Life changes when you become a mom. You may have more responsibilities and get less sleep. While it's amazing in so many ways motherhood leaves you with less control over your time. And many times this can affect your friendships.
If your friends are in different stages of life than you are, relationships may drift apart. If you leave a job to stay home with your baby or move to the burbs, friendships may disappear altogether. Sometimes being a mom keeps you so busy, you see your friends less, then you wake up one day and wonder where your people have gone.
That’s what happened to me. Just a few years after becoming a mom I found myself lonely. I desperately wished I had a group of friends reminiscent of the crew I had in high school. A squad of moms that did things together all the time. Women to sit with at every game, school event, and fundraiser. And, if I were lucky, they’d be my weekend friends too, because our spouses would love hanging out together as much as we did.
I’d see other moms on the playground laughing and talking with other another. I assumed that everyone else had mom squad but me. I was heartbroken over the connections I no longer had and constantly complained to my husband that I didn’t have any friends. I couldn't understand why it was so hard to meet new people and have deep, meaningful relationships.
Little did I know I wasn’t the only one that felt this way.
Eventually, I learned a few things about friendships, and my perspective changed. I stopped hoping people would want to be around me just because we’ve met a few times and our kids went to the same school. Gone were the days of friendships that formed organically nurtured only by proximity. If I wanted friends, I had to work at it.
If you find yourself in a similar situation here’s what you can do:
1. Find your people. Think of this one like mommy dating. Go through the list of moms you want to be friends with and ask them out for coffee, invite them over for lunch, or suggest a meet up at the park. Become interested in them, ask them questions about themselves, and keep your ears open for something you have in common. You may be surprised who you connect with and who you don’t.
2. Consider the relationships you already have. What brings you together and how can you cultivate that connection? Resist the urge to chase after the people you think should be your friends only to neglect current relationships that could blossom if only nurtured.
3. Don’t put pressure on a friendship to be what it is not. Just because you love talking to another mom at pick up about your kids doesn't mean your relationship will translate into an enjoyable couples night out. And the woman you love to go to coffee with may not be a fit for your book club, tennis team, or volunteer committee. Feel free to explore different ways to connect with other women but if something doesn’t work, stick with what does.
4. Do the work. Friendships cannot be left up to chance; they require intentionality. If there isn’t already a reason to see your new mom friend regularly create one. Start a club, take a class together, or set up a weekly or monthly date to get together.
5. Connect your friends with one another. At this point, you may have a lot of individual mom friendships brewing, and that’s great. But you can take it to the next level by choosing those with similar personalities or interests and introduce them to each other. Find a reason to get them together such as drinks after a school event, brunch at your house, or a walk through your neighborhood.
As I started to establish new friendships, I quickly learned that one mom does not fit all. That’s because relationships look a lot different than they did back in the day. I didn't end up with a “go-to” squad as I’d hoped, but rather circles of friends that are made up of amazing women. I have my soccer mom friends, my game night couples crew, my weekend people, my book club, and my anytime you want to grab a coffee after drop off friends. These relationships mean so much more to me then I could have ever imagined. My life is so much richer for the diversity they bring.
This post was originally shared on the Friending Podcast, Episode 36 How to Find Your Mom Squad