 Reply

    Yes Lisa, I was listening to a speaker recently who really pushed keeping a good relationship with our girlfriends. As we age we will lean on them more and more.

  6. Cess - March 29, 2015 Reply

    It’s so funny that you say you lost your social life when you stopped being a working mum. In my case it was the other way around. When I was working, I had great friends and had so much fun, outings and dates with my pals.

    I decided to be a stay at home mum last year and all these changed. I no longer go out or talk to my friends. At least not the same way I used to. My life revolves around my daughter, laptop and the house. It’s just different.

    I am learning to reach out to other stay at home mothers because it can get really lonely at times.

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