Did you know that your mom friends can have a significant influence on your attitudes and actions as a parent and a wife? That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with women who “do life” in a way that coincides with your values and your goals.
Are your mom friends notorious gossips? Get ready to become one yourself. Are they heavily focused on material things? In a while, you will be too. Are they relentlessly competitive where their children are concerned? Then just get ready, you’re in for a wild ride when one of your kids is perceived as the competition.
But the news isn’t all bad! Mom friends who are compassionate can be great encouragers when we’re struggling or down. Generous mom friends will share the parenting lessons they learned the hard way to spare you the same mistakes. Friends who are spiritually grounded can help you focus on the things that really matter in life and stress less about the things that don’t.
Think you could use a change of scenery from your current mom clique? Here’s how to connect with women who will have a more positive impact on your life.
1. Look in the places near your heart.
Is your faith the number one thing in your life? Then it stands to reason that you would find women with whom you could connect in a faith-based environment like a women’s bible study. Are your kids the center of the universe for you? Maybe a MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) group would be the place for you to find some friends who share your passion. Even an area of life like fitness can be the path to a mom BFF who pushes you to be consistent and supports your goals.
2. Find your tribe.
There are certain parenting journeys that have unique challenges and joys. Are you an adoptive mom? You’d probably benefit from having at least one mom buddy who understands and shares that world. Are you a single mom? Another trusted single mom can be a great sounding board and might even serve as a source of help with your child when you’re stretched paper-thin. Military wives can be a great source of strength to one another during challenges like deployment of a spouse. Moms of special needs children often report that having a few friends who are also parenting a special needs child is a great encouragement. Finding at least one other mom from “your tribe” can be a great source of encouragement and support. Check out support groups and community organizations that center on these needs and you might just find a great buddy or two.
3. Don’t be afraid to back away from problem relationships.
Sometimes you find yourself in a group of friends who are fun and sweet, but…there’s a problem. Maybe they only know how to socialize with a drink in hand and you’ve had past struggles with alcohol. Or maybe they love to shop and you’re trying to honor a strict family budget. Maybe they take a lot of pleasure in man-bashing and it pricks your conscience in a way that makes you feel disloyal to your spouse. It’s not being judgmental of them to conclude they’re not the right friends for you. They’re just in a different place, or have different needs that you do, and that’s okay. You don’t have to make a big deal about it, just slowly back away and engage with another circle of friends.
4. Honor your mom friend relationships.
The best way to have good friends is to be one. When you find those special relationships with other moms, do the work needed to maintain them. Even though you’re busy, respect your friendships by giving as much as you get so to speak. Return phone calls. Be a good listener. Offer to help with her kids at least as often as she helps out with yours. It’s an investment that pays great dividends.
Who is your best mom friend and why?
Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.