Remember when you had a job where you’d dress professionally to the office, gossip and laugh with your coworkers during lunch, and talk to so many people during your 8 hour shift that, by the end of the day, you didn’t feel like talking to anybody – not even your spouse?
Nowadays, the second your husband walks through the door, you can’t stop talking his ear off!
Stop it, please!
Staying at home, especially if it’s for the first time with a newborn, can be isolating. Suddenly, the only interaction you have is with this beautiful little person you can’t put down and with your spouse (at the end of the day). Sure, you may get an occasional knock on the door from the mail lady or UPS delivery driver, but those interactions don’t count. Staying home with the kids can be very lonely.
If you find yourself wishing you could have your old life back, maybe the following tips can help you beat the isolation blues.
1) Stay in contact with friends and family. – With modern conveniences such as email, Facebook, and cell phones, staying in contact with your friends and family is easy. However, if you used to hang out on a regular basis with these people, you’ll need to do more than just write on their Facebook wall to stay connected. Try and make real plans with your friends.
If they don’t have children yet, they may feel uncomfortable initiating plans with you. Be the first one to call them up and let them know that your husband agreed to watch the baby for a few hours on Friday night so that you can have a girl’s night. Or, invite them over to see you. Your family is probably dying to meet your newest addition. All they need is an invitation to come over. Let them know that they are welcome and that you could use the company.
2) Make it a point to leave the house (even if only occasionally). – My mom once didn’t leave the apartment for 2 months after my sister was born. Don’t do that! Even if you don’t have to leave the house every day to take older children to school, you should still get yourself outside on a regular basis.
Plop the baby into a stroller (strap her in for safety) and take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Or hop in the car and run an errand. Doing something will help you feel a little bit more like your old self. Granted, you’ll have to tow a baby or toddler around for a little while, but as long as you plan trips around nap times and feedings, it isn’t impossible. Just because you’re now a mother doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere ever again!
3) Join a local playgroup or start one. – You probably know other moms who stay home with their babies, too. If you don’t, find a local playgroup. If you feel like you need adult interaction, so do other stay-at-home moms. Meeting up with other moms who are in the same boat as you can be a great way to build a support system. Plus, it’s a great way to get junior to interact with other children.
4) Go outdoors daily (weather permitting). – When the baby falls asleep, bring the baby monitor outside and sit and relax on your porch. Drink a cup of coffee or sweet tea. Find ways to get outside of your home on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be for very long. About 10-15 minutes is really all you need. I feel so much more connected to the world at large when I am outside, which is the opposite of feeling isolated. You just can’t match that same feeling lounging on the sofa by yourself.
5) Go out on regular date nights with your spouse or significant other. – Some people recommend once per week, but I think once every 4-6 weeks is perfect. Connecting with your spouse outside of the home and away from the kids is a great way to rekindle your relationship. It’s possible to feel isolated from your spouse even when he’s home because caring for the kids becomes your mothering priority.
To prevent your relationship from turning into strangers living under the same roof, please do whatever you can to make date nights happen. Good babysitters are not hard to find. You just have to be willing to put in the effort to find one.
If you absolutely cannot get a baby sitter, be creative and figure out how you can recreate a date night like atmosphere at home. Maybe cook a special dinner just for the two of you to eat alone after the kids are in bed. Or, better yet, skip the cooking and order take out! Pair that with a movie from Redbox and you’ve got yourself a date! Just make sure to fully commit your attention to your spouse if you stay home. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by housework.
Commit yourself to trying some of these ways to feel less isolated and then comment below and let me know how it’s going. I’d love to hear from you!