A woman just beginning life as a stay-home mom will likely experience more changes than just those to the checkbook. For many moms, the transition from work to home brings an unfamiliar and often unexpected emotion: loneliness. That she's no longer spending her days with co-workers at the office or joining chums for a late dinner and movie can be a shock to the system. "My loneliest time was when Danny was first born," says Mary Ellen Flanagan, a stay-home mom in Middletown, Rhode Island. "Slowly, I discovered Gymboree and the MOMS group at church where I met some great friends."
Avoiding isolation is critical. Sherri Brothers, coordinator for Living with Baby class in Everett, Washington, says loneliness is common in new moms. Sometimes women even find they are "jealous or resentful that hubby gets to go off to work," says Brothers. She recommends finding a source of support outside the house. "Join a mommy/baby group or mommy/baby exercise class, contact moms from your childbirth classes, find a church group, start a playgroup…"
Outlets such as those Brothers mentions are wonderful places for making friends and finding playmates for children. "[These places] give moms somewhere to go every week. There's comfort in knowing almost everyone in the room is sharing your experience and provides an atmosphere where it's okay to talk about your baby as much as you want, in fact you're encouraged to do so," says Brothers, who has seen many long-term friendships develop in her classes.