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Friendships During Motherhood: A Guide to Staying Connected

When I first became a mother, I was immediately struck by how physically exhausting it was to care for a needy infant. As time went on, I began to notice a different kind of exhaustion: an exhaustion that came from feeling isolated and lonely now that I was home alone all day with a baby. Even now, with my three children in different growth stages, that feeling of isolation creeps back up from time to time. 

Being a mother requires a lot of time, energy, commitment, and sacrifice. As a result, maintaining your friendships can fall by the wayside. But did you know that sustaining these connections is crucial for your emotional health and well-being? Along with providing a listening ear or helping hand when you need it, they can also give you a sense of belonging, increase your self-confidence, and help alleviate stress and anxiety. Here are three simple ways to keep your friendships alive and thriving throughout motherhood.

1. Acknowledge the Change

First, acknowledge that your life has changed and so will your friendships. Communicate openly with your friends about your new schedule, priorities, and the potential limitations on your time and energy. Be flexible about plans changing last minute and forgiving when misunderstandings happen. Understanding and transparency can set realistic expectations and foster patience among your friends.

Incorporating your children into your social activities can also be a great way to maintain contact. Plan kid-friendly outings where you can catch up with friends who are either parents themselves or who enjoy being around children. This way, you blend your new role with your social life seamlessly.

2. Quality Over Quantity

With the demands of motherhood, you might not be able to meet your friends as frequently. Just as you might schedule a doctor’s appointment or a parent-teacher conference, it’s important to schedule time for friendships. Focus on the quality of interactions rather than the quantity. Even short, meaningful conversations or meet-ups can strengthen bonds more than frequent, less significant interactions.

Supporting each other in times of need can deepen friendships. Offer help when you can and don’t hesitate to ask when you need it. Mutual support not only strengthens your relationship but also provides a model of friendship for your children.

3. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Technology can be a valuable tool in staying connected. Regular use of texting, video calls, and messaging apps can help bridge the gap when physical meetings are challenging. Virtual groups for specific challenges your child is going through can also be helpful in getting the information and support you need. 

Whether virtual or in person, maintain an open dialogue about how you are managing your dual roles as a mother and a friend. This can include discussing feelings of guilt, joy, or even frustration. An honest exchange of experiences can lead to greater understanding and empathy.

Motherhood shouldn’t mean an end to cherished friendships but rather a shift in how these relationships are navigated. By integrating your friends into your new life, utilizing technology for connectivity, and prioritizing quality interactions, you can maintain and even strengthen your friendships throughout the beautiful, albeit hectic, journey of motherhood.

Written by: Gloria Huang, AMFT

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