We’ve all seen the memes and read the articles about moms apologizing for being bad friends and we can all relate to them on one level or another.
Our kids take up a lot of time and are obviously our top priority, especially when they’re little. I know the feeling of being a bad friend well. So well. But I also made the decision to make time for my adult friendships because I know that while my kids are my top priority, they aren’t my ONLY priority. Taking care of myself is a high priority as well, and taking the time to pour into my own friendships and have adult conversation is so very important to me because I truly believe that being a good friend can actually make me a better mother!
I know that it’s not so simple for everyone to get into the habit of making the time to work on friendships when life is so chaotic and busy, but it is possible and oh so therapeutic. It’s good for your soul and when you finally get the time to go out with friends, it gives you a little break where you only have to worry about you for a few hours.
Here’s how I stay connected:
I know that so many moms’ biggest complaint is that they don’t even have friends. That’s ok-friends are so much easier to find when you have kids! Some of my closest friends are moms I’ve met through school or at the park! I even met one of my closest girlfriends through a Facebook yard sale site! I was selling a pack & play, she was trying to conceive, my kids fell in love with her and her husband when they came to pick up the crib and the rest is history! Friends can be found anywhere, and having kids in common is a great ice breaker for conversation and a great way to guarantee you’ll have common interests to talk about down the road as your kids grow too.
As your friendships grow, put time into the friendships that leave you feeling good and positive. When there’s drama or competition between women (it happens ALL THE TIME) you’ll be less likely to want to put the extra effort in. As soon as I made friends who were positive lights in my life, I wanted to make the time to be around them and I felt like I was a better mom because I would be refreshed and encouraged by them.
Take the time to reach out to your friends. Sometimes, our friends who don’t have kids don’t want to risk bothering you and the friends who do have kids are just as caught up as you are. If you think about a friend, take a moment to text message them to let them know. Reach out to your friends to hang out, even if you have no date or ideas in mind. I like to send a text on days I know that big things are happening for my friends-meetings, a big date, a fun trip are all times I can text to say “good luck!” or “have the best time!”. Letting friends know they’re important to you helps to strengthen your bond.
PLAN AHEAD TO SEE EACH OTHER
We are all busy, so finding time for friends isn’t always simple. Look ahead and find a date you’re all free and have childcare taken care of. My husband stays home with the kids when I need time with friends, but if you don’t have that option, family or a babysitter can be planned out in advance too!
BE EACH OTHER’S TRIBE
Take care of your friends. Be there for them. My friends have saved me in times of complete meltdowns, have taken care of my children when I am without childcare and have stepped in to help my family in times of crisis and I do as much as I can to reciprocate. I help in the ways that I can with my skills and abilities (and often offer my husband’s handyman skills as well) no matter what. I feel like caring for others brings you closer and builds a bond that helps to make your friendships unbreakable.
Can’t find time without the kids for a while? Set up a playdate! Meet up at a park, take the kids to the mall, go on a day trip to the closest attraction or just invite friends over. We love to have our friends over for dinner with their kids! The kids all run off to play with toys and the adults are able to enjoy adult conversation with minimal interruption. It still happens but when the kids are busy with each other we get windows of time where they’re off in their own world.
No matter how you make time to be a friend, it will benefit you greatly. Parenting in the chaos of life is a whole lot easier when you have the chance to be an adult again. To have adult conversations, time away from your kids to enjoy time without responsibility and to have others to lean on for advice and bounce ideas off of is a great way to fell whole.