I’ve always valued friendship tremendously. I had a best friend growing up and I’ve been fortunate to always have some good friends in my life. I also had some friends I no longer keep in touch with for whatever reason and some who just drifted apart.
Becoming a parent was one of the life events that often changed the course of many friendships. Being a busy mom, I admit it is hard to have a lot of time for friends. It is even harder to have time for friends who don’t have kids and have no clue of what you are going through. Sometimes, different parenting styles can also separate friends. Being judgmental about each other’s parenting can be a sure way to end a friendship over the long run. I’ve summarized a list of friendships that survived all this below and I have to say, because of these friends, my life is so much richer.
1. The Supportive Mom Friends
If you have recently become a mom and do not have any mom friends, run out now and join a local mom and baby group. Be outgoing and meet someone. You need mom friends. They are the ones you can talk about your baby’s every move and it is a great feeling when you and someone else are cherishing the same experiences together.
When you are worried about certain things, they are the ones that assure you they are going through the same thing, and it is all ‘normal’. The tips exchanged are also helpful. You can vent infinitely about sleepless nights, poopy diapers, temper tantrums and all other subjects that would send your childless friends running for the door, your mom friends will be there to support you and tell you it will get better. The kids also enjoy growing up with friends their own age, and it is amazing to watch both your own and your friends kids grow.
One exception would be someone who is very judgemental and there are plenty of those. Usually, if a mom can’t hold her tongue to lecture others on the harm of formula feeding, or says things like “Kids should be raised by moms, not daycare.” I would run the opposite way. This is not to say that she isn’t a nice person or a good friend to someone, I just personally do not consider these ‘friends material’ for myself. Make sure you are supportive and non-judgemental yourself too. We all have our opinions, but sometimes it is better to keep the perspective that not everyone is the same.
2. The Great Friends Who Happen to be Moms
This is my favourite group: the good friends who are at the same life stage as ourselves. They can act as supportive mom friends, and also just our own friends to have fun without the kids. Kids are not our only connector.
When you meet new mommy friends who just click with you more on a personal level, or you’ve had life long friends who’ve become parents around the same time you have, make sure you make an effort to maintain and keep the friendship going. Good friends are hard to come by.
3. The Childless, Fabulous Friend
We all need a friend who is childless and still lives that care-free, fabulous lifestyle. I have one myself, and from time to time, I make time to have a girls’ date with her. A date with her involves no kids talk, and plain old girls’ fun just like the old days. She reminds me of my own identity and my own interests and that I am not just a mom, but much more.
I cherish this type of friends because they also provide me a different perspective. I can’t imagine my life without kids but sometimes it is easy to lose sight of things such as your old ambition, sense of style, or even hobbies you’ve always loved. This friend will give you a break from mommyhood and also reminds you other things that are also important to you in life.
One word of advice on having such a good friend is that we need to keep in mind that they are childless. The times you feel like you no longer want to hear about her stories of random guys and bar hopping, remember she has to hear about your stories about pregnancy symptoms and daycare dramas. It is a two way street. Be aware they may not be interested in your kids, but they are interested in YOU, that’s why you are friends in the first place.
As I mentioned in my previous posts, we don’t have family help from either side. It is these wonderful friends that make our lives fun, functional and full of joy. We are very grateful to have them (you know who you are if you are reading) and a big thank you for putting up with us!