This post is part of an editorial series, “Healthy Mama,” brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog and Texas Health Care Privia Medical Group North Texas, which includes Dr. Elisabeth Wagner, Dr. Mickey Hooper, Dr. Bea Kutzler, Dr. Doug Decker, Dr. Jamie Erwin, Dr. Kathleen Cammack, Dr. Emily Maas, Dr. Jennifer McLeland, Dr. Lindsay Breedlove, Dr. Martha Guerra, Dr. Danielle Burkett, Dr. Robert Zwernemann, Dr. Jay Herd, Dr. Ingrid Kohlmorgen, and Dr. Martin Read. We hope these pieces provide you with helpful information, encouragement, and answers as you make decisions for your own health.
I have been a mother for almost 13 years now, and — let me tell you — it has not always been an easy journey. While on my journey, I have lost as well as gained various friendships. It is hard to maintain a friendship after becoming a mother.
The Struggle Is Real
I view motherhood like a shirt; it fits you perfectly and looks amazing on you. Some of your friends love the shirt on you, while others choose that it no longer works for them and walk away. That moment hurts.
I have had friends who chose to no longer walk beside me because I had a child. It’s like mourning a person. This friend you created memories with chooses to leave, and years of friendship are gone because of personal growth. Sometimes, we have friends who don’t have kids and understand that we lead busy lives and we must reschedule; others choose to bow out because it no longer fits their life.
Recently I went to dinner with my friends whom I have been friends with since we were in high school. Just planning and making that dinner happen took us maybe a month. I was already wrestling with making sure my children had everything they needed, even though my husband is capable of taking care of them in my absence. So, of course, mom guilt reared her ugly head. This tends to happen when I want to go to these dinners with my friends. Or really do anything. Because my children tend to ask how long I am going to be, or if I will be home in time to tuck them in and say prayers.
So, this was festering in me while I tried to enjoy dinner with my friends. I expressed this feeling to them. They told me they feel the same way sometimes, but that it is normal. I have even talked to my husband about this feeling. He goes to bars with his buddies at least once a month. He says it’s a time to just treat yourself, and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to do something that makes me happy.
That is a hard pill to swallow when it comes to enjoying myself. Having friends and sitting and talking is a time I should enjoy, which I do once I am out, but these times are few and far between. Having friends who understand what motherhood is really like is priceless. That’s why friendship after motherhood is so important.
Maintaining Friendships Matters
My friends and I don’t see each other for weeks; we don’t text or call all the time because we have busy lives. We catch up with each other when we can, but life gets hectic and complicated as our children age, our own parents age, and our grandparents age. Life does not stop for us to have some time to talk with our best friends, even though we wish it could. We know that we try our best to keep this friendship afloat, and that is what matters — that at the end of the day I know I tried.
Maintaining a friendship after motherhood is complicated. It is not easy, but from my perspective there are so many benefits. We were not meant to work through motherhood alone. Keeping friends after motherhood helps keep me sane. We talk about anything and everything: married life, single life, divorced life, anything that is going on with myself and my kids. My friends provide me with a reassurance as well as realization that I am not alone in this journey.
Motherhood is filled with gifts of immense joy, as well as knowledge. Why not share those nuggets of wisdom with others?
If you find it hard to make friends, join a group of moms on Facebook. At the park, start a conversation with a fellow parent. We are all struggling as parents. Do we make it look easy sometimes? Yes. Reach out to someone new; try something. I am positive there is a mom out there looking for advice but afraid to speak up. Be the mom who helps other parents see things from a different perspective.