A Working Mom’s Dirty Little Secret

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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