Thomas/Fotolia

As A Work-From-Home Mom, I've Never Felt More Alone

By
Share
Ad failed to load

So far, in my over eight years as a mom, I've been a full-time working mom, a stay-at-home mom, and now, a work-from-home mom. Each work situation definitely has its pros and cons, and I'm not really sure which route I would choose if I could go back and do it all over again. But what I do know, for certain, is that as a work-from-home mom, I've never felt more alone. The isolation is simply overwhelming, and I had no idea it would be like this.

Now, I'm not attempting to claim that I have things harder than other parents in different situations. I mean, I only lasted a few months as a stay-at-home mom before I quickly, deliberately, and unapologetically started prioritizing going back to work. I knew, pretty early on, that being a stay-at-home mom was difficult and, in the end, really not for me. Plus, I had always planned to be a working mom, wanting to both advance in my career and be a good role model for my kids. But, that, too, had it's challenges. I found that trying to balance work and parenting was pretty impossible and often left little time for me to, you know, take care of myself. At the same time, being a working mom is lonely, too, and I was constantly rushing — out the door, to day care, to school, to work, and then back to school, daycare, and home. At the end of every single day, and at the end of all that rushing, I always managed to disappoint at least one person. That was a burden I didn't want to continue to bear.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

So, I assumed working from home would be the best of both worlds. I get to be here for all of my baby's firsts, I can be the one to take him to his appointments, and I get baby snuggles whenever I want or need them, especially when it's difficult to get through the day. I am home when my older kids leave for school, and home when they return. I do have to occasionally deal with poop blow-outs in the middle of business meetings, and having to meet deadlines with a baby crawling all over me, but it's pretty amazing to work in my pajamas or yoga pants every day.

But when it comes to my needs as an adult, including my innate want to interact with other adults, make friends, and maintain those friendships, it's seems pretty impossible for me to feel like myself.

That said, I totally didn't expect working from home to be so isolating, especially considering that I have five kids to care for. My family is loud, intense, fun, chaotic, and full of energy. I love them, and I am literally never alone. Someone is always touching me, asking for something, or expecting me to help. And that's totally part of "my job" as a parent. But when it comes to my needs as an adult, including my innate want to interact with other adults, make friends, and maintain those friendships, it's seems pretty impossible for me to feel like myself.

Ad failed to load
Giphy

I think part of the problem is that while working from home is the best of both worlds, it also has the drawbacks of both working outside of the home and staying home with your kids. Between two jobs and a consulting business, I work some hours during the day, and some early mornings, evenings, and weekends. So, when it comes to making plans with my working friends, it's difficult to carve out time in an otherwise swamped schedule. At the same time, I can't always go to daytime playdates, story hour, or mommy and me yoga classes with my stay-at-home parent friends, because I have deadlines and work obligations, too.

This disconnect — between talk to people and really talking to people — has left me feeling isolated in a way that's not only difficult to describe, but difficult to digest.
Ad failed to load

Honestly, the only people I interact with on a regular basis are my clients, my co-workers, and my online friends on social media. They are amazing, and I feel lucky to live in a time when I can have friends all over the world to experience my parenting adventures at my side. But at the same time, I kind of need a hug once in a while, or a person to bring over a bottle of tequila when life gets hard. I am in contact with people all day, ever day, and yet I'm isolated from in-person, physical contact and connection. This disconnect — between talk to people and really talking to people — has left me feeling isolated in a way that's not only difficult to describe, but difficult to digest.

Giphy

To make things even more difficult, when I do try to go out with my baby I never know how things are going to go. When my other kids were little, I could always drop them at child-watch at the gym and get a work out. But, because my 10-month-old son has been home with me pretty much every day of his life, taking him to child-watch is a crap shoot. Will he cry? Will they pull me out of class to rescue him? Will he play happily? It's so stressful. Same goes for trips to the store, car rides, and pretty much any time I am not in view.

Ad failed to load
I am in contact with people all day, ever day, and yet I'm isolated from in-person, physical contact and connection.

As a result I have developed a bit of social anxiety. Like, I am not sure how to talk to other adults anymore. I sometimes go days without leaving my house for anything other than work or to pick my son up from preschool, and when I do, I'm afraid that I will make a total ass out of myself. As an extrovert, I need people, but as a work-from-home mom I fear social blunders so much that I don't meet that need on a regular basis.

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery
Ad failed to load

I am a little embarrassed to admit that working from home has made me somewhat of a recluse. When given an opportunity to stay at home in my pajamas, and not put on a bra, I take it and choose my comfort zone every damn time. So, even when I don't have work deadlines, can find an affordable babysitter, or my husband offers to watch the kids so I can have some me time, I often would rather stay home, even if it means skipping going to Target by myself (which totally used to be one of my favorite things).

As an extrovert, I need people, but as a work-from-home mom I fear social blunders so much that I don't meet that need on a regular basis.

I know things will get easier when my kids are older and I am able to find some balance. But right now, at least most of the time and even though working from home is "working" for our family, it is so isolating and lonely. I just have no idea how to "fix" it.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}