I've been fully self-employed/working from home for four years now and I can hand on heart say that I've never felt lonely. I'm part of a few online communities, I'm always busy with work and its just something I've never felt. Something has changed these past few months though and I don't know what it is. It could possibly be linked to Steve's shift change. He has less time off during the week now and works longer days so I do feel like it's just me or me and the kids a lot more and also feel more lonely in the sense that its mostly down to me to care for the kids/attend parent's evening/organise their lives now (where as before it was more balanced between Steve and I or at least we could make a joint decision as he was there).
I also think I'm no longer challenged at work. I used to feel like every day was a school day with blogging and social media and I was constantly learning new skills but recently that's plateaued. I've been doing this for 7+ years now. I know how to do a good job, get a good result for clients and steadily grow my accounts at the same time. It's no longer challenging and perhaps the monotony is setting in? Plus there are other factors like I don't think I see my mam as much as I used to as she is working weird shifts all of the time and because Steve doesn't get home until 7:30pm each night, it's a struggle for me to get out in the evening with my friends.
My typical day is very samey. I wake up at around 6am. Play on/work my phone in bed for a full 2 hours (very unproductive), get up at 8am, sort the kids out for school. Steve takes the kids to school at 8:35am, I shower, get ready for the day, clean the kitchen, do the washing and any other chores and then sit in front of my computer from 10am-3pm (with a little lunch break). Then I walk to pick the kids up, get their bags/school stuff sorted, make their dinner, do the dishes and then work a little more before Steve gets home at 7:30pm.
I have tried to combat the loneliness by making a point of getting out of the house a bit more and making an effort to make lunch dates with people but the loneliness (and dare I say it a bit of boredom) is still there. A few people have mentioned co-working to me but I don't think this would really work for me or my work pattern at the moment (it will in a few years when I no longer need to do the school run). I already volunteer a bit but had to leave one of my volunteer roles as it was all becoming too much and overwhelming trying to squeeze everything in.
I can't really take up a hobby or do anything else during the day as I still need to work and sometimes my workload goes beyond my working day already and night working has started creeping in again. I don't really want to add to that. I just don't have enough hours in the day to fit everything in.
I wonder if this is a 7 year itch with blogging? Whatever happens, I'm going to just power through as there's no way I'd go back to an employed job while the kids are still in school. I need the flexibility too much (plus my earnings would significantly drop and my lifestyle would not be as good) and of course I still do love what I do and I'm very fortunate to be in the position to work from home.
The plus side to all of this is that I now REALLY look forward to my weekends when Steve and the kids are home and we always have a lush time. I savour them now and I think in the past I've been guilty of taking them for granted.
Steve and I often joke that what I need is for him to quit his job and work for me. I would LOVE for that to happen but my income is far too inconsistent to support our whole family and I don't think I could take the pressure so that's a bit of a pipe dream.
I think I might just need a new challenge. I might look into activities that I could do with the kids after school as a starting point. What do you think? Have you ever suffered from loneliness? I know this is just a blip in my self-employment journey but I'd love it if you had any tips for me.