It goes without saying that moms are the world’s greatest multitaskers. Who else can wipe a runny nose, brine a chicken, carefully “lose” a game of hide-n-seek and check for monsters under the bed, all while nursing a newborn? NOBODY, that’s who! Let’s all admit it: moms are superheroes with magical powers hiding in plain sight! Even superheroes and heroines need a few tips on how to increase efficiency every now and then. This series will explore all the ways in which moms balance the realities of maternal bliss and madness!
On MOMMY FRIENDSHIPS
Most of us can agree that our friendships with other moms are priceless. I refer to motherhood as a sort of not-so-secret society of women, and that’s truly what it feels like. Once you become a mother, there are certain things that only other mothers can understand. Having your “mom sorority sisters” around to bond with is more valuable than words can express. This is why maintaining those friendships is so important.
Utilize the Playdate
One of the best tips for preserving friendships with your fellow moms is to take advantage of playdate opportunities. You have a kid, she’s got a kid; why not meet at the park with lattes or bubble tea and have a much-needed chat after a long week on a shaded park bench while the kids have at it? It’s a wonderful time to catch up and destress. The best part is that the kids get to socialize with kids other than their siblings, and that’s always a good thing.
Now, this only works if the kids get along and can play well together. Occasionally you might find that your kid’s temperament doesn’t quite mesh with your friend’s kid’s personality. That’s okay. Kids are people with quirks just like we are. Don’t throw away the friendship; instead, find time to hang out — even if it might be sans children. Remember, the two of you are still uniquely connected by the motherhood experience. There will always be valuable conversation, and the two of you can relate to one another, even if the children do not.
The Age Gap Dilemma
Moms often ask about how to maintain friendships with other moms when their kids are not close in age. Playdates aren’t easy when one kid is more of a “G-rated movie” kinda gal and the other is “PG-13.” This can be a tough one. Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with this one as much yet, as my friends and I all had children around the same time. I have, however, watched other friends maneuver through these situations gracefully. What I’ve noticed is that younger kids often really look up to the older kids and want to model the things they do. Empower the older kids as babysitters or helpers. Incentivize them with toys or a special privilege. If the kids are going to be spending long amounts of time together, consider allowing the older kid to bring along a friend so that they can watch and spend time with the younger kids together. It makes for a sort of double playdate, and everyone’s happy.
Of course, getting together with your mommy friends isn’t always this easy. Our kids get sick and spread their germs to everyone. We have multiple doctor’s appointments and extracurricular activities that require careful scheduling. It’s a crazy life! Don’t fret; most moms are more than happy to let you off the hook if your little one wakes up with a case of the sniffles. You might even get an enthusiastic “thank you!” because who wants to deal with a sick toddler unnecessarily?
Hanging out without the kids can also be beneficial, but it can also be difficult. I’ve found that it’s all about finding a rhythm and learning everyone’s system. For instance, I have a friend who likes to turn in early, so we tend to hang out in the afternoon. This is great, because it means I always have a lunch buddy to galavant around with! Another friend and I work closely together, and on top of having fun on the job, we can usually squeeze in leisure activities before or after. I have another gal pal who is all about the pampering, so we try to plan mommy dates to get mani/pedi’s together regularly. Again, not always the simplest, but it’s doable…and worth it!
Friendships with other moms are unlike any other bond. Our changing bodies, tantrum solutions or ear infection remedy conversations couldn’t be appreciated by any one other than another mama. Don’t let a busy schedule interfere with the time you need to be around some of your dearest friends. Work around every hurdle in a smart way and preserve those relationships. You’ll be glad you did.