Learning How to Navigate Mom Friendships

Hello everyone. Welcome back to my Reflection Thursdays series, in which I am concentrating on happiness, wellness, and being your best self as a person and mom.

how to make friends as an adultPin for later!

As the school year winds up here, I’m reflecting on why I’ve been a bit happier than in years past. For starters, my kids are getting older (it happens, you know?).  We’re out of the woods in terms of late night wakings, potty training, naps too! Although parenting older children brings even more tricky challenges, some of the physical challenges of parenting younger children have waned making for easier nights and more energetic days.

But aside from that, one reason I feel more at peace is due to my expectations surrounding friendships.  I’ve always relied on close female friends: you know the ones you can pour out your soul to over a good margarita, the ones who have the qualities of a best friend: they know you so well that they don’t judge, that only want the best for you, that are happy when you’re happy and sad when you’re sad, and that are always just THERE. You have fun with them and always enjoy their company, feel comfortable with them and never awkward, and your devotion to each other remains unquestioned.  When you’re with these friends, your spirit soars and when you don’t see them for a while, you crave their company.  I’ll call these friends your BESTIES.

A friend of my Mother’s once said if you can count your true friends on one hand during the course of a lifetime, you are truly lucky.

Maybe for some of us there are more than five besties in store over the course of a lifetime, maybe for some of us less.  But herein lies the rub: cherished friends are like rare jewels that don’t pop up everywhere.  It helps me to recognize the sacredness of these relationships and nourish them, but to not seek them out everywhere, which can be disappointing.

As moms who are part of school communities, sports communities and other sorts of communities, we are blessed with all sorts of new mom friendships without even having to think about how to meet new people.  Hopefully a lot of these moms become important parts of our lives.  After all, we are raising our kids together — what could be a bigger bonding experience?

Yet even though these other friendships might flourish as we grow as moms, they can be impacted by certain built-in limitations that have nothing to do with the people involved.  For starters, if you’re like me, you might feel restrained in terms of what you can tell new moms friends about your kids.  If your son is struggling with something at school, you might not feel comfortable discussing this with another mother in his class.  I have found myself as a mom to be less open than I showed myself to be as a High Schooler: whereas a lot of people used to know what was really going on with me, now I find that I can only share parts because my family’s privacy is at stake.

In sharing parts of yourself, you can have amazing friendship moments.  With some of my newer mom friends, I can laugh like nobody’s business because we are all in the trenches together, dealing with things like Middle School and homework that hit us like a Mac Truck.  I wouldn’t trade that bonding for anything.  At times, I can open up and get the best advice ever.  And I hope I’m able to do this for others too.

But when it comes to needing to share and get advice over the deeper issues I might be facing with my family, I still turn to my besties (including my Mom and sister).

Over the past few years, my personal philosophy when it comes to friendships has morphed.  Rather than expect deep friendships in every circle of moms, I believe these are precious: they arise out of a mysterious, magical bond between people that each of them sense and act upon.  I try to hold onto my old besties still find new ones, but to me more accepting if that type of relationship isn’t there with someone.  This person can be still be a great friend, they just might not be a bestie.

Some other parents will become our friends. A precious few might become our besties.

Remember, you don't need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.

Never stop thinking about how to make new friends as an adult, but at the same time adjust your expectations and figure out who to call when you need that Friday night margarita with salt.  You only get so many of these over the course of a lifetime, so enjoy them with the friends you know you can count on.

Thanks for reading, gratefully,

Melissa xoxo