I’ve got to admit that moms are sometimes not very good friends. Sometimes we're kind of introverted. We're usually just trying to keep our heads above water with responsibilities at home and with family and work. When we've got a little "free time", we like to make sure to spend time with our husbands. That doesn’t leave a whole heck of a lot of time for hanging out with other people.
What? Is that just me? But, as my little one becomes more independent, I’m desiring more independence as well. Well, the kind of independence that comes from allowing the family unit to function without Mommy for a bit.
I’ve talked about my desire to make friends in the past, which has been challenging because of distance and frequent moves. I’ve attempted numerous tactics to make friends in the past. I’ve hit on other moms I’ve run into during walks. (We exchanged info but neither of us actually contacted the other.) I’ve traded numbers with other moms from church. (We exchanged texts, but it never worked out.) I’ve attended meet-ups at mom’s groups at the park. (I didn’t really fit in.) So, nothing really came of those efforts.
I’ve come up with three new ways to make friends as a mom.
1. Take action when someone crosses your mind
I’ve been listening to the book Expecting Adam by Martha Beck. She describes a time when she was pregnant and alone with her toddler and had entered “the death spiral”: she was too nauseated to eat but the nausea had overwhelmed her because she hadn’t eaten in too long. All of the sudden, and even though nobody but her husband knew she was pregnant, an acquaintance she’d met at a party showed up on her doorstep with a bag full of food.
The two had met at a party when they were both pregnant with their toddlers and had bonded over stories about what they’d eaten when they had morning sickness. This woman had been thinking about Martha and laughing about the conversation they’d had almost two years before so she'd shown up with the exact foods they’d laughed about (those same foods that Martha had been needing and unable to get for herself in that precise moment). A friendship began.
I think that sometimes people cross our minds for a reason but we don’t often act on our thoughts because we’re too busy or we don’t want to be rejected. (She probably doesn’t even remember me!) In this case, the woman likely saved Martha’s life, or at least saved her a hospital visit. When she realized that Martha was pregnant, she continued to show up on Martha’s doorstep with food, make sure she was eating, and spend a little time with Martha’s toddler while Martha’s husband was out of town.
If you think of someone, show up for them. See what happens. I haven’t had any experiences like this but I’ve got my heart open so that when someone’s soul calls out to mine for the kind of love and support I can give, I’m ready.
2. Celebrate with drinks
I’ve tried making friends by making playdates but between nap schedules and colds, and this and that, I usually end up exchanging texts or just meeting up once and then it never happens again. But this time I’m trying something else.
This time I’m going on a date, one-on-one, just her and me. Here’s how it happened: One particular mom at school is so easy to be with. When I found out we shared the same birth month I went for it. I texted her and asked her out for drinks to celebrate our birthdays. She replied with “yes and yes”. Yes, she drinks and yes, she’d like to go out. I was thrilled. Unfortunately, stuff keeps happening and I keep having to change plans. Even though our birth month has come and gone, I’m still looking forward to celebrating with her. Hopefully she is too. Maybe Tuesday!
3. Say yes
I live within an hour drive of my graduate school. That means that many of my classmates are nearby. I was never really social during school. I had a few people I studied with, but that was about it. Recently, one of my classmates decided to reach out to a few other moms on Facebook and create a mom’s night out. Only a few of us showed up, but it was so nice to eat some good food and talk a little business and a little life. Not many of the women on the list said yes, but I’m so glad I did! So, if you have the opportunity to get together with some old classmates or even some people in the same business, try saying yes. You might just find a new friend.
What has your friendship-during-motherhood experience been like? Have you ever made a new friend using one of these techniques? I’d love to see your ideas and stories in the comments below. The comment section is way down there...keep going!
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