4 Reasons We NEED Mom Friends
OK, so if I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve historically been kind of a lone wolf type. I’m an only child and we moved around a lot growing up, so I learned to be totally happy and confident doing my own thang. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a total extrovert. I love me some other people and I want to be friends with pretty much exactly everyone I have ever met and probably also all of the people I haven’t met yet. But it was more of a want than a need.
Until I became a mom.
Once I became a mom, all of that changed. All of a sudden I had this NEED for connection with other people who had been where I was, who knew what I was going through, and could support me in my struggles. My friendships with and connections to other moms became like the air I breathed and is what has sustained me through the last five years.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about why that is, and honestly I could write for pages and pages on it. But for today, here are FOUR of the reasons that I feel like friendships between moms are do doggone important- to us and to the world:
Because being alone with motherhood will make think you’re crazy- Man, I had no idea how hard being a mom would be- and it’s not just that it’s exhausting and frustrating at times, it also messes with your head. We get convinced sometimes that our kids are THE ONLY ONES who ever push that hard, we are THE ONLY ONES who find it so difficult, and THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH US because it’s so hard. When you’ve got moms around you who are authentic and real and are TRULY ABOUT SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER rather than just making themselves look and feel good, you will be reminded that you’re not the only one who loses her schmidt on the daily, your kids aren’t the only ones to ever have a screaming fit in the locker room at the gym, and that the reason that you are struggling is BECAUSE IT’S FREAKING HARD, not because you’re defective or unqualified for this job.
Because CROWDSOURCING- No one mom can know all the things, but I’m pretty sure that collectively, moms have more knowledge than Wikipedia- and they back their sources up better. A concerned mother does better research than the FBI. If your mom friends don’t have the info you need, someone out there will know how to get it. Whether it’s the best gear, how to handle tantrums in public, how to start saving for college, or when “Baby Blues” is actually postpartum depression, there is some other mom out there who has been through it or knows someone who has- or they know how to comb every corner of the internet to find the reasons.
Because it’s good modeling for our kids- Friendship is hard, man. I don’t care if you’re 4 or 40, 9 or 99, the difficulties and challenges of making and keeping friends are GOING to happen. I don’t think I know of a single mom who would say, “No thanks, I don’t want my kid to have other people to play with at recess or sit with at lunch.” And any parent can tell you that “Do as I say, not as I do” is far from the most effective way of influencing our kids’ behavior. When our kids see us making time for our friends, they will take that in. When their little hearts break because of a friendship fracture, we can say to them, “I have been there, and here’s what I did.” When they see us making new friends at the park (aka hitting on the other mothers, I do it all the time) they will internalize that and file it away. ESPECIALLY if it’s hard for us and doesn’t always go well, that is good modeling for our kids to dust yourself off and try again. By engaging in the work of friendship in view of our kids, we are helping to establish that as a value in their lives and instill resilience for when the going gets tough.
Because it’s good modeling for the rest of the world- We are living in a divided time right now, aren’t we? Families, communities, OUR NATION- we are finding ourselves polarized and divided across all types of lines, so much so that it feels like at times the whole thing is just about ready to come apart at the seams. But Mom Friendships can be a model for how to love across differences and support one another’s humanity even when we differ. Motherhood is FULL of polarizing topics- breastfeeding, formula feeding, co-sleeping, sleep training, vaccinating, homeschooling, discipline- and there are SO MANY DIFFERENT CHOICES TO BE MADE that it can pretty much be guaranteed that no two moms will parent identically. But when you jump into friendships and community with other moms, you automatically learn to elevate the commonalities over the differences. You can be as different in your choices as the day is long, but you have the common thread of motherhood in common and that is thicker than water. It’s a learned practice to be sure. We have to LEARN to set down defensiveness and the idea that someone else’s choice are somehow a commentary on mine. But when we elevate the shared journey of motherhood over our differences, it is magic. And we are raising the next generation of humans. We can lay a foundation of elevating humanity over issues and holding our society together rather than allowing division to tear us apart at the seams, modeling for our children and our communities how we can hold firm to our own beliefs and what works for our family while still loving and supporting those around us.
So there are four reasons that we, our families, AND THE ENTIRE WORLD need Mom Friendships. And that is only scratching the surface. I could probably write four more blog posts, each with four more reasons, and still not run out of material on this subject.
So do it, ladies. Take the brave steps of friendship and connecting with other moms. Call up the moms in your life and ask them out for coffee or set up a play date. If you don’t have any other moms in your life (or even if you do), come hook up with us over in the Project Mother Facebook Community. You’ll have a chance to connect with moms from across the country and around the world AND we can even refer you to a group local to your area (or if there isn’t one, maybe you could start one? That would be awesome of you).