Good friendships don’t come along everyday, but they aren’t as hard to find as you think!
The day was like any other, sunny, hot, humid, filled with giggles from my then 1 year old little girl. It was a good day, I was blessed, and for the most part happy. I had all I needed, yet I realized that I was lonely.
It wasn’t that I was alone, really. I had my husband and my daughter. But I was missing something that all moms need in their lives, my mommy tribe. You know, the group of friends that has your back when you feel completely lost in motherhood. These same friends are the ones you can lean on when life gets hard, and when your kid is driving you batty and you need a trustworthy ear to complain to. These mommy friends are essential.
You see, a few years earlier I got married and moved to a completely new state, one where I literally knew no one but my new husband. I desperately missed my home, but I was surviving.
Then we had a baby, and seemingly overnight, my world seemed more wonderful, and more lonely at the same time. It was glaringly obvious sometimes that I needed a break from my sweet, but often demanding little girl. But most of my best friends were a whole state away and I was alone with this baby.
I could have called them, but most of them didn’t have kids and I felt like none of them would really understand what I was going through anyway, much less want to have a conversation while my 1 year old fussed in the background. I felt helpless and lost.
I had never had a tough time making friends when I was younger, why was it so hard now?
I struggled for many years in our new state. In the beginning I made plenty of friendships, but none that were really lasting or deep. While I was grateful for the friends that I did make, they seemed so difficult to keep up, and they didn’t flow naturally like the friendships of my past.
The answer is obvious- moms are REALLY busy! And our priorities are with our kids and families. Often moms don’t feel that they can get away without creating more work for themselves later, and suddenly, going out doesn’t seem like so much fun.
Eventually I did find some great mommy tribe worthy friends! I want to share how I did this, and how anyone who is struggling can do this too!
After many years of being in this life stage though, there’s one thing I’ve learned:
It’s that good friends don’t come along everyday, but they aren’t as hard to find as you would think.
Here are some tips for starting to find your best mommy Friendships!
Mommy Friendship Tip # 1: Be yourself
There is so much advice that comes in handy when explaining why you should just be yourself. My favorite is that it’s pretty hard for others to love you when you don’t love yourself. Feeling like you have to pretend around others is a sign that you don’t really love or like yourself.
You are pretty awesome! Just be yourself!
As a new mom this one can be both easy and very hard. For me, it was a dichotomy of loving my new life with my daughter more than anything else in the whole world, and feeling like I didn’t really know who the heck I was or where I fit in anymore.
In time, I learned that trying to be someone else never works, and that really, I was awesome just the way I was. I finally stopped trying to be something I wasn’t, I owned up to my insecurities as a mom, and this openness made me instantly more confident in myself. In time, I found some wonderful mommy friends that I would have not allowed myself to make if I were trying to act like someone else.
Mommy Friendship Tip #2: Don’t be so picky
I was blessed to have some pretty great best friends growing up and in college. So when I moved to a different state and started over, I fully expected to just find someone else with a young baby and have everything just click. I expected to instantly find common interests with each other and to be forevermore inseparable!
Oh how I was wrong! I spent years feeling like I was for some reason incapable of attracting good friends! Then, I began to realize part of the reason…I was being judgmental and picky- I was looking for the perfect friend.
The truth is, most friendships don’t usually start with two perfect people, and there may or may not be sparks at the beginning.
My first best friendship was formed simply because we lived next door to each other and were both totally bored and without other, more conveniently placed friends in the summer. If we wanted to play with someone, we had each other, and that was all we needed to form a lifelong friendship!
Another one of my very best friends in the world used to be my enemy! We were forced to spend time together because of our families, and we irritated each other to no end. However we grew on each other and continue to be close even though miles apart.
My point is, once I stopped looking for that perfect mommy friends, and stopped expecting them to be just like my friendships from my youth, I started finding good moms, who turned into good friends.
Mommy Friendship Tip #3: Be friendly in natural places where your kids hang
When I became a mom, I realized the easiest places to make friends with other moms, (especially ones whose kids were friends with my kid), was at various kid events. Once I tapped into this gold mine of potential mommy friends, I found that connecting with moms who turned into good friends was fairly easy!
One of my good friends from my new state was my daughter’s very first preschool teacher! I saw her a couple times per week, and my daughter adored her daughter, and a friendship was born!
Look in places where your kids are naturally hanging out anyway, it gives you both a simple common interest to start a bond. You certainly won’t find good mommy friends everywhere, but there is no place better to look than at these common places:
- Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts
- School meetings/fundraisers
Class field trips/class parties
- Sports practice/games
- After school tutoring sessions
- Sunday School
- Any other place that you frequent with your kids in tow
Mommy Friendship Tip #4: Be a friend
Of course you have heard the saying that you have to be a friend to make a friend. But never did this saying hold more true than when trying to make mommy friends! Aside from looking for (and not finding) the perfect person who I thought would make a great friend, I also made the mistake of not reaching out to people enough.
Saying “hi, how are you,” is often not enough. Sometimes you have to try to connect with them. Don’t be artificial, but do say what’s on your mind!
- If you love their dress, tell them!
- If you think they look amazing, tell them!
- If your kids throws tantrums just like theirs is doing right now, tell them!
All moms want to feel connected to other moms, and giving a compliment or an encouragement is a great way to connect!
The flip side to this is that it can be difficult when you are really needing a friend. You may be trying to be a friend, and feeling like no one is giving back in return. This is tough, I get it. But you need to be sincere and willing to give without the assurance that you will get anything in return sometimes.
When you’re truly getting nowhere with trying to connect, don’t forget that great friendships often don’t happen overnight. They are built and fostered.
Mommy Friendship Tip #5: Hold space for your original best friends- no matter how far away they are
Becoming a mom is wonderful, but can be a hard transition when it involves you changing apart from your friends. For me, I was the first of my group of friends to have a baby, and I felt like instead of having lots of support, I became more separated from my best friends.
Although I understand now that big life changes often naturally change our focus and priorities, and this was not abnormal, it was a pretty difficult pill for me to swallow. I needed my friends, and they needed me. But because of drastic life changes, calls went unanswered more often, and then calls went unmade for longer periods of time.
It’s a rare friendship that can withstand any life change and still remain as active as before.
While it is totally natural for you to fall out of immediate connection with your close friends when you start a family, that doesn’t mean you should close connection.
So, hold space for those special few people in your life. Understand that life gets busy, and hard, and priorities change. Understand that none of these things mean that your friendship can’t be just as strong when you ARE able to catch up!
It’s funny, but some of my best friends and I don’t talk all that often. And I still feel 100% connected to them.
If you are in that season of life where you feel like your family is thriving but you’ve lost yourself and your friendships, there is hope!
After moving to a new state, starting completely over and having kids with not one person from my previous life around for support, I definitely had to make my own way where my mommy friendships were concerned!
The struggle for moms is real, and without a mommy tribe beside you, life can look daunting.
Just remember to be yourself, don’t be too picky, look for friends in natural places, be a friend, and continue to hold space for those far away close friends in your life! One day, you’ll look around and be surrounded by plenty of great mommy friends to genuinely lean on and laugh with throughout the hard days of parenting