A lot of people forget how lonely it can be as a mother at home raising children. “You’re going to need a mom friend.” That’s what they say. Sure, we all need one, but how do you maintain friendship with other women who are in the same boat you’re in?
Women who feel inadequate, moms who are largely unsocialized themselves while they thrust their efforts into raising capable and intellectual children? We plug into our phones as our only outlet to adult interaction, and we’re expected to make organic connections when so much of the context and content online is open to interpretation.
I’m here to tell you there is a way to survive motherhood and make meaningful connections.
I met one of my future bridesmaids while she was supervising the play structure my child was playing on. Through the blur of running and screaming children, I heard her let one fly under her breath. Another F-bomb mom. I introduced myself right away.
She has become such an integral part of my life and means so much to me that I couldn’t imagine her not being there on our big day. This very natural advice opened my eyes to meaningful and authentic relationships with mom friends, and I hope it does the same for any mom who needs a friend.
Be Open To Friendship Anywhere
It could be waiting in the hallway at school pick-ups. It could be the moderator working at the playscape who’s just there to keep the structure clean and safe. When you take your children out to socialize them and enrich their lives, there is potential to do the same for yourself. Sometimes flashing a smile or making direct eye contact is all it takes.
Remember: Women Deserve Friendship
This is fairly straight-forward, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded. You deserve a friend! You’re not an imposter, don’t assume you’re not good enough. You deserve a friend in this part of your life, every woman does. Don’t just assume she’s cooler than you. Don’t assume she doesn’t want to talk to you. She probably feels the same way you do.
Say what you need and say how you feel. Have boundaries. Sure, we all want a friend. And sometimes, we take that however it comes. But it’s important to be honest about your expectations, boundaries, and time.
Don’t Move Too Fast
Don’t kill the buzz, let it stew, feel it out. There are kids involved. Not every friend has to be your best friend overnight—these things take time and fine-tuning. My future bridesmaid didn’t come bursting into my life, even now we still only see each other every few months. It happened casually one day after say, maybe, five fun Fridays, I found myself in the coffee line ordering her favorite. As my kid was growing to love her daughters, I had been growing to love her. As our kids grow, we too grow.
If It’s Not Organic, Don’t Force It
Not everything is for you. And not everyone will always be for you, either. And that’s alright! It’s important to remember you set standards for a reason, and the people you want beside you in your role as a mother will never challenge you to lower your standards. Rather, they will rise and meet them. It’s OK to say no to things that interrupt your schedule or that you simply don’t want to do. Don’t let the pressure of making a friend become a priority over the way you parent or what you’re available for.
Take Your Own Advice
We deserve the same caliber of friendship that we try to find for our children. We deserve to hear the advice we offer to our children. So trust yourself and how you feel. You don’t have to be friends with someone to be nice. Play with someone else if that friend doesn’t make you feel good.
Give Her Space
With motherhood comes a busy life. Sometimes when a new friendship occurs it’s exciting. Remember that aforementioned advice about letting it have time? Let it. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out. A simple thought is better than radio static. Meet her halfway.
Cast An Open Net
Your mom friend is out there. Try to cast an open net, even when you think you have it in the bag. You can meet a friend literally anywhere. Maybe she’s not on the playdate with Karen from that mom group, maybe she’s the mom at the playscape making sure it doesn’t burn down, just like my bridesmaid. I showed up on a playdate with another mom that ended up fizzling out, but the playscape host is now my bridesmaid.
Oftentimes we’re in such a focused pursuit for friendship that we overlook flourishing the simple connections right under our noses. I used to think I would always be one of those cool lone wolf moms. But now I think—while it’s super trendy to be a lone wolf—it’s really nice to have a friend. With friendship, I think the worst thing you try is far better than the best that you didn’t.