Before you became a parent, what did you look for in a friend?
- I often looked for friends who would listen to my joys and concerns without complaint.
- Friends who could provide me with support and whom I could comfortably do the same.
- Most of all, I often found solace in a friendship with good reciprocity—a friend who seemed to want and need me around just as much as I wanted and needed them around.
It is this last point where my issues with friendships now (as a mother) seem to commonly arise. Often, my time to give back to my friends doesn’t always feel as abundant as it used to be.
driving to and from soccer practice,
driving to and from work,
driving to and from preschool and elementary school
and parent meetings
and … (well, you get the picture) …
Many days I feel like my best friend is my van.
(Which coincidentally is starting to fall apart from being driven too much.)
Too much of anything causes a lack of something else. Always.
There are only so many hours in the day—and right now my 3 children, my husband and my work often chew at the hours that used to be set aside more for maintaining and building friendships.
What do I look for in a friend now as a parent?
Simply stated: I look for someone who understands.
- Someone who understands although I might not be available to talk 24-7, that I still care.
- Someone who sees that I still need them, even when I might not physically tell them this.
- Someone who recognizes that a short and simple text message of “Thanks” is really more meaningful than just short and simple.
As a parent, it is considerably more difficult for me to invest my time towards building and maintaining friendships, especially factoring in everything (and everyone) vying for my time. This hardship in and of itself makes me that much more grateful for the friendships I built as a new mother through my own Mothers Center years ago.
For it is those friendships which often are the most understanding when I prioritize my time as a woman and mother—even when those priorities don’t always factor in nearly as much time for their friendships as I’d like.
Leave a Comment: What do you look for in a friend? Is it the same or different than what you looked for in friendship before becoming a parent?
Did you know…
The NAMC provides Mothers’ Center group members with access to Group Discussion Guides meant to encourage reflection and conversation. The previous post was inspired by our discussion guide: The Friendship Factor. To download this guide and and others, visit the members only section of the NAMC website. Not a member? Learn more about the Mothers’ Center and it’s unique culture by downloading our New Group Start-up Guide here!