I feel very fortunate to have some great friends in my life. All of my good friends also happen to be moms. These are women I’ve either known for years and we’ve moved through the stages of life at similar times, or I’ve met them in the last few years. Regardless of when and how we met, I wouldn’t trade my mom friends for anything.
As important and wonderful as my family is, it is my friends that keep me sane. If you don’t have a mom support network, I’d encourage you to work on creating one.
Your support network
A support network is a group of people who are there for you when you need them; they love and support you and fill a need in your life. We are often the support for those who are in our own network. Friendships and relationships are often reciprocal in nature. As people, it’s natural to want to be connected with others and to feel “off” or incomplete when we’re missing it.
Support networks come in many sizes. I’ve learned that it’s not the quantity of people you have in your support network, but rather the quality of those individuals and how they meet the needs that you have. I have a core group of friends who I can lean on, and who can count on me for whatever they need. I feel very lucky for this because I know not everyone has this support network.
I know from my own experience and hearing from others, circles of friends change. And as life evolves and you add kids to the mix, friendships change. Some become stronger and others don’t. When you’re so consumed with your own family, it can be hard to take care of friendships. But even with space, good friends will still be there.
Finding your Real Mom Friends
Looking back at your pre-mom life, what sorts of friends and people did you have in your support network? What types of support were important to you? (I know, it’s hard to remember life before kids!) Now that you are a mom, how has your circle of support changed? How have your needs evolved? Often times our friendships and relationships change as we enter motherhood. This is okay but if you end up with a new circle of friends and changed relationships, you may not be getting all of the support that you need or want.
What happens if we don’t have the support and relationships we need? Well, one issue is that we run the risk of lacking connection, depth of friendship, and end up feeling alone. Who wants that? You may have a lot of moms you hang out with (okay, do playdates with) or that you run into on a regular basis so it’s easy to feel as if we’re connected and supported, but sometimes these relationships are a bit more superficial.
While there is nothing wrong with this and these relationships can fulfill some of our needs, they may not meet our deeper personal needs. And if you think about it, when our needs are not fulfilled, we’re not in a position to be the best mom, partner, person, etc. that we can be.
Take some time to reflect on the types of support that are most important to you. Perhaps you need:
- An unconditional supporter
- A person you can vent to
- Someone who makes you laugh
- A person who understands your experiences
- Someone you can be vulnerable around
- Someone who sets a great example
- A person whose advice you trust
- Someone you can drink with (Maybe that’s just important on my list!)
- A mom who “gets” what your kids are like
Keep in mind that one person may fill more than one need for you, and that your needs will be different from others. It’s important to identify the types of support we need and then determine if we have people in our lives to fill those needs.
If we do not have our needs met, we can seek out individuals to fill the gaps or ask those closest to us to provide additional types of support. What isn’t okay is ignoring our own needs or not taking the time to pay attention to determine if those needs are being met.
Moms provide so much support in so many ways, and that is made easier when we get the connection and support that we need. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or need- our kids certainly aren’t! So let’s learn from them: ask for the support you need, and create the support system that helps you be the kind of mom and person you want to be.
If you feel like you don’t have these types of friends in your support system, or that you are struggling to make friends, you’re certainly not alone. Meeting potential friends can be tough, so check out Part 1 how to fill your mom squad with meaningful friendships.
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Who is important in your mom support network?