Are you struggling to cultivate and maintain friendships with other women? Were you hoping motherhood would bring a sense of belonging and deep connections with other mothers, only to end up feeling the opposite is true? Well, here's a bit of good and bad news. You aren't alone.
People in general are lonely. The surgeon general has been warning Americans for years that we are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. The effects of the covid pandemic certainly did us no favors either.
We all crave connection as a species. Women especially are wired to seek meaningful, platonic connections with other women. Men are prone to offering a solution quickly, whereas women are more apt to allow you to just talk.
Sociologists agree that the key to making strong friendships are proximity, repeated unplanned interaction and settings that encourage people to confide in each other. Research shows that simply making a casual friend takes roughly 50 hours. For a close friendship plan on investing upwards of 200 hours.
Relationships take work and you often get out of it what you give. Consider what you expect to get from your relationships and what you can reasonably give. Being in similar life stages and having the same core values definitely helps but does not make friendship unattainable, however. A friendship between a child-free woman and a new mom will take effort to maintain but it is not an impossibility. We can't expect our friends to follow us through life not living their own.
Long before I ever became a mom, in my fantasies of becoming such, I would imagine playing the classic games usually played at a baby shower with all these imaginary friends. I held this belief that becoming a mother would just sorta innately tap me into this tribe of women with the shared connection of motherhood. When in fact motherhood can leave many feeling vulnerable, alone and insecure.
Mothers are known to be greatly undervalued by our society. Simply suggesting mothers to go make mom friends as a cure all without recognizing the amount of work that those friendships take to cultivate is a crime. Ugh, who has time for that? Yet here we all are craving real, authentic relationships based off of raw, vulnerable shit. As I write this I have 9 unread messages in my Peanut App inbox.
What happened to it take a village? Children and parents of course benefit from the additional support and learning experiences offered from exposure to other families or family friends but maintaining those relationships can be extremely difficult when your main focus is trying to keep a tiny human or possibly tiny humans alive. That being said we should probably show up to some birthday parties if we hope to have guests show up to ours. And if you are not yet a parent I hope this post shares some insight into why scheduling hangouts can be so difficult for your friends that are parents.
Managing the mental load of being a parenting and managing the work that is friendship can be a lot some times but it's worth it. Here are 10 tips to help manage your social life as a mom.
#1 TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF! Seriously are you putting in time and effort? Be honest. Be honest with yourself and with your friends on what energy you can give. Some seasons are better than others and that is all right. We just want to make sure we set appropriate expectations.
#2 Edit Friendships if needed. Be yourself. If you feel like you can't be your whole authentic self then that friendship isn't worth your energy. Don't be caught up in having a crew and spreading yourself too thin. Less might be more.
#3 Do things you don't normally do. This will bring opportunities to meet new people and keep you from telling the same boring stories over and over again.
#4 Schedule regular platonic date nights.
#5 Join a club, sports league or take dance classes. It's a great way to be social and meet new people while also exercising.
#6 Avoid canceling at all costs. And if you really must cancel offer an alternative date and time to hangout.
#7 Don't bank on one bestie. We all get busy and we all need a break sometime.
#8 Swap texting for video calls. This is a great way to feel more connected when you can't meet in person.
#9 Try an app like Peanut to meet mom friends.
#10 Embrace those soft connects. Not everyone is going to be your BFF and that's okay.
And above it all, please remember that you are your own best friend and you're pretty damn cool. Nobody can ever love you or "get you" as much as you can. Sometimes it's nice to just be in our own company.
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