5 Ways to Maintain Friendships During Motherhood
Motherhood is amazing, but it can also be isolating as well. Mighty Mommy has 5 tips to stay connected with your friends, which will benefit your life and improve your parenting.
Remember life before kids? That easy, uncomplicated time when one of your favorite ways to kick back and spend your free time was with your best friends?
I remember staying up all night in my crowded dorm room cramming for finals, and later on, impromptu get-togethers with plenty of food, wine, and no worries about waking up early the next day. Whatever it might be, there’s no one like your pals to share life’s simple and serious moments with.
With today’s hectic lifestyles, it seems that our friendships are often placed on the backburner. But what many of us fail to acknowledge is that a friendship can help you handle the best and worst of life, causing a reduction in the amount of stress and isolation you feel on a daily basis.
Mighty Mommy has 5 tips to help you stay connected with your friends, even if you don’t have a lot of extra time:
Tip #1: Assess Your Friendships
As we have kids, our friendships get tested, take new routes, and can be difficult to maintain. If you find that you’ve drifted away from a large portion of your friends, this is actually a wonderful time to assess your past and present friendships and make decisions about whom you would still like to stay connected with. List all your friends and acquaintances and ask yourself honestly who you still have things in common with and truly enjoy. Your personal time has likely shrunk substantially since you had kids, so choose how you spend that time wisely. If there are people on that list who are draining and needy, think about how much time you’re able to devote to those friendships. Evaluate your relationships and decide who you'll go the extra mile to maintain ties with now that life is more hectic. Once you have that figured out, it’s time to jumpstart those connections.
Tip #2: Keep it Short and Sweet
One of the biggest challenges that moms face is the lack of time to do anything extra for themselves. Fortunately, staying connected with our friends does not necessarily have to take a huge chunk of time out of our busy days. With all the technology and social media avenues at our disposal, it’s easy to send a quick email or text to one of your besties letting them know you would love to stay in touch even if it’s via email or Facebook, until you can get out for a glass of wine to catch up. Be sure and ask how their life is going too. It’s important to let them know that you want to be part of their life even though you haven’t had the time to pick up the phone and chat for hours like you did pre-kids.
I’m always on the lookout for funny greeting cards that I can tuck away and send to my girlfriends as pick-me ups when they are going through a tough time, for their birthdays, or best of all, just out of the blue to give them a much needed laugh when they aren’t expecting it. Your true friends know the real deal about how busy you are, so even if you have to keep your efforts short and sweet, they will appreciate it until you can spend more time together at a future date.
Tip #3: Reach Out
When you do have a little more time, pick up the phone and give that friend you haven’t talked to in ages an old-fashioned telephone call. (Retro, I know!) Just hearing one another’s voices can lift you both 10 feet off the ground if you’re feeling a little low or are stuck in a rut. After you exchange pleasantries about your kids and partners, try to keep the conversation friendship-based. Not only because it will feel normalizing to talk about something other than diapers or preschool, but also because motherhood may be a sensitive topic for some friends for various reasons (infertility issues, divorce, etc.).
Talk about personal things you used to have in common, such as the workout class you used to take, or that hairstyle you’ve been dying to try (but don’t have the courage to yet). See if you can schedule a regular call every couple of weeks so you’ll have something to look forward to, regardless of whether you live far apart or just a few neighborhoods away.
Tip #4: Volunteer with Friends
It can be challenging to regularly devote a couple of hours to get together with a friend, but how about spending time through school- or community-based events that will not only benefit the cause you are working for, but is also a great way to hang out with other adults? I have met some of my very best friends through PTO and teaching Sunday School at church. After the last item on the PTO agenda has been scratched off, we scoot out of the school library and head out to our favorite establishment for a quick glass of wine and just unwind.
Tip #5: Girl’s Night Out (Or In)
Don’t wait for a major reason, like someone’s 40th birthday bash or finally getting your child toilet trained, to head on out for a special celebration. Grab your calendars and pick a date this month to celebrate your friendship. Find a good flick that’s playing at the theater or organize a game night, complete with snowflake martinis during the winter. Or have a potluck dessert bar and just sit on the couch with your coziest sweats and eat, drink, and be merry. My friends and I do this at least once every couple of months and if some of our group can’t join us, we shoot some video of ourselves and send it to them via Facebook. This lets them know we’re thinking of them and wish they could join us – but also that there will definitely be a next time.
Friendships offer a strong source of support and comfort to busy moms. They can help boost self-esteem and good spirits, and they provide a much-needed distraction from daily chores and family responsibilities. So don’t let your friendships go by the wayside.
How do you and your girl friends stay connected? Please share in the comment section or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check back next week for more parenting tips. Don’t forget to check out my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.
If you haven’t been in touch with your best friends, I hope you’ll take a moment to reach out right now and just say “hello”! Until next time……..happy parenting!