After becoming a parent, you may have found that your friend circle has shifted. The late nights out on the town or the frequent girls’ winery days may have gone to a slow trickle and the free time you do have, is best reserved for sleeping or reconnecting with your partner since even they can begin to feel like a stranger. But as you acclimate to your new role as mom, you will begin to find a balance and maybe even create relationships with some new people. Like all relationships, these will need work. The people who you still see a future with and the new members of your tribe will require healthy communication to foster lasting connections. So, from one mom to another, here are some pointers for making sure you are upholding your end of the deal.
- Stay in touch.
We are ALL busy. Sometimes even just a quick text to let someone know you were thinking about them is all that’s needed. It can also help keep a dialogue running. “Hey, I know Susie was sick last week- hope she’s feeling better”. Social media is a freebee too, because we all know you’re sitting there stalking everyone. Did you see that Jenn had family in town? Ask her how it went. Did Barbara’s dog have surgery? Make sure he’s doing ok. Just drop a line. It’s easy.
- Make plans.
Thinking of going to the park this weekend? Invite your friend to meet you there. Even if they can’t make it, everyone likes to be invited. But even if you must schedule something a month out, do it. A rotating schedule can be helpful. I have a friend with a baby the same age as mine and we choose one Sunday a month to have lunch at either of our houses and take turns hosting. Its predictable and easy. Or, try doing what I do and hosting a group at your house or another group-friendly location. It checks a lot of “friend boxes” off at one time and helps other moms make new friends!
We all understand that things come up. Kids get sick and sometimes other matters arise. Try your best to not bail out a couple hours before an event as the other person has most likely had to rearrange their ENTIRE lives to make the meeting happen. Mom time is precious, and we all need to be respectful of that. If little Billy gets the sniffles on Wednesday and you have a Saturday play date scheduled, give mommy some heads up in advance to prepare for possible cancellation. If you had volunteered to bring something to an event, make sure that you can get that item covered or make other arrangements. If you are planning a get-together or birthday party in the near future, maybe drop your friends a line and let them know what you are thinking so they can be in the know. Bottom line- be respectful.
- Go the extra mile when you can.
Time becomes so stretched when you have a family and while you may have been the first one in the past to bring a casserole to a friend in a time of need, you might be having a hard time getting dinner on your OWN table these days. But, if the situation warrants and you have a friend that is truly in need, there are so many options to lend support. Heck, there are even companies and services that will bring a meal to them FOR you! I try to buy a variety of greeting cards or blank cards and a few random gift cards every now and then so if something pops up, I can easily drop a note/gift in the mail. And of course, Amazon, ya’ll.
- Don’t judge.
This can be a hard one as it is literally impossible for all of us to parent in the exact same ways. We each have our own burdens and loads in life. The mom-friends you do come across who you have a lot in common with, hold on to them dearly and lean on them. The mom-friends who make you raise your eyebrows at times may present good opportunities for you to learn to be more accepting or perhaps could offer an insight on a different way of doing things (or be examples of what NOT to do!). We are all in this together and we are all doing the best we can and no one can tell you to “do better”.
In conclusion, when each of us was sent home from the hospital with our little munchkins and the shiny new title of mom, a little a certain of what we were doing. As more of us emerge and take charge of our new lives, we are hungry to form a pride of lioness that we can call our own. With the many terms of mothering being thrown around like “helicopter mom” and “crunchy mom” and “free-range mom”, many of us find that we are a blend of these things and respect some of the values of each making us “Ambi-Moms”, of sorts. Celebrating our differences and overlooking our flaws enables us to reach a higher level of connection and empathy toward one another and we can’t help but be better for it.
Embrace the uniqueness of each other and when you find common ground, stand on it, unshakably, together.