Being a mom can be challenging at times. But you really don’t have to do it all alone. There are people out there that can truly lift your soul! Finding a true friend who will love you through the hard times, even when you say or do really stupid things, is golden. Good friends can have so much influence on you for good. They can help with your mental, physical, and emotional health. They can provide empathy in challenges and help you overcome discouraging moments in your life or to just have a good laugh.
I have been so blessed in my life with great friends throughout all of the stages of my life. I’ve discovered that friendship is a process. It doesn’t happen in an instant, usually my best friends came after lots of time spend together: laughing, serving, and sharing together. Those experiences truly helped us grow together and create life-long friends.
The great thing about friendships is that you are 1/2 of the pair. You get to decide who you will be friends with and who you will allow into your life. Pick your friends carefully, as you seem to become like those you spend the most time with. I have seen people completely change for the good or bad because of the influence of a friend. Take some time to think about who your friends are right now. When you are with these friends-do you feel better, lighter, more motivated as a mom, or do they make you feel worse? Do they gossip or “husband bash” or complain the entire time you are together?
When my kids were little, I was really blessed to have lots of awesome neighbors and family with children in similar ages. We planned lots of play dates and would make crafts or hair bows while the kids played. In the Summer, we had swim parties in the tiny pool. The kids loved it and the adults got to socialize. It was a win-win for everyone! I loved those days and miss the simplicity of them. I had a friend with older kids tell me once, “You think your life is busy now, just wait.” I had no idea how crazy it gets!
Your spouse should be your #1 best friend.
I am grateful for a loving spouse who will listen to me rattle on and on and on! If you don’t feel like your spouse is your best friend, do what it takes to make him your priority. Here are some things that have helped us.
- Make time to TALK to your husband. Tell him how you really feel.
- Make weekly date night a priority.
- Forgive and Forget. Move on. Don’t let if fester inside.
- Plan weekly counsels together. Talk about things that are impacting your life.
- If you start to feel distant to him, pray to grow closer and to know what to do to achieve closeness again.
- Make a list of his good qualities. Focus on the positive.
Nurture the friendships you already have.
Facebook was so fun years ago when I started connecting with old friends and family near and far. Now “liking” something gives a false sense that you are connecting with your friend. Sometimes I look at the pictures and don’t even comment or like it. But I really love it when friends make comments or message me. A short time ago I messaged one of my favorite high school friends and we went to lunch. It was so much fun to reconnect after 20 years. It felt just like it did back then. I loved it and decided that I need to make more of an effort to interact with past friends.
What can you do to find new friends?
- Be observant wherever you are. Look for like-minded moms. Mom’s with kids in similar ages or parenting styles. Then smile and say hi. Complement or make a comment about something and see where it goes from there.
- Church is a great place to find people with similar beliefs. Again, be observant. Look around for other moms. Or someone that is alone and go and talk to them.
- At your child’s school. There are lots of moms to get to know there. I loved going a little bit before or after the bell to talk with other moms that were there. Also, I made friends at class parties and field trips. You can get involved in PTA, Community Council, Clubs, volunteer in the school, there are so many opportunities to make friends.
- Online. Social media-you can search for mom groups in your area.
- At the local library. We loved going to the toddler classes and activities. They are free and a lot of fun and there are lots of moms there you could meet and connect with.
- At the park or on sports or dance teams. Look around you. Be observant and you will notice other moms. Go and say hi and see where it leads. I know it sounds so simple, but it really works.
- Shopping. My friend is great at talking to everyone around her in line or elsewhere in the store. Asking advice or commenting on things she sees. I think I could pay a little more attention to moms around me in line or shopping for similar items.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Look for people who are alone or seem as uncomfortable or bored as you feel. Ask questions, find something that you both have in common. Be positive. It will hopefully lead to great things.
- Neighborhood. Go for walks. Get outside and say hi to people you pass.
- Doctor’s, Dentists. I was at the ortho and the lady helping me seemed to have nothing in common with me, but then we started talking about motherhood and it was a totally different feeling. We actually had some things in common. I was just thinking about all the moms in the waiting room at the ortho. So many potential friends! I definitely should reach out.
- Get to know the parent’s of your child’s friends. This is also helpful for planning play dates.
- Talk to each other often. Communication is a very important part of a continuing friendship.
- Be a good listener. Sometimes, just hearing other people’s problems reduces the weight of mine.
Develop relationships within your immediate family. I like to ask the questions “Do your kids like to spend time with you? Do you like to be with them?” There are a lot of things you can do to create lasting friendships with your kids. My mom really was my friend growing up. She just knew when things weren’t going well with a boy. We still have a special bond. I want my kids to have that as well.
- Make time for each other. (I need to actually stop projects and activities and put my family first.)
- Eat meals together.
- Work together. Projects, dishes, cleaning, yard work, laundry, whatever the task is, do it together and make it fun!
- Serve together. This is one of my favorite ways to strengthen our relationships in our family. When we serve others together, we always feel closer and more peaceful.
- Serve each other. Look for ways that you can help them. Encourage them to secretly serve each other as well.
- Forgive and forget. Let it go and love each other more.
- Go on a vacation together. Sometimes just getting them away from the stresses of life helps build those relationships.
Look for mentoring friendships.
I have received lots of great advice and encouragement from friends and acquaintances from women in the “older” generation. They have a different perspective than I do, they have lived and suffered so much more than I have. Don’t let your pride get in the way of developing these relationships and listening to these wise woman. Take time to learn from them and solicit their opinions…this will benefit you greatly. Look to parents, grandparents, extended family members, in-laws, and older neighbors. Be willing to accept counsel from them. They can truly benefit your life.
Neal A. Maxwell
Each of us, from time to time, is mentored and has chances to mentor. In my experience, truthful and caring one-liners that occur within such nurturing relationships have a long shelf life! You can probably recount three or four examples of how people have said something—probably a sentence or clause—and you remember it still. It moves and touches you still.
Jesus Christ is your ultimate friend.
When you think about His many qualities, my favorite is that our Savior loves us unconditionally. He has suffered our pains and afflictions. He knows exactly what we are going through and he knows how to succor us. He is ALWAYS there no matter what! Trust Him!
Things that inspired me today…