If I had a nickel for every time I heard “You’ve got your hands full!” as I wrangle my Irish twins, I’d be a rich woman. There’s no question—mom life is intense. Gone are the days of luxurious afternoon coffee conversations. Now, I barely start a sentence before dashing after a toddler. Building and maintaining friendships is harder as a mom, yet my need for solidarity and support has increased. I need some mom friends. Do you?
Think back to school days, when we had no choice but to work at making friends. It’s more complicated now than sharing a Hostess cupcake or saving a spot on the bench at recess. But making friends isn’t impossible. Here are the top tips to find mom friends while raising kids.
1. Alter your expectations.
Just as you weren’t destined to be besties with every woman on the planet when you were single, you’re also not meant to have a deep connection with every mom. You may need to settle for fewer social events when you’re confined by nap schedules and baby-friendly venues. Try to accept that the new normal is good—it’s just different. Get creative with how you connect: Skype during nap time, ask dad or grandma to watch the kids while you meet up with a friend, or invite friends over regardless of the state of the living room. (Good mom friends never mind a messy house.)
2. Be intentional.
Friendships that aren’t cultivated fall apart. Put regular contact with your good friends as high on your priority list as shopping for groceries. Write it down in your planner. I call friends while on walks or call hands-free on drives, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. A quick hello and expression of caring can make a world of difference on lonely days.
3. Accept differences.
Differences in parenting styles are natural and good. Even if you disagree with aspects of another mom’s parenting style, your connection to her might be a great friendship in the making. Remember that no mother is defined by her child’s behavior. Focus on finding women you naturally connect with and approach your parenting differences with curiosity rather than criticism.
4. Call for divine help.
God created you to be a social being. He wants you to be happy. Hand him your situation and let him bring you the people you need. I struggled for months to find good friends after I moved to a rural area. I felt unpopular and unwanted. Finally, I just surrendered it to God. Later that day, I met a mom who had been leading a moms’ group at our church but who had discerned she was too busy to keep leading it. The group needed a new leader. In that second, I gained an entire group of like-minded women. We met every two weeks at my house. Take it from me: God can orchestrate friendships that we never could on our own.
5. Make new friends…
Your mom friends are definitely out there and probably closer than you think. Where would they hang out—the park? The library? The nature center? Make technology work for you. Start by searching for local groups on Facebook or Meetup.com. Not every meetup will yield a new, deep connection, but persistence will win the day.
6. …but keep the old.
If you feel distant from your old friends, communicate your needs and abilities in this season. They can’t see inside your head. Reassure them that you don’t want to grow apart and strategize together about how to keep the friendship strong. Good friends will always walk the extra mile to understand you and meet you halfway.
How have you made your best mom friends?