Stay at home Mom isolation is real. I would also argue that motherhood in general can be isolating. There’s something about being surrounded by small people all day that might make a bystander think, “how could she possibly feel alone,” that is actually the most alone I’ve ever felt. NOW throw in the social distancing guidelines of the COVID-19 pandemic and BAM, talk about isolation-overload.
Isolation is a scary place for a person like me. It’s a known fact among family, friends, and even those of you who read my blog that I’m an addict. And that my addiction really came to light when I became a Mom. No, my children did not cause my alcoholism. But what I can tell you is that I “stuffed” a lot of my feelings about loneliness, tiredness, baby-blues, etc. away with a drink or two or more. Now that we are required by the government to essentially stay inside unless we absolutely have to leave our houses, it’s even more important that I personally find ways to stay connected and NOT isolate.
Social distancing. Lockdown. Hibernating. Staying home. Being a stay at home mom. Call it what you want to call it OR what it is at this moment in time, but here’s what’s working for ME to combat isolation:
Write a letter. And mail, email, or take a picture and text it if you can’t physically mail it. There’s something very therapeutic about writing a letter for me [perhaps it’s like journaling?!]. So, I’m putting a reminder in my calendar for Sunday nights to get out that pen, paper, and get to writing. My friend Catherine is doing the same with her preschooler Dan, so that’s on my list to try with the kids this upcoming week. NOTICE I said TRY. We are trying lots of things around here to see what works before adding to a consistent schedule.
Download an app. Get your face to face contact applications like Marco Polo, Zoom, or FaceTime on the iPhone. There’s something about face to face contact that I crave. Need. WANT! Yes, even with 4 little people around me daily. While I’d like to think I can talk about anything with the quattro, it’s just not the same as chatting with an ADULT friend. The applications I mentioned are free, and I’ve been using them the past week for recovery and beyond.
Exercise. When it’s not raining, I’m walking with or without the kids. And if I have a ½ hour or hour to myself, I’m using YouTube for free workout videos, following a few of my favorite Instagram fitness experts for light-weight circuits, heck, I’m even just walking my stairs. Anything that gets my heartrate up and moving my muscles helps!
Turning off technology. Yep, I said it. And yep, it’s worked for me. Hiding alerts for text messages, setting specific times of day for checking email, Instagram, and Facebook, keeping structure and setting boundaries with the time I check-in. I think it all comes down to boundaries and productivity with my time. Oh, and mental health. That little thing right there… while there’s a lot of good I get from social media [I get to connect with YOU!], I can also compare and despair if I’m not in the right mindset or checking my phone too much.
Go back to basics. Think about what brought YOU joy before “adulting.” I.e. before you had to go to work, parent, adult as they say. Coloring. Painting. Reading. Board games. Card games. Movies. A game of pig or horse. Catch. The list goes on!
Prayer. You would think 12 years of Catholic school has given me all of the experience I need with prayer, but it’s something I’m consistently wondering if I’m doing it right. Lately I’ve been praying in the morning to ask God for the guidance throughout my day, and then at night thanking Him for keeping me sane and sober while parenting these little people. There’s obviously a lot more I pray for and am thankful for, but I find talking to God like a friend and having a conversation with Him is a lot less intimidating than a formal prayer format.
With a few years of stay-at-home-mommying under my belt, blogging has been a HUGE way to stay connected and grounded as a person, mother, and friend. I genuinely thank you for supporting this platform and reading alongside me!
How are you staying connected and less isolated right now?