What is it about becoming a parent or growing up that makes it suddenly so challenging to make new friends? From the time we were babies on playdates all the way through to partying in college, it was easy to make friends. Suddenly, you throw in a marriage, a few kids (or maybe just one), balancing being a Stay at Home Mom or nurturing a career and making friends is almost as hard as dating. Why is that?
Recognition is the First Step
In the soon-to-be cult favorite self-development book by Rachel Hollis, Girl, Wash Your Face , Rachel talks about two truths: 1) one of the most desired things by women is true, meaningful friendships and 2) the majority of women don’t even put themselves on their own priority lists.
In order for us to even begin to treat ourselves as women and mothers, we’ve got to put self-care at the top of our lists rather than not even on it at all. Now that the easy part is out of the way, let’s move on to the hard part—finding and making friends in a digital world.
Hi, you seem cool. Wanna go out?
Does this sound like you? You’re dropping your kid off at school and you see another mom. She’s got her workout clothes on, hair in a ponytail, a kid in one arm while she’s lugging a backpack, lunchbox and nap mat in her other all the while telling her son not to run in the parking lot. You feel like you’re looking in the mirror. She seems like someone you’d like…someone with whom you can commiserate over a cup of coffee or bottle of wine. You smile, thinking about how much fun that might be and then freeze up like a shy girl asking out the cute boy. Why is it so dang hard to just make friends with other moms?
Whatever happened to talking on the phone?
In this age of social media, we can find out someone’s entire life story just by knowing their name and looking them up on Facebook or Instagram. Let’s bring back the notion of a phone call. Not a text but actually picking up the phone and talking. We all know that the lives we portray on social media are not a true representation of everything we have going on. It’s a filtered truth. Some people talk about their struggles but, for the most part, it’s filled with pretty pictures of kids, family, direct sales businesses, etc. It’s only through connecting and talking with our friends that we can build those deeper, more meaningful relationships. When was the last time you asked a friend or were asked by a friend how you were feeling? Not just a “how are you?” but truly and deeply asking them or being asked how they’re doing in this season of life.
Finding Your Tribe
With age comes more responsibility and less time for self-care but that doesn’t mean we have to stop having fun. Laughter is the best medicine, right? It’s so easy as parents to make excuses for ourselves and find a reason not to go out and let loose. Mom guilt is real, as we are all too well aware, but we owe it to ourselves, to our spouses and children to take care of ourselves. Find people who genuinely are interested in you and make you laugh. Friendships can be formed anywhere – church, work, sports teams, school, direct sales teams, moms clubs – put yourself out there and find people who bring you joy. And who can sit back and laugh about the chaos of life from time to time. Or even find some time to Netflix and chill with your girlfriends! Grab a glass of wine, relate and laugh at Netflix’s newest comedy The Let Down about a first-time mom exploring the new world of motherhood. I mean, who can’t relate to that?
If all else fails, embrace technology
There are tons of great apps and groups like Smart Mom , Peanut and HeyMama you can check out! And if you’re in the throes of it, I highly suggesting starting your journey with a great read like Girl, Wash Your Face or Present over Perfect . I promise they won’t disappoint.
There’s no doubt that making lasting friendships as an adult is difficult but it doesn’t mean we have to give up. Believe it or not, you’re not alone. Life is too short for mommy wars and jealousy. Let’s all go out there and make some friendships happen!