Are you a lonely mom? I know when I first had my daughter I felt very alone and settling into my new role as a mom was tough.
Suddenly I was home alone with a baby. Everything about my life had changed. It was a period of adjustment and I was by myself trying to figure it out and judging myself because I was feeling sad and alone rather than happy that I had a beautiful baby girl.
However, like anything in life, there are always ways to be happier.
It took me about a month after Hailey was born to figure out what I needed to do to remain happy during my maternity leave.
Interestingly enough, I made a game-changing discovery that drastically increased my happiness and reduced those lonely feelings I had been experiencing.
And it was very simple.
In fact, it will probably seem far too simple when I share it with you.
I was driving to a meeting today with a colleague. She was asking me about my maternity leave and whether I got out much.
I told her that I either went out every day or someone came over to my house. Her response surprised me. “Oh, you’re one of the happy moms.”
She doesn’t have kids herself but she went on to explain that she’s noticed that her friends with kids who get out of the house are noticeably happier than her friends who are housebound.
And on top of that she’s noticed that their babies are also happier.
The comment caught me completely by surprise. I thought it was an interesting observation and I wondered how true it is.
I know it was true for me.
In fact, the game-changing discovery I made that transformed me from a lonely mom to a happy mom was simply a decision to leave the house or interact with another person every day.
I spent many days by myself during the first month of my maternity leave and discovered that I was miserable and lonely.
I needed human interaction, fresh air, and sunshine. I needed an activity to break up my day.
This may sound like I was quite the social butterfly but in all honesty, my daily outings were not necessarily exciting or innovative.
Sometimes it was a walk around my neighbourhood or a trip to the grocery store.
Actually, I will confess that I became an inefficient grocery shopper while on mat leave. I would buy groceries for the next 2-3 days, never the full week. I would rarely take a list. I was never bothered if I forgot something because I could just go back the next day (or maybe even later that day).
This was a coping mechanism that served me well but one I admit is taking me a bit of time to adjust to now that I’m back at work and need to be a bit more efficient.
Other outings included visits with other moms on mat leave, baby programs, visiting my parents who conveniently retired around the same time I had Hailey, and walks around my beautiful neighbourhood (even in the dead of the coldest winter on record).
The outings never had to be extravagant. They just had to get me out of the house to break up my day.
The colleague of mine who I was having this conversation with today said her friends who never get out always use the excuse that it takes so much extra effort to go out.
Truthfully, I didn’t find this to be true.
Yes, I had to bring extra stuff with me. I had to unpack and repack the stroller with each stop if I was driving. But in all honesty, it wasn’t all that much work.
The diaper bag was filled with everything I needed. The stroller I bought is very simple to set up.
All in all, any extra effort I put in was well worth my happiness.
The one caveat I will add is that I only have one child at the moment. So I’m not sure how the effort piece will play out once I have another.
I’ve observed moms with multiple kids unloading and loading their kids in the car and think to myself that it looks like a lot of work.
So I’m excited to see what happens once I have my second child and how my perspective shifts.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you reduce your loneliness and maintain your happiness while at home with your kids. Please post your response in the comments section below!