Now that I’m a mom, I’ve realized that friendship looks different than it used to.
When I first became a mom, I found myself feeling lonely. At the same time, I regularly took myself out of social engagements because I often wanted more time with my little one. I had a difficult time balancing returning to work with being a mama, and worried that I would miss out on critical bonding time or miss a nursing session. And truthfully, after the baby went down in the evening it was hard to find the energy to do much at all.
With time (and eventually sleep) I finally realized something. The social scene as a mom is different – and it’s not a bad thing. I haven’t lost any friends, and I haven’t actually missed out on anything that would fulfill me. What’s different is that my expectations have changed; I have learned to balance what I enjoy with what my priorities are. And the best part is that often, they’re the same things.
Whenever I feel lonely, I remind myself that friendship just looks different now, and it can’t be measured in nights out on the town, phone calls or text messages. Here’s what I’ve learned about friendship:
- You meet friends through your kids. One of our closest family friendships started when our one-year-olds ran into each other (literally) in the open area at Capital Brewery. (And parents, don’t feel ashamed to schedule play dates at beer gardens!).
- You catch up on your correspondence during your commute. Almost all of my phone calls happen at 8am or 5pm.
- You no longer return phone calls or texts in a timely fashion. If I see the message when I’m at the park, cooking dinner or hanging out with the family I make a mental note to respond when I’m not on mom duty (one of my sometimes successful efforts to “be more present”). Most times, I completely forget that it ever happened until I’m texting someone else and see that I didn’t respond. (Sorry friends, I try.)
- Even your friends without kids are totally cool hanging out with your little ones.
- You find friends that will listen… even laugh, when you call for no other reason than to explain why you won’t be winning “mom of the year” awards any time soon.
- Your co-workers become your besties. As a working mom, I relish the social time that comes with my office environment. I embrace 10 minute walks to get coffee, or quick lunch dates. And I’m lucky enough to have some pretty great co-workers.
- You don’t book anything between the hours of 5pm and 7:30pm Monday-Friday. It’s not worth passing up those two hours you get between work and bedtime. (But you will definitely be up for wine promptly at 7:30 p.m.)
- There’s something special about friends who love your little ones as much as they love you.
- Friendship doesn’t always happen in person. You have no problem forming friendships through Facebook messages, text messages and emails. What started out as late-night (panicked) Facebook messages with an acquaintance during breast-feeding sessions turned into an ongoing friendship… and now our daughters are besties, too!
- Most of all, you find that the most meaningful friendships are those that thrive even when your head is spinning and life moves too quickly. You find it in the people who offer help even when you refuse to ask for it, and in those who keep reaching out even when you forget to return their calls.
What does friendship look like to you? Comment below!