I’ve been thinking about whether I’m “real” in my friendships. I suspect what you are thinking, can moms in the midst of parenting young children have deep friendships? I know because I’ve asked myself the same question. At the end of the day when the house is semi-clean, dishes are done, and kids are hopefully in bed, I often haven’t seen or talked to anyone other than my busy family. I’ve found it helpful to make a “Check List” to pursue quality friendships and be open in a way that lets me get to know who other moms are.
Pursue Friendships within Mom Life
My capacity for friendships has changed a lot. Gone are the days where I can run off to the coffee shop after getting a text invitation. When I do plan to get together with friends, sometimes the last thing I want to do at the end of a busy day is leave the house. I’ve had to choose to make time for friends because it’s good for me and because every mom needs meaningful friends. Even though mom life can seem isolating, we are all in this parenting thing together and we need each other’s input in our lives.
Start Meaningful Conversations with Friends
What do mom friends talk about? I often invite friends with kids over for a play date and it’s easy to keep conversations light. Small Talk can quickly fill up the time, which doesn’t result in getting to know friends better. It’s refreshing to push past the Small Talk and ask, “How are you really doing?” I often get the impression that my friends don’t talk about themselves because they feel they shouldn’t complain. But as a mom I still have ambitions, frustrations, plans and hopes, and it’s great to share those with friends and talk though ideas. Even hard stuff is important to share because it can help you think out loud and receive feedback. We should be content serving our families, but moms can’t always gloss things over and keep all their thoughts and emotions inside and still expect to have quality friendships.
Sharing vs. Venting
Lately I’ve been thinking about the difference between being transparent and just venting my complaints. Not every concern, complaint, or circumstance needs to be shared with friends. If something on my mind is just drama, it’s probably best not to share it. If I’m sharing to receive empathy and I don’t actually want feedback that leads to change, I probably should keep my thoughts to myself. If I have a concern or struggle I am working though, intentionally sharing my thoughts and receiving feedback can help my friendships grow. Sharing my ideas and triumphs also allows my friends to celebrate with me.
Conversation Check List
- Plan a time to get together.
- Ask the other person questions about themselves.
- Do share updates, encouragements, and ideas.
- Don’t share complaints, drama, and “venting”.
- Ask for advice and listen to the answer.
I can be guilty of sharing too much just for the sake of “being honest” in my friendships. Sometimes this results in me doing all the talking (or complaining) and other times I realize I’ve hashed out an issue to sound much bigger than I even feel it is. Talking through a concern reinforces the topic, so it’s good to be aware of what you are sharing and why you are sharing it.
Ask Lots of Questions
Friendly people often ask lots of casual questions. Questions encourage people to open up and talk about themselves. Questions infer the person asking them cares about the answer. I could do better in this area of communication. I enjoy asking questions but I can work on better listening to my friends’ answers, or giving my friends extra time to expand on their thoughts. Sharing intentional information about yourself and asking questions to learn about your friends promotes deeper relationships.
Guess what?? Practicing communication with your friends will also help you communicate with your husband and kids. I’ve loved how some of my intentional thinking about what I say has directly impacted my conversations with my family. Kids (and husbands) don’t like ranting and lectures, but they will often respond to gentle questions about motives. Questions can lead to a meaningful conversation that often results in clarity, opportunity for correction, and reinforcement of a healthy and open relationship.
How do you make time for friends within mom life? Do you schedule coffee dates or have friends with kids over for a play date? Do you need to build some closer friendships? I hope these communication tips encourage you to pursue friends and be open with intentionally sharing about yourself.
Katie enjoys all things creative; DIY projects, photography, decorating and family adventures. She feels blessed to be a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids and many artistic outlets.