Feeling Isolated

By Sarah Fader

When I became a mother, my life changed dramatically. My whole focus was on this new baby in front of me. As Ari has gotten older, I’ve found it harder and harder to maintain the friendships I had when I was without child.

I see my friends, but it’s not on a regular basis. It feels very random and scattered. On the weekends I like to spend time with Wil because those are his only days off. My free time to hang out with friends is during the week. But, most people are working during the week and are unavailable to hang out.

Also, if I manage to score a hang out session with a single friend, Ari is there and demands the majority of the attention. It’s difficult to finish a conversation when my child is making random tribal noises.

My friends who have kids also have complicated schedules, some of them are working, some of them are involved in paid classes that they take their kids to, i.e. sing-a-longs, tumbling, dancing on the ceiling. I don’t know, whatever it is they do.

The point is, I end up feeling lonely a lot of the time. I love spending time with Ari, taking him to the playground, drawing and painting, teaching him new things, but I need adult interaction too. I’m having a really hard time figuring out a balance here.

Are there any of you parents out there who feel the same way? How do you balance hanging out with your kids/family with spending time with friends?

Sarah Fader records anecdotes from her daily life at at Old School New School Mom. She also currently runs blog workshops for elementary school children in New York City and provides freelance transcription services for major television networks, in between running after a two year old.

28 Responses to Feeling Isolated
  1. Krista
    October 14, 2010 | 12:47 am

    Oh, you are sooooo not alone! I have to make a coffee date with my best friend (about once a month if we’re lucky) just to have time to talk. It usually starts after 8pm and ends around midnight. We talk non-stop and still never really get to much. I think this is the way of life when you have littles unless you can both get a sitter and have routine time together. It sucks, but I don’t know what else to do either. Just know that you’re not alone in feeling this way!

  2. lulu
    October 14, 2010 | 12:50 pm

    Being a mom of 6, I feel your pain. I want to tell you it gets easier, but in my case it didn’t. While my husband is at work getting adult interaction, I feel isolated and my adult interaction is few and far between. My trips to school/play dates/birthday parties/sports and so on involves couple minute conversations with friends while in between correcting my kids behavior LOL. Most of us moms understand what you are going through. I could give you lots of ideas to find the interaction you are looking for, but everyone is different. Being a parent can be the most rewarding thing you ever done and the most confining thing at the same time. Keep your chin up..it’s tough to balance it all.

  3. Anitra
    October 14, 2010 | 1:07 pm

    Honestly, the biggest thing I’ve done is to find new friends.

    Sure, I make playdates with my friends who are parents now; and occasionally my husband and I get together with our single friends – usually dinner and games at our house (where we can put the little one to bed at a decent time).

    But what keeps my sanity intact is this: I found other stay-at-home moms (of toddlers) in my neighborhood. I can call them up and drop by for an hour or two. Our kids play, we talk (even if it’s only about our kids), and slowly we’ve become friends. They’re not people I probably would have spent much time with otherwise; we don’t have much in common other than location and similarly-aged children. But we DO have the same need for adult interaction, and the same tolerance for interruption… and living close together means that it doesn’t always have to be a major ordeal to see each other.

  4. Hannah
    October 14, 2010 | 7:53 pm

    This plagued me when I was a new mother with a baby and then a toddler. I consider myself rather shy, but I would crazy being in the house all day with no one over the age of 2 to talk to, so I made myself get out — to La Leche League meetings, to music classes, to storytime at the library, to the park, to Gymboree (where I met a lifelong friend). I I met a mom who brought me into her playgroup and I kept going even though it took weeks, months, to feel at home. Be persistent! You’re not alone.

  5. Katie
    October 17, 2010 | 3:41 pm

    I stumbled across this while I was looking for advice for this exact problem. I need adult interaction but I live in a small town that doesn’t have baby story time at our library even. 🙁 My husband & I are currently sharing 1 car and that seems to make it worse because I feel trapped as well as isolated. Every time I have tried to find new friends with a mother who has children the same age as my daughter they turn out to be less than desirable (drugs & alcohol + kids…blegh). I just want to move and hopefully find people who can talk sober while our kids play. 🙁

  6. Sara
    November 12, 2010 | 3:05 pm

    I’m relieved to know this is common, but it makes me sad about how common this really is. I find myself isolated from my old friends. I’m now making the choice to isolate myself from certain friends because I have decided to put my family first. Unfortunately some friends have a hard time accepting this and we’re drifting apart. But even so, friendships seem to die long before kids are around.

    I agree with a previous poster, sometimes it’s easier to use my energy to make new friends, than keep the old ones.

    I think since becoming a Mom I have realized I am more verbal with my feelings, and sometimes it’s hard to hear when you’re on the opposite side. But it is what it is.

    Friendships come and go, some are worth fighting for, but what do you do when your friend is too passive to fight for your friendship? I’ve decided to move on because somehow I feel like I’m worth fighting for, and if they don’t see that, it’s really too bad and their loss.

  7. luzmsali
    November 22, 2010 | 1:15 am

    You are not alone. I feel the same way – isolated. I live in a small town and I don’t know anyone here. My husband works and then has night school so my 2 year old daughter and I are here all day. Sometimes we go to playgroups, mcdonalds or the park but I still feel lonely. I have lost touch with some old friends and it’s really hard to find new friends that I can trust or have anything in common with. I will keep trying to meet new friends but I guess that’s all I can do.

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