Do you make friends easily? I do. As a military kid, making friends quickly and deeply becomes a life skill and sometimes a survival mechanism. I was a professional acquaintance maker and an excellent friend until my calendar was overrun with pediatrician appointments and day care interviews, and then sports schedules, homework and social events. As parents and especially as mothers, our children tend to cyclically take over our social lives like mini micro managers, endlessly demanding our time and energy. No moms are surprised by this evolution in their personal and social lives; in fact, we’re well aware that the light at the end of the tunnel is a sweet, squishy, amazingly beautiful train, set on re-arranging our lives, priorities and interactions immediately upon arrival.
What did surprise me, and I bet has surprised some of you, is how drastically the landscape of your life changes after welcoming your first (or fourth) baby. Sometimes old friendships fade away and new friends magically appear from a haze of insomnia and three-day-old sweatshirts. It’s true. It happens; we’ve all read the articles. Sadly, I allowed friendships to falter when raising my girls. Regret, rosy and bittersweet, bubbles to the surface every once in a while when I have a quiet moment to myself.
But I have been given a second chance! As the mom of a toddler, I have the chance to do it all again and I promise this time will be different.
A few years ago, I was blessed to be introduced to a wonderful group of women. As the only mom of the group, my status as the new friend suited me just fine – after all, pediatricians and teachers were waiting for me somewhere, homework help was needed and someone was getting a cold. Then, everything changed – a good portion of the group was pregnant at the same time with due dates (in some cases) days or weeks apart.
Bellies grew and babies came. Days separate some; others are weeks and months younger. I’m still the new friend, and may always be, but I don’t mind – these amazing women have been friends for decades. I don’t want to compete with that and wouldn’t if I did. What I do want is a circle who reminds me that “momming” isn’t the only thing I’m good at, laughs at my terrible jokes, adores my kids, and is there to lean on when everything goes sideways. More than that, I hope they know without a shadow of a doubt, that I am there for them in all the same ways.
I’m very intentionally building friendships with moms like me. I know I won’t look back on the pictures in this post in five years and have that same bubble of regret. I’m not willing to fade into the background and give up this little village. Five years from now, we’ll still be taking crazy pictures, maybe with more kids added in, and maybe not as often as we’d like, because well, mini micro managers.
Remember my life skill? Quickly and deeply? Yep.
So use my story as springboard – go out and make new friends! They don’t have to be moms, or even women. Call up someone you miss, and ask them for coffee. Don’t close off that part of you that needs your people, any people, just because you’re busy with kids. It doesn’t make for a happy mommy, and it is NEVER too late!