Is it just me, or is anyone else finding it extremely challenging to make and sustain friendships? I know we've all got way too much on our plates at the moment with work, the kids, being a partner or just trying to squeeze in some you-time after you eventually get all the house stuff done. But let me ask you a question, When was the last time you made a new friend? Or made a plan to catch up with an old one?
If the answer is “I don't remember” or “about a few months ago” then I think it's time to re-visit why friendships are important, especially when you're a parent!
What's the point of mum friends anyways 🤷🏻♀️
Well, I've definitely heard that one before! The answer is that friendships can be a breath of fresh air or a ray of sunshine when you're having a grey day. Friends are important for your health and happiness. They are there for encouragement, support and those moments when you rather talk to an adult than a toddler. If you're anything like me, I'm starting to lose my vocabulary altogether. Can you believe it's taken me about 30 mins just to write this paragraph 😅
Look, we're in the same parenting boat here, and that's precisely why you need to keep reading! We're going to do this together, mum-besties, one way or another, we're on a mission to sort out our social lives 🙌🏼
First things first, acceptance 😳
You might feel like you know people, especially nowadays with thousands of followers on social media but let's take a moment to name out some that are genuinely there for you. If you've got some lined up, that's amazing! Work on building that friendship by meeting up, chatting, and investing time into the relationship...
But, if you haven't been able to name any close friends, let's talk about how we can change that. These steps can work for anyone, but you need to realise that you aren't the problem! Struggling to make friends and sustain relationships is actually really difficult, and you aren't the only one dealing with this. So the last thing I'd want you to do is to feel alone.
I'm too nervous 👀
No matter what kind of mum you are, whether a new one, experienced, single, mum-in-business, recently re-located, the list goes on. I can assure you that making friends has its own challenges for us all, and that's because we all sometimes feel anxious, nervous and doubtful. We're human, and I promise that no one is perfect. No matter how put-together they look. The truth is the other person is probably as anxious as you 💗 So, In the context of not being afraid, I'd recommend making the first move! I know it can feel cringe, but usually, the person on the other side is feeling the exact same feelings.
Making friends as an adult is almost like going back to that dating feeling! You know the nervous butterflies, the goofy, almost nerdy replies, the constant thought of whether or not you should reply straight away. Or should you ask to hang out again even though you had a play date last weekend 😬 We're always trying to keep our cool by not wanting to seem too keen, but also SO keen to make friends. Especially if you meet someone with shared interests, it's the excitement of potentially having a friendship that could be based on more than just the fact that you both have children.
Try to rekindle old friendships 👯♀️
We've all got those people that we used to be friends with once upon a time. Some of us still have them on Facebook or Instagram; if that's the case, use social media to your advantage! Like and comment on their post even if it's something small, i.e. a "😍" emoji on one of their selfies or a compliment on the picture. Don't be afraid to slide into the DM's; that's what social media is there for in the first place. You never know, you might spark a conversation - we mums always know how to do that, especially when kids are involved. But if you've got a friend who's living child-free, talk about the old days and how "it's been so long", maybe even make the first move and plan a date.
Don't rush it; take your time ⏰
This isn't a time-sensitive matter, and we aren't trying to defuse a bomb here! So remember, take things slow if there's a connection between you and the mum-friend; let the connection build naturally without forcing it. Also, it kinds of hurts me to say, but be open to the fact that some people might not be as forthcoming to making a friend at that time, which is okay - they're on their own journey 🍃 Which leads me nicely to the next stage, LET'S GET OURSELVES OUT THERE! 🙋🏻♀️
Explore social avenues 🦋
I don't have a massive list of things you can do, but I surely have a few good options that I know have worked for me in the past.
Join a toddler or baby class - This is the perfect way to help you get out of the house, get your little ones energy levels in use and help you meet parents who are doing the exact same thing. The trick is to find a group/class that is right for you and your baby. For example, if you and your toddler love music and dancing, then go to a dance class! This will help you meet parents with shared interests.
Download an app - There are so many apps that can help parents make friends. If you're open to this new social way of connecting, check out Peanut, an app that lets you connect with women who are at a similar stage in life–from fertility, pregnancy and motherhood through to menopause. There's even an app called Mush which is part of the NHS to help improve maternal mental health! They work with midwives, health visitors and perinatal mental health specialists, reaching mums across the UK. The best part is, they even do local mum-meet ups ✨
Go out and about - It's a really simple one, but it's also a suggestion that most people don't consider a social activity. If you've got a baby who sleeps all the time (ahh, I miss those days), get the pram and go for a walk in the park or get yourself some lunch. You never know who you might get talking to, plus a little bit of fresh air never hurts.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog, and I really do believe that you can do this! Go out there and put yourself forward, make some friends or work on the ones you've already got. You got this, mama 🌻 I'm here if you need me ❤️ Comment below or message Mamamade on Instagram.
Lots of love,