What Being a Lonely Mom Taught Me About Friendship

What Being a Lonely Mom Taught Me About Friendship

A new job, a new town, and no friends? One mom’s take on her lonely life.


By Wendy Robinson

Six months ago, my husband and I loaded our life into a moving van, buckled the kids into their car seats, and made the four-hour drive to our new home and our new life. After two years of wishing and hoping, I had finally found a job in our dream city, and we were eager to begin exploring our new neighborhood.

The first few months went by in a blur of unpacking, getting the kids settled, finding a new gym, doctor’s office, and favorite café, all while I learned my new job. By late fall, our new lives had fallen into an easy rhythm (well, as easy as it can be with two kids), and we were beyond happy with life in our new city.

Except for one small problem: After another weekend during which the only people I talked to were people I’m related to, it occurred to me that I was terribly lonely. I love my husband and my kids, but I was lonely for female friendship – people I could meet for a cup of coffee or to swap toddler tantrum tips.

Before we moved, I was quite lucky to live across the street from my best friend. My kids thought of her house as a second home, and we spent a lot of time just hanging out on her porch or going for long walks around the neighborhood. We hardly ever made concrete plans, because when you can see someone’s house from your kitchen, it is pretty easy to know when they are free to hang out.

More from P&G everyday: 7 Surprising Benefits of Strong Friendships

As I dealt with my loneliness, I started to realize that, in addition to not making enough of an effort to make new friends in the new town, I hadn’t really been doing a great job of maintaining my friendship with my best buddy/former neighbor. I had taken for granted how easy our friendship had been and how little effort we had to make to stay connected when only a few houses separated us. Now, I was missing our long talks and her willingness to listen to me vent about work and the minor annoyances of married life and parenting.

In the few months since I realized how lonely I was, I’ve been working on maintaining the friendships I had. We make phone and video chat dates, and I’ve taken a couple of weekend trips back to my old neighborhood for irreplaceable face-to-face time. I’ve also been making a big effort to make new friends, a process that sometimes feels distressingly like dating (“So…um, do you come to this playground often?”), but has also resulted in my having plans to get pancakes with a new friend next week.

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It is hard, so hard, to be lonely -- especially for an extrovert like me. I’m starting to think, however, that being lonely might be helping me become a better friend and more grateful for the comfort of female friendship.

Now, go call your best friend. She wants to hear from you!

How do you feel about your female friendships?


Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom, and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at www.athleticmonkey.com.

Image ©iStock.com/kizilkayaphotos


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