Before having kids, I was content with the fact that I was at a point in my life where I probably wasn’t making new friends. I had plenty of girlfriends—my best friend who I had known most of my life, my core group of friends from childhood/adolescence, the girls I met at University, and then a select few friends that I had met as an adult (mostly co-workers). These women were all important to me for different reasons, and with them in my life I felt whole. I wasn’t looking for new friends, nor did I feel the need for them. Then I became a mom—and boy did that change.
With my transition to motherhood, I was stripped down to the most vulnerable version of myself. Overnight, I experienced a drastic role and identity shift that no one could have prepared me for. I was suddenly faced with so much uncertainty and newness, and felt completely overwhelmed with the fact that this little human was wholly dependent on me. I felt alone in my struggles, which I now realize is far from the truth. I needed women who were going through the same experiences, joys and challenges that I was. I craved connection, validation and support. I needed mom friends.
Many of my girlfriends are moms, but there weren’t many going through it at the same time as me. They were able to offer advice and support, but it was retrospective and very different from actually experiencing the same stages together. Additionally, the majority of my close girlfriends didn’t live nearby (in fact, they lived a country away, which was very unhelpful at the beginning of the pandemic when my baby was born). I needed face-to-face interaction with women who had babies around my son’s age, but where did I start—especially during a pandemic? How did I even go about making friends at this stage in my life? I had no idea how to make mom friends.
A few months in, I started going out of my comfort zone to connect with other women who were in similar stages of motherhood. For example, I reached out to an acquaintance through work, as I knew she lived near me and recently had a baby. In the peak of the pandemic (before we felt comfortable being in each other’s homes), we would go for regular walks. Often, we would be the only people walking outside in the freezing cold with our bundled babies or chatting at the playground in a blizzard.
These regular get-togethers were critical for both of us. We finally had connection with another new mom, and we were able to be vulnerable and open with each other in a way that can only happen with someone who is in it with you. Eventually, we transitioned to indoor playdates and these have continued to present day.
Our families have become very close over time, and we get together frequently for dinner or just to hang out. We have supported each other through the extreme highs and lows of motherhood and life, and have been able to be our authentic selves from day one. Over two years later, our little ones are best friends from growing up together, and I cannot imagine my life without her in it.
As the pandemic restrictions loosened and we could leave the house again, I signed my little one up for a gymnastics class. Here, I was able to connect with many new moms in similar stages of life as me. I instantly clicked with a few women, and over time we (somehow) developed friendships through our weekly hour of broken conversations while chasing our toddlers around the gym.
Eventually, I knew I wanted to grow these relationships outside of the gym, so once again I made myself vulnerable and initiated the conversation of exchanging numbers. This is something in my pre-mama life that I honestly would have never considered doing, but I am so glad I put myself out of my comfort zone as I have gained incredible relationships as a result. A couple of these friendships have turned into regular playdates, family gatherings and daily texting about anything and everything—from gossiping about the latest scandals on our favorite TV shows to helping each other survive the challenges of breastfeeding, potty training and pregnancy loss.
We are at our most vulnerable when we develop our relationships, and this allows us to be our authentic selves from the beginning.
As I navigated the early months of motherhood and developed more friendships with other mamas, I began to recognize when I had a connection with someone and wanted to pursue that friendship further. I also became braver. Sometimes, I would exchange numbers with another mom and it wouldn’t go anywhere, which is perfectly OK. But I learned if you have a connection of some sort, it is always worth the shot.
For example, one day I met a mom of two young kiddos (one the same age as my son) at the park. She had just moved onto my street and we had an instant connection. She was immediately candid, vulnerable and open, and I loved that about her. That very day we exchanged numbers, and two years later we continue to meet for frequent playdates, text regularly and plan get-togethers with our families. If we hadn’t exchanged numbers that day, I would have missed out on a beautiful friendship.
These are just a few examples of how I slowly began putting myself out there, and how as a result I have reaped the rewards of creating beautiful, close, genuine friendships. There is something about mom friends—the women that you meet and connect with as a mom—that is so special. We are at our most vulnerable when we develop our relationships, and this allows us to be our authentic selves from the beginning.
Related: How to make mom friends
We are experiencing massive life shifts and milestones together at rapid speed, which typically happens over a more extended period of time. This enables the connection built to become incredibly strong very quickly. It isn’t always comfortable making friends as an adult, but I have learned it is so worth it.
To my mom friends—thank you. You have kept me afloat. Thank you for being the non-judgmental space I so desperately need. Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on and the hands to lift me up when I can’t find the strength. Thank you for genuinely celebrating my joys and successes along with me, and for loving my child like he is your own. Thank you for being just a text, phone call or visit away whenever I need you. Thank you for always being a safe space to vent, cry, laugh, commiserate and celebrate.
Thank you for the critical life conversations we manage to have between wrangling babies and toddlers, and for the magical way we can continue these conversations despite the constant interruptions. Thank you for never judging the cleanliness of my home, and for knowing that you never have to apologize for the state of yours.
Thank you for helping me to be braver, stronger, and more resilient than I ever thought possible. Thank you for making space for me in your lives—for being vulnerable and putting yourselves out of your comfort zones, too. Most of all, thank you for being the missing pieces of my life and heart that I never knew I needed.
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