How To Navigate Friendship & Loneliness in Motherhood

A lot of things have evolved and look much different now than they did pre-kids. I’m talking Friday night plans, 7 AM wake up calls, the length of my showers, the items in my Amazon cart, and my willingness to use a snot sucker - to name a few. These are all trivial (and true), but one of the biggest and maybe most difficult changes that mamas must adapt to is friendships.

Before kids, how we spent our time was completely up to us. Footloose & fancy free - we did what we wanted, when we wanted, with who we wanted. Other than the responsibilities of work, we really had freedom and we got to decide how to steward it. For me, this often looked like late-night hang-outs, long coffee dates, manicures, weekend adventures, uninterrupted conversation, and a continuous text thread were proof that we knew all there was to know about each other.

And now? Interactions with friends look more like morning playdates where we see how well our minds can ping pong between playground patrol and coherent conversation. IYKYK.

A lot of us have lost the hype for life-with-kids that came with the positive pregnancy test. It’s so easy to fall into a muddy puddle (Peppa Pig anyone?) of self-pity.  We miss our ‘old lives’ and we want friendships to be the same as they used to. We feel like we no longer have that freedom, enslaved to the children we once begged for. 

It’s hard in a world where we see long-lost acquaintances taking girl trips and influencer dinner parties with jaw-dropping tablescapes. High expectations can be good, but if they’re making us miserable, they’re not helping.  So what if we’re thinking about it all wrong? What if our children didn’t take our freedom away from us, but opened up a new avenue for us to experience it? What if all we have to do to get our freedom ‘back’ is to think differently? 

Maybe you’ve got your besties and your text thread is constantly blowing up. If that’s true, I’m genuinely so happy for you! But if you’re like me and your friends' availability, and your own, ebb and flow with the waves of crazy days, school schedules, and extracurriculars then it can feel a little…lonely.

I love knowing that the way that I think directly correlates to the way I will feel. 

It’s so empowering because I get to hand-pick, even create whatever thoughts will fuel the feelings I need to treasure and invest in my friendships as they are. When I remember how often I pick up my phone to read a text and then get distracted helping one of my littles, it makes sense why conversations with mama friends are slower and less frequent than they used to be. 

So, instead of wallowing in thoughts like: “this is so unfair”, “I miss the way things used to be”, or “I feel so trapped” I choose to think things like “I can think of new ways to enjoy my friends”, “I enjoy being in a new season with these people”, and “we’re all figuring this out and doing our best. I’m so proud of us”. 

Did your mom ever tell you to be the friend you wish you had? I’m leaning into that advice these days and I have to say….it’s solid gold!

Make a list of all the things you wish you had in a friend right now and then go 👏🏻be 👏🏽 all 👏🏾 those 👏🏿 things! Don’t wait for that friend to text you. Text her! Schedule a weekly walk, invite another family’s chaos into yours for dinner or a weekend brunch, ask her questions that get to the core of how they’re doing - the friend that’s been there all along. I think you’ll find that others love to be authentically pursued and most likely, they’ll pursue you right back. 

The best thing we can do is be the first to reach out and go after the friendships we desire. So tell Siri to send a text, grab your stroller, and find freedom with your kids!