By Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC
When you were in college, you may have gone through a season of your life where you had as many guy friends as girlfriends. It may have been easier, less drama and better parties. But every woman needs a good girlfriend, especially after she has kids. Not only do you need a girlfriend after kids, but you need a mom friend. Moms give other moms what no one else can: emotional support for those days you’re sure you’re losing it; physical support when you need an extra pair of arms, legs or a spare car seat; and spiritual support when you need to hear, “Keep the faith; this too shall pass.”
Mom friends understand when the house smells like dirty diapers, or will talk over a colicky baby without batting an eye. Mom friends understand you crying in the middle of the afternoon because you can’t button your favorite dress, and they listen while you vent about your partner coming home late or being on a business trip leaving you alone with the kids. Mom friends are the backbone of every mom at some time or another.
Throughout every mother’s life–from the birth of her first child to her 80th birthday–she will have friends who have walked the journey with her. Those friends remember her children when they were babies. They become like a tapestry interwoven within the children’s lives. I recall every one of my mother’s dearest mom friends, and although several of them died before my mother, they were as much a part of my family as my brothers and sisters.
With life’s fast pace, it’s easy to get busy and not take time to develop friendships with other moms like our moms did. However, this is a big mistake, because a daycare or babysitter can never fulfill the role our mom friends can.
Here are some simple ways to foster friendships with other moms. You don’t need a group, but you do need a mom friend.
1. Get yourself out there and take your baby for a stroll or go to the park. Having toys other children can play with will help draw kids and moms to you. Begin the conversation.
2. After you meet a mom you’re comfortable with, share contacts on Facebook or phone.
3. Organize play dates at your home.
4. Turn naptimes into coffee times with other moms.
5. Find kid friendly restaurants to meet or other kid activities and invite another mom and her children.
6. Join an exercise class at the Y. They are inexpensive and many have babysitting where you’re sure to meet other moms.
7. Sign up for a baby-and-me class and reach out to other moms.
8. Be willing to help another mom when you see a need.
9. Find a church that has activities or baby classes.
10. Send encouraging emails or notes to other moms. This will make you feel better, and they will be more receptive to reaching out and contacting you.
My children are grown, and my mom friends have become their surrogate moms. My best mom friend hosted my daughter’s baby shower and so we began again….
– Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at StartTalkingBook.com and more about Rapini at maryjorapini.com.