As we were driving down our street, it suddenly dawned on me – It had been over a week since I had set foot outside my own yard!
As a work at home mom, have you ever had times like that?
Especially if you have little kids, leaving the house can seem like an unattainable goal. I’m sure we’ve all had times where it’s been 24 hours – or more, like in my case – where the only people you talk to are your kids, your partner if you’ve got one, and your pets!
Have you ever talked to the checkout girl at the 7-11 like she was your best friend, just because you see her more often than anyone outside of your family?
Depressing, no? But it’s a fact – Being a WAHM can be really isolating. But there’s good news! Being WAHMs also means that we’re go-getters, action takers! We aren’t sitting around waiting for things to change, we make the changes we need.
Before we get started – let me make something very clear. Being unhappy because you’re stuck at home with your kids doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad mom. It makes you human. We are a social creature, and not very many of us do well if we don’t get the chance to socialize a bit.
If you need to get a baby sitter once in a while just so you can get out of the house for an hour – DO IT. Do NOT feel like you’re letting your child down, letting your family down or disappointing anyone. Do what you need to do for your own sanity, ‘k?
And please – if your isolation is more than just a little bit of cabin fever; in other words, if you think there’s a chance that your may be suffering from depression (postpartum or otherwise) do not wait to get help from someone. Talk to whoever you need to to get the help you need.
That said, here are 7 ideas for changes you can make that will help you reduce your isolation and stress – which will also help give you more energy and motivation for taking action!.
1. Join a gym.
This one has two benefits in one – not only are you getting out where you can mingle with other people, you’re also taking care of your health and giving yourself more energy. Odds are, if you go to the gym during the day, you’ll meet some other stay at home moms in the same boat as you. Added bonus – most gyms have daycare, so you can bring the kids with you.
Volunteering is such an awesome way to meet people. And if you plan it right, you can do volunteer work that integrates with your business. Say for example, that you have pet-related website. You can volunteer for a local pet shelter or rescue and blog about your experiences, to promote the organization on your website.
3. Join your local small business association or other networking group.
If you have your own business, there are likely professional organizations in your area – organizations that are created just for people like you, entrepreneurs who want to get out and meet other people.
4. Start or join a mastermind group.
A mastermind group is a group that is formed for the sole purpose of supporting each member to grow and be the best business owner they can be. A mastermind group will inspire you to grow, motivate you to take risks and be a sounding board when you need advice.
I’m a member of a mastermind group, and it’s been a wonderful experience for me – it’s really helped me to grow my business and encouraged me to stretch my boundaries with my blog, as well as helped me forge some great friendships.
There are lots of local groups you can get involved with – Little League, the PTA or even your HOA. Taking part will help you reduce your isolation – just be careful not to take on more responsibility than you can handle with your business.
If one of those sounds too time intensive, why not start a club? A book club that meets once a week in various members homes is a great way to make friends and get out of the house. I live in Lima, Peru – the women here have started a “Women and Wine” group that meets once a month just to get together and have conversations with people “from home”. There are lots of different interests you can have, find 3 or 4 other people and get together once a week or so.
6. Get a job.
Silly, I know you work from home so you don’t have to work outside the home. But if you really miss the chance to connect with other adults, a 1 or 2 day a week job may be just what you need. Another option is to look for a job that has very limited hours – like a school crossing guard.
7. Social networking.
Yes, social networking is online, and not really quite the same thing as getting out of the house. But being able to connect with other people online can still help cut a lot of that isolation that you may feel when you have a hard time getting out of the house for whatever reason. I love having other friends who are bloggers, who are online all day just like me, and always there when I need someone to lend an ear!
Don’t just sit staring at your Facebook or Twitter feed though – Join groups on Facebook to really get to know some new people and have great conversations. There are some AWESOME parenting groups – like Stop Yelling Challenge, or check out any other group that fits with your interests, like dogs, music or reading.
On Twitter, look for Twit-chats – this is an awesome way to meet new people on Twitter and have some really fun conversations. Check out Twubs to learn more about Twitter chats.
These tips will help you so much, over the long run. It’s really important that you have a life that’s apart from being “Mommy”. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your kids either.
If you’re feeling super stressed out right now and need a way to deal with it, check out ZenWahm’s post on “How to Stay Calm in a Crazy World.” Jackie uses lessons she’s learned from meditation to help herself become calmer and to react to her kiddo with love and patience.
No one said being a WAHM was easy, but it is certainly rewarding. And with a bit of planning and the willingness to take action, you can nip that dreaded isolation and the side effects of it right in the bud.
What do you do when you can’t take one more minute of being stuck in the house?