It’s no secret that when we become parents, it can be tough to maintain relationships outside of our immediate families. (Shoot, some of my friends fell off the face of the Earth as soon as they got married). Having a new baby can be overwhelming and time consuming making it hard to keep in touch, stay in the loop, and maintain even a semblance of a social life.
And it only gets harder. With each new little person we add to our family, we also add another schedule to stick to, another mouth to feed, another life that depends on us. It really isn’t hard to understand why many women claim they have no friends. Maintaining friendships takes time, energy, and effort and at the end of the day, those are 3 things many moms just don’t have leftover.
But I am here to tell you that you NEED to make the effort, take the time, and muster up the energy to make friends, reconnect with your old friends, and maintain relationships with these friends. You owe it to yourself, as a woman, as a mom, as a person to treat yourself to the beauty of friendship with other women who GET you.
If you think you are alone, think again. Moms everywhere are facing the same struggle you are. They’ve let their old relationships slip through their fingertips and are sitting alone at the playground desperately craving adult conversation from someone, anyone, just as badly as you are. Let’s be honest, as much as we love our kids, we can only talk about superheroes for so many hours before we want to tear our hair out.
Here are 7 different friends that every mom needs to keep her sane in this crazy world we call motherhood.
7 A Mom Whose Along for the Ride From the Beginning
From the time we are little girls, we plan to get pregnant with our best friend at the same time and to raise our kids to be the best of friends. It’s simple right?
Who knew how smart our little girl selves were? Having a friend alongside you for the crazy ride that is pregnancy is SUCH a great thing. Pregnancy is a beautiful blessing but it is also hard, and painful, and miserable at times too. And as much as they pretend to sympathize, most people just don’t get it unless they are in the same boat themselves. So having someone to commiserate with about your morning sickness and swollen ankles is really one of the greatest gifts of all.
Then, your babies come and you have even more in common. This is the friend you can text at 3 am knowing she’s probably up for the 4th time with her new cluster feeding baby. This is the friend who not only understands when you have to leave lunch early because your baby just pooped up his back, but she loans you her jacket to cover the poop stain on your shirt without a second thought.
Your baby pukes on her arm, no big deal, she doesn’t even notice. Her baby steals your baby’s pacifier? Who cares?
These friendships only grow stronger as our babies grow older and become friends themselves. You are there to see each other struggle and to help each other succeed through each milestone that comes with raising your little people. You have someone to cry alongside you on the first day of preschool, and someone who will be just as proud as you are when your little guy hits his first homerun.
If you don’t already have friends with kids your age, it shouldn’t be hard to find one. Look for kids around the same age as your child at the playground or park and strike up conversation. Better yet, sign your child up for a sport or join a mommy and me group if your babies are smaller. Seeing the same moms over and over is an easy way to develop relationships with moms who are in the same crazy place you are.
Maybe start with a poopy diaper joke as an ice breaker?
6 A Friend With Kids Older Than Yours
While asking for advice isn’t always the easiest thing to do, sometimes we just have no choice. And as helpful as Google can be, there really is nothing better than asking a mom that you know and trust who has been there and done that.
When our 2 year old daughter wasn’t talking nearly as much as her brother had been at the same age, my husband and I reassured ourselves she was fine by remembering our good friends whose daughter was the same way. We knew that her big brother was likely talking for her and telling us what she wanted and needed and that she would eventually start talking and never stop. And she did.
It’s so nice to be able to sit back and watch your friends with older kids experience everything first. You get an idea of what to expect, what to do, and sometimes what not to do. A good friend will pass on her best tips and advice without sounding nagging or like a know-it-all.
This way her kids get to be like big helpful friends rather than a play date
Little tid-bits of advice like “these diapers are the best deal”, “these jeans last the longest”, and “this is why you should stop at 2 kids” are just a few examples of ways these friends can come in handy. (Lucky for baby # 3, my bestie was about 2 weeks late with that last bit of advice!)
Not only are these friends good for advice and hand me downs, they are also almost guaranteed to have been there, right where you are at one point or another. No matter what awful phase or stage you may find yourself battling as a parent, chances are your friend with older kids has been there herself a time or two. And while she may not have the solution, she is at least living proof that this too shall pass.
5 A Fellow Stay-at-Home or Working Mom Friend
Whichever your circumstance may be, it’s hard. The struggles of being a working mom is something that stay-at-home moms may not be able to quite understand. And working moms may think stay-at-home moms have the easy life. And if you are a mom who works from home, you may think that there isn’t a single person out there who understands the life you live.
And face it, no matter how hard you try to explain your struggles to your partner, they will NEVER understand!
This is why every mom needs a friend who faces the same struggles every day. Working moms need other working mom friends to plan evening and weekend play dates with because they don’t have the luxury of meeting at the park at noon on a Tuesday.
She totally gets your messy kitchen and haphazard meals
Stay-at-home moms need fellow stay-at-home mom friends who can bring their kiddos over in the middle of the day to let the kids run wild while you consume insane amounts of coffee and catch up on the latest Kardashian news. Or maybe you could even take turns letting each other take a much needed hot shower?
Don’t get me wrong, lots of my friends are working moms and I love them dearly. But they are much harder to make plans with. Our schedules don’t always work out. If I didn’t have my fellow stay-at-home mom friends to meet me at the park to walk off the baby weight and let the kids run themselves ragged I don’t know what I would do to make it through the long days.
4 A Friend Without Kids
As we all know, it is easy to become completely obsessed with our kids. When we get together with our fellow mommy friends, we often talk about NOTHING but our kids. Conversations that used to center around diets, work, and guys now focus on how much sleep we aren’t getting, who’s cutting what teeth, and how many dirty diapers we’ve changed since lunchtime.
So when we actually find ourselves in a conversation with someone without kids, it can be a refreshing glimpse into the outside world. The world beyond babies and children!
I love catching up with my friends who are still dating, who still go out every weekend, who are still in school. I live vicariously through my single friends and beg them to let me help them create an online dating profile. It is fun to hear their stories of crazy nights or weekends away. I don’t envy them, I wouldn’t trade my beautiful babies for the world. But it’s nice to know there is still life out there.
This is the friend who helps you forget that you're a mom
And my friends without kids LOVE my kids. My friends with kids love my kids too, but they are usually too busy wiping their own kids butts and breaking up fights between their toddlers to pay too much attention to my kids. So when my friends without kids come over, they are always happy to play superheroes, hold a baby, or listen to my 4 year old’s stories.
It’s sweet how excited my kids get when these friends come over and they get the undivided attention of another adult for a change. Although, I often find myself fighting my kids for the attention of MY friends. But that’s my problem…
3 A Mom Just Like You
There are so many different ways to parent and everyone thinks their way is THE right way. And while you are probably doing plenty of things wrong, it is nice to have a friend who stands beside you in your beliefs and practices as a mom.
No matter what you do as a mom, you will be judged by someone who does things the other way. Co sleeping, nursing in public, formula feeding, baby wearing, extended rear facing, never leaving your kids, leaving your kids too soon, circumcising, vaccinating, you name it,…if there is a decision to be made, there is someone who will judge yours.
It may be hard to find another mom who is right there with you on every single decision you will make as a parent. But if you can find a friend who is pretty much on the same page as you in most areas, you should keep her around.
This friend understands your struggles
There is just something super comforting about having a friend who agrees with and supports your sometimes controversial decisions as a parent. When the media and your in-laws are telling you that you are doing it all wrong, you need this friend to reassure you that you are only doing what you know is best for your family.
And when your husband is complaining that your 4 year old is still in bed with you, it really feels good to be able to tell him that his golf buddy still has three kids in his bed too.
2 Online Friends
Sometimes it is hard to get yourself and your kids out of your pajamas every day. So managing to get everyone clean, fed, dressed, and out the door in a timely manner on a regular basis can be HARD. Add that to finding time to meet up with friends and actually being able to have adult conversations amidst the chaos that ensues when kids are around, and I totally get why so many moms don’t have friends.
This is where online friends can be total game changers!
For every mom sitting at home watching her kids destroy her house, feeling totally alone and on the brink of insanity, there are thousands of others in the exact situation. Yet we are all only an iPhone and a click away from connecting with potential lifelong friends.
When I was pregnant with my second baby, I joined an online group of women who were all due the same month as I was. We were all going through the same exact things at the same time. We were able to talk about embarrassing pregnancy issues that we couldn’t discuss with our husbands. We became close friends even from thousands of miles away.
An online community is as important as face-to-face friendships
Through that huge online community, a small number of ladies and I became super close. We started a small private group on Facebook where we kept in touch daily and grew even closer as our due dates approached.
Now, I’ve been calling this small group of ladies friends for almost 3 years. We have experienced the births of all our babies, more pregnancies, tragedies, moves, triumphs, struggles, and the everyday adventures of motherhood together even from across the country. A few of us have even had the pleasure of meeting in person and hugging the friend that we’ve experienced so much with over the years.
These women laugh, cry and celebrate with you
Some people may think it’s strange to have “online” friends. I admit, I didn’t go out looking to make friends when I joined the birth group 3 years ago. I just wanted to know if it was normal to still be puking at 16 weeks. But now I couldn’t imagine life without these girls.
So even if you can’t bring yourself to make friends with the other moms at the park or grocery store, there are still plenty of amazing friendships possible. All you need is wifi!
1 The Friend Who Knew You Before You Were “MOMMY”
We all have days where we feel like nothing more than an order giving, teeth brushing, diaper changing, milking mommy. Sometimes it seems that the days of having any sort of identity outside of our home are long gone.
That’s why it is nice to have a friend who knew you before your days consisted of yoga pants, play dates, meal planning, and wine drinking. Maintaining relationships with the people who knew you when you were just YOU, not so-and-so’s mommy, is so important in helping you yourself remember that girl too.
Sometimes a phone call to that old friend who knew the you that was always up for a spontaneous road trip to see your favorite boy band is just what you need to get you out of whatever funk you may find yourself in. Everyone needs that friend that they’ve known forever that it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen each other or talked, you always seem to just pick up right where you left off.
Some friendships are for life
This is the friend who will reminisce with you about the same crazy nights in high school every single time you talk and never get tired of laughing about the same stories. This is the friend who will remind you how hard your husband pursued you when you are feeling at a not-so-hot point in your marriage. This is the friend who will someday tell your kids just how cool their mom used to be, and still is!
There’s nothing wrong with spending all your time with your kids and being a mom first and foremost. But it’s always nice to have someone who knew you way back before you were somebody’s mom.