Am I the Only Lonely Homeschool Mom?

Did you read our feature Feeling Lonely in the Summer 2014 issue? Here's the introduction:

Loneliness isn’t something we talk about, but maybe it should be. If you’re feeling isolated, depressed, irritable, or just plain sad, loneliness might be to blame. Here’s how to understand why you feel so alone sometimes— and how to make the slow-but-steady connections that can help end your solitary confinement.

If you read this, and it helped you (or not), we'd love to hear from you on this this topic. If you haven't read it, but you feel you have something to say on this issue, please feel free to join the discussion too.

I'll start:

Loneliness is something I face quite often. Although I feel very happy in my family life, I miss the deep connections I used to have with friends. A lot of our family live in other states too. Now, distance and life situations makes it impossible to keep up those relationships in a meaningful way. Being responsible for two wonderful, little boys and living 20-30 minutes from town can isolate me too. Unlike a lot of homeschoolers, we don't belong to a church, so I don't feel like I have the community I wish we had.

This rang true when I read it in Amy's article:

One of the sneakiest side effects of loneliness is that it works to perpetuate itself. When you’re lonely, you’re more likely to shut down in social situations, focusing on self-preservation rather than on real connection.

Gosh do I do this. It's very hard to reach out to others and make friends in my forties. It's hard to find people I truly connect with, but once when let down my guard to befriend someone I didn't think would want to be friends with me, I found a true friend who means the world to me right now.

I also have some great friends who I don't see much anymore because family life has taken priority. But I sure do miss them. Recently when I was feeling a little lonely, I reached out to a small women's writing group that I used to meet with once a month. None of these women have children. It had been a year since I'd seen them! We had the best time catching up, and I was surprised to hear that they, too, were needing some connections. I'm really hoping we don't have to wait so long to meet with each other again!

Do you feel lonely? Do you know why? Do you have any strategies to help you when you feel this way?

What particular challenges do you think arise in this area that is particularly unique to homeschoolers?