After having kids making mom friends seemed like a full time job that I was not qualified for.
My entire identity had shifted, and I didn't know how to make mom friends. I was just trying to survive my days as a new mom and getting to know my new self and baby. How was I supposed to also make new friends?
It led me to telling myself the story that I didn't need friends. I convinced myself I didn't even want them, nor did I have time for them. My days were lonely and isolating.
Despite what I told myself, I do need mom friends.
Moms. Need. Friends.
I started to ask myself how I could BE a good friend
Part of my struggle when I was trying to make friends was that I was only thinking about WIIFM. What's In It For Me?
We we get together on play dates and I would just talk about everything going on in our world, and never gave much thought to what the people I was meeting with had going on.
To be honest it most often felt like everyone just saying their own things, and no one was really listening.
I began to just listen to people. Sometimes I would ask questions, and when it came time I would add in something relevant or valuable.
It is exhausting to be the person who everyone just dumps their life story onto, and I realized that I would have better long term friendships when I started by listening first.
I realized no one is perfect
Maybe it was me self sabotaging but for a long time I just assumed all mom friendships would end in a fiery blaze. Someone would say or do something the other didn't like or approve of, and the relationship would implode.
What was really happening was me looking for any reason at all to find the flaws in people. It was like I expected the worst from the mom friends I was making, so that is what I would get.
Once I started really seeing the best, and potential in everyone it all changed. My friendships became pleasant, mutually respected and fun. We can have challenging conversations that are honest and just. These conversations make us better people and mothers I believe.
Choosing to see the best and potential in my friendships also allows me to be able to be discerning of when I need to put a boundary up. Or when a relationship really is toxic rather than me being hyper-critical.
It all comes back to the first tip for making mom friends mentioned above. Be the friend you want to have, and ask how you can BE a good friend.
You can't make friends if you make it all about you
Have you ever had a friend who blows up your messages, or phone only ever talking about themselves and never asking about you? It's draining. I used to be that friend.
Not on purpose, but I was.
Being self aware as a friend is essential if you want to make mom friends. Pay attention to the friends you are making. Notice their body language, their tone (in voice or text). Make notes of the important things going on in their lives.
Then make conversation, and go out of your way to acknowledge those things!
When you do these things, people appreciate it, and they reciprocate it. It's a rare thing to find a friend who listens more than they talk and it creates space for beautiful friendships.
Ultimately, if you want to have good friends, you need to be a good friend. When you approach friendship with controlling how you show up in the relationship you will be met with friends who care and love you so deeply you'll wonder how you ever went without them!