There's a difference between being alone and being lonely. And at different points in my life I had to deal with both. Because let's face it, momlife and even basic adulting leaves little time for yourself, let alone building friendships. And some would even say that if you haven't made a solid friend by the time you're thirty, then good luck with it ever happening. But regardless, if there's anyone who needs friends, and I mean truly needs friends, it's a mom. And here's why:
Other mommies just get it.
Regardless if your parenting styles are similar or different, other mommies just get it. They understand (not always in agreement) the methods to your madness. Whether it’s being anal about a certain laundry detergent, or trading five minutes of house destruction for five minutes of peace. Other mommies just get it. We all are just trying to get through the day happy, healthy, and safe and onto the next without ending up on an episode of Snapped.
More heads are better than one.
We all go through similar situations when raising kids. You weren’t the first to have kids, so you wouldn’t be the first to experience a number of parental situations. But sharing our stories with each other and bouncing ideas off of one another lets us know that we are not alone. That there’s help when you need it. Whatever the situation may be.
We're both just as busy.
I've found that it's ONLY other moms that understand the complexity of momlife. They understand that sudden cancelled or postponed plans, and missed phone calls or texts are just a part of the territory. It’s nothing personal.
It takes a village.
Whether it’s a late night or early morning call, a few cooked dinners while you’re on maternity leave, or just someone to vent to; we need that support. We need someone to just be there.
Birds of a feather, flock together
They say show me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are. It’s natural that people are drawn to others that reflect themselves. As a mom, befriending other moms means you’ll have a friend that is probably in the same walk of life that you are. Their goals may align with yours. Their interests may be your interests. They prioritize the same things that you do.
I've always been the loner type. But not in a weird way. I'm an extroverted introvert if that makes any sense at all. Like, I like people, can literally talk to anyone, and I can be as open as a popped can of biscuits, but at the same time, people give me trust issues, and I need to recharge in solitude after being around a lot of people all day. Get it? Yea, I know, I'm complicated. And for the longest time, having friends wasn't something that I actually cared about. I mean of course I wanted them, but it wasn't a priority of mines to go and find them. And quite honestly, I've always been a part of a "social group", but that didn’t equate to solid friendships. But now as a young woman with three kids, I'm seeing how important it is to have a group of mom friends to call your own. Yea I know I've said that my husband is my best friend, and it’s still true as it should be, but every mom needs a tribe of other mommies and I desperately craved my own tribe for the exact reasons mentioned above.
I didn't even realize how alone I was. I was on cruise control. Just living day in and day out, doing what I was supposed to do in my role as a mother. It took me looking back on all the monumental moments in my life and realizing that in those moments, I had no one to share them with. My very first baby shower with my eldest son was put together reluctantly by my mom, and you know who came? All of her friends. My baby shower with Ja'ron was no different. Chris and I put the whole thing together and you know who showed up? All of his friends. And I assume the same would've happened with Levi's baby shower, but I am a teacher, and my team came through with the best baby shower that I've had to date...even if it was just with people I worked with. And that's just my baby showers. As I look back, there was no one. No visitors at the hospital when my kids were born (except literally one). No congratulatory visits at house warmings, undergrad and graduate graduations, or even my wedding (besides family)! I know, sad right?
I was so over this pattern that seemed to be my life. And you may be reading this thinking the same. You’re going back through life and recalling similar situations. So what do you do? For me, I took action. I made a conscious decision to change the part of the narrative. No, I’m not drowning in a pool of friends now, but I have found some ladies that I know I wouldn’t want to part from. And if that’s what you’re seeking, then doing these few things could make a world of a difference.
1. Take responsibility.
There’s a reason why you seem friendless. And no I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with you. But if you’re honest with yourself, then check yourself. Maybe you’re standoffish. Maybe you have a slight “attitude problem” or you’re depressing to be around. For me, it was two things. One, I’ve been told multiple times that I suffer from RBF (resting bitch face). I could be perfectly fine, but I would still get asked a million times if I was okay. That alone made me unapproachable. And I get it. But I’m more conscious of my face now when I’m out in public. A smile can go a long way. And secondly, I was too much of a super mom. Sounds crazy right? I invested all of my time into taking care of and raising my kids. And if I had to sacrifice my social life to do so, I did. And without shame. But by being so consumed and fixated within my role as a mother, I made other people feel expendable. I had to learn how to actually care about other people that weren’t my kids. People pay attention to what you do a whole lot more than what you say, and I learned to show people that they matter to me.
2. Make yourself accessible
You can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results. As I said, I can be the loner type. I like being by myself. I’m a homebody. And I honestly do love just spending time with my kids. But I wanted different, so I made different decisions and made myself accessible. When I was invited out for coffee or a tall glass of adult juice, or asked to attend an event or accompany a random shoe run, instead of staying in my own comfort bubble of a home, I said yes. I started to place myself around people by going out and about and joining in on the action. And even if you’re not a homebody, chances are you revisit your same stomping grounds over and over. Pull a wild card and invite someone out to someplace different.
3. Be okay with unconventional relationships
Sis. Accepting unconventional relationships literally kept me sane for a while. And by unconventional, of course I mean social media friends! We are living in the era of social media and if you don’t have an account on any platform by now, it may not be a bad idea to start one. I got my first dose of social-ing with meetup.com. It’s a place where you can find “your people”, meet up, and enjoy each other’s time together. And even though, none of my meetings yielded lasting friendships, it was still fun getting out and meeting new people. At the same time, if meeting up with random people isn’t your thing, then joining social groups online is still a way to build relationships. I’ve personally met some great ladies on Instagram and I can totally see us linking up squad style once all of this COVID-19 drama is to a minimum.
My mom used to say, “If God wanted us to be alone, he wouldn’t have put a billion people here.” And I felt that. I feel that. Everyone needs someone. And if you happen to meet more and more someones along your way, then cherish those relationships. Drop a comment, we can totally be BIFs (Best Internet Friends)!