The Lonely Life of a Stay-At-Home Mom

You know me. The one that drives up to the pool in my minivan followed by another mom in a minivan and one in an SUV. I have a pretty good network of mommy friends. I am there at drop-off and pickup and all the school parties. Lots of pictures of me on Facebook hanging with friends at impromptu play dates. I’m the one who notices your child is the same age as mine and makes polite conversation with you at Publix. I am there pushing my baby on the swing at the playground, surrounded by other moms, but guess what–sometimes I still feel lonely.


Being around people all the time does not mean you are not lonely. Being a stay-at-home mom, I have lots of opportunities to meet up with other moms, yes, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s hard to have a conversation when your toddler is digging everything out of your diaper bag, or your infant is demanding to be held and rocked. Also trying to find a window to meet when all the kids aren’t napping, or in preschool, or taking a dance class.

My loneliness has been very apparent in the past year. I was very lonely when Henry was first born because I spent nearly all of last summer at home with him. People just grabbed my bigger kids and took them on play dates while I stayed at home, took care of my newborn, and rested when I could. And that was what I needed at the time. Soon I realized though that while my children were enjoying time with their buddies, I was missing out on time with mine.

Before having my fourth kid, I was pretty proactive at arranging and organizing play dates for my children. Lately, I am a lot more tired and unorganized than I’ve ever been. That doesn’t help! It is also more complicated now because as the kids get older, it becomes even harder to find open time slots to meet up with their friends. For example, my daughter was in preschool on opposite mornings of all of the friends we had hung out with for the first three years of her life. And now when I do finally make it to the play date, my one-year-old requires so much of my attention that it is hard to be social with the other moms.

I feel like I am definitely not as lonely as I was last summer, and here’s what has helped.

Being intentional and making time for friends. It is easy to get wrapped up in the daily details of caring for your children, but it is important to make time just to hang out and chat with friends. It’s also important to be flexible and maybe not be so tied to the nap routine or feeding schedule. I love my friends that urge me to skip Henry’s nap now and then and join the fun!

Being more intimate. Big groups are great for meeting people, but it is the small groups that allow you to make friends. I had believed in this since before I had kids! My husband and I have made our best friends from small groups at our church, and through volunteering in the Junior League of Jacksonville, I made some of my best friends by serving together with them on the same committees. It was the investment that we made in each other by coming together frequently to serve the same purpose. Playgroups are very much like that, committing to meeting and then all of a sudden we’ve helped each other raise ten eight-year-olds. And it doesn’t have to be a playgroup. Maybe you make time to meet consistently with just one other friend.

We need more friends than just other moms with kids our age. We shouldn’t be so focused on having friends with kids our age. One of my biggest support groups is my little running group. Four ladies all of different ages, some with kids and some not. One has a kid learning to drive, and another became a grandma this year!

Get the kids out of the picture. Some of my best playdates are WITHOUT the kids! Mom’s Night Out is way more effective for me at this stage in my life. It’s the same with date night–I need to have uninterrupted adult time with my husband to be a good wife to him.

Be a joiner. I struggle with this because I want to be able to say no to simplify my life, but it is the things I join that help me so much. Volunteering at my church, the PTA, and with the Junior League always gave me a built-in support system and a reason to get out without the kids. Sports for the kids was also another good thing for us to participate in. I loved putting the kids in basketball and soccer because then I could socialize with my friends during the games and practices. Jax Moms Blog has a huge online community that is SO helpful. Find your Neighborhood Group here! And a moms group, like MOMS Club, is really helpful!

Have you ever felt lonely as a stay-at-home mom? What helped you?

Check out Meg’s post to see that working moms are lonely, too.

Kathy Waller
Kathy is a Georgia girl who followed her surfer husband Chuck to the beaches of Jacksonville where she became mom to elementary-aged twins Sophie and Will, preschooler Lainey, and baby Henry! Stay at home mom and avid volunteer, Kathy truly believes in teaching her children to embrace the community, to depend on each other, and to serve one another. Kathy served for a decade in the Junior League of Jax and is in her third year serving on the executive board of the PTA where her children attend school. She is very active in her church, Neptune Baptist and has been involved in the MOMS Club of Jax Beach for over eight years. Kathy has learned so much in her career as a software consultant for Oracle, but is always amazed at the skills she has acquired as a mom and community volunteer. Kathy also enjoys running and completed her last marathon (#9) in 2011, but always wonders if she shouldn't just do another to have a good even 10 under her belt!


  1. I had a very part time job as a merchandiser till my company closed a few months ago. It never occurred to me how much I relied on work as a source of social connection as much as I did till it was no longer there. Ouch. I’m working on rebuilding my network, but it has become an awkward dance for me.

  2. It is very hard as a working mom and knowing you should fulfill tine to not only have my one year old interact with toddlers her age but also for me to stop quoting Elmo phrases and hang out with moms who feel the same. I’m a full time work in mom, supporting my boyfriend and his work/school balance while commuting from 2 different houses. This article really hit close to ghost one for me and I felt a sigh of relief after read it.

  3. Ugh I know exactly how you feel! I have a 3 yo and 1 yo and sometimes it is so much easier to just stay at home. I have been very active with my church lately, which is awesome, but I’ve been neglecting my mom friends I made since moving to ATL in the last couple of years.

    Btw I joined the junior league when I lived in jax 3 years ago. I had my provisional year and the majority of my FYA there before moving to ATL. I miss it so much!!

  4. I am a work from home working mom. I don’t think it can lonelier than that, or possibly more depressing. There’s not that “place to go” or reason to get in something other than my gym clothes. I could blog up a storm about it…

  5. I have felt this way as well. It seems I always battle between play dates and staying home because of the ease of it or my ever growing to do list. Aka laundry pile. I go weeks feeling fine then all of a sudden realize I am lonely and overwhelmed. Scheduling play dates, girls night and even a coffee and grocery trip with a close friend always seems to help me bounce back. I also find that creating that “me” time is helpful. Even if I am alone being able to focus on my needs for just an hour reenergizes me for the tasks ahead.

  6. I have been a SAHM for 8 years. I have an 8 year old daughter and boy/girl twins 7. It wasn’t bad till 6 months ago. … I moved to Jacksonville, I’m born and raised in Tampa. All my family and friends are their. I am so lonely now. Not really sure how to make friends. I was a bartender for ever, so I met tons of people, easily.

    • There is a group called Moms to Moms that meets at Christ’s Church off Greenland Road. It is once a week, child care is provided, and there is even an amazing breakfast spread. When I was new to jax this helped me connect with an awesome group of women.


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