One unexpected change in my life post-motherhood is how it has changed friendships for me!
I remember pre-kids I would hang out with my friends that had small children and would leave our meetings feeling a little frustrated. Every conversation we tried to start would be quickly interrupted by the little person, making it hard to connect. I didn’t quite get why Mom’s liked to talk about what it was to be a Mom so much. Didn’t they have anything else to talk about?
Since becoming a Mom, I totally get and do the things that once baffled me about the mother’s I had spent time with. New motherhood takes all you have. You learn to adapt to interrupted conversation and really what else is there to talk about other than the kids?
More than anything, since becoming a Mom, I’ve learned how much I need close friends that understand what I’m going through in this season. I’ve grown a tremendous appreciation for the woman around me and seven years into motherhood I can honestly say there have been seasons of this Mom gig that I only made it through because I had the friendship of some amazing women to draw on.
So why are Mom friends so important? Well, here are a few reasons why I think they are so.very.necessary!
- Motherhood can feel brutally lonely
There are parts of mothering that can feel brutally lonely. Midnight feedings and chronic sleep deprivation leave you in a fog that can be so hard on your relationships (and ability to think clearly). Postpartum issues such as anxiety, depression, or just generally feeling off are actually more the norm than the exception (which no one tells you until your living through and are completely baffled by what is “wrong” with you).
The truth is that new motherhood wasn’t meant to be lived alone. You absolutely need a tribe to lean on! If your feeling isolated, keep reaching out! Find a local Mom’s group to connect with or go out on a limb and strike up a conversation at the park with a fellow Mom(I met one of my very best friends because she did just this, several years ago!). Make and effort to grow your tribe. You need other Mom’s to lean on.
- You need other Mom’s to commiserate with
There are some parts of the transition to motherhood that really only another Mom can understand. Not even your spouse, no matter how supportive, can get the things you’ve lived through the same way a fellow Mom can. Having a place to feel understood, sometimes vent, and just people who “get it” can take the sting out of some of the more challenging parts of being a Mom.
- You need Mom’s to grow with
Motherhood is a transformative experience. In an instant you kinda actually become an adult in new mysterious ways. You are suddenly filled with endless love and so many new instincts. Yet, the transformation doesn’t stop with having a baby! There are so many phases to come that stretch you in unexpected ways.
My tribe of Mom friends have been vital as I’ve moved into new territory as a Mother of school aged children. Not only can we support each other when the sadness of seeing them grow so quickly sneaks up on us but also we can look back with a strong love for the sleep deprived and park filled preschool days. We help each other remember the joy of what we’ve just come through over the heartache. When we work at it we can continue to be each other’s support as we once again and venture into uncharted parenting territory.
- Motherhood offers amazing common ground for friendship
While each family is unique with their own specific strengths and challenges, there are many commonalities we experience as mothers. Most mother’s love with a fierce love, we often carry irrational worries for our children, and we want the best for our kids. Our common passion for the good of our kids offer a strong starting point for beautiful and supportive friendship to grow.
My closest Mom friends have lived out the details of being loving Mom’s in all different ways. Some of them are die hard breastfeeding/attachment parents, some of them are more willing to let their kids run wild, others only want one or two kids, and another says the more the better! While I don’t always make the same choices in my parenting as they do, I can love and support them nonetheless because I want to cheer on their loving mother’s hearts!
As long as the goal is to offer our kids a safe and caring home there is such a variety of ways to meet that goal. Take advantage of the chance to be a fellow Mom’s encouragement, rather than letting yourself get hung up on the details that can create dividing lines over preferences. I promise this posture will lead to rich friendship that you won’t regret.
- Motherhood gives you the chance to be a support to other Mom’s
Once you moved past the hazy and sleepless stage of motherhood, certain things do get easier (I PROMISE). Some of those things include getting in and out of your car in less that 15 minutes each time, showering without fear someone will accidentally burn down the house, and feeling like you have a functional brain.
Once the fog lifts you have the opportunity to remember what it was to be in the trenches of early motherhood and reach out! I get so happy when I can be the one to hold the door for my Mom friends that are still toting diaper bags, a baby, toddler, and are trying to push a stroller too! It’s exciting to bring a meal to a new Mom because I can now cook without all hell breaking loose.
I remember so fondly how helpful those prepared meals were for me not that long ago. When I have a friend concerned about baby development or socialization or whatever they are worried about, I can speak words of grace to them to help them know it will be okay and they are doing great.
I also need Mom’s who are farther along on this journey for me to do the same, to offer encouragement and wisdom. I am so thankful for all the woman who have done just that for me over the past 7+ years.
Know that friendship and motherhood can go together! Motherhood wasn’t made to be done alone. Reach out, find a friend, be a friend, and don’t worry if your kids are too crazy or your brain isn’t working properly. Chances are your Mom friend will be right there struggling with you and needs you to be her friend too!
Article originally published on Richmond Macaroni Kid!