For the first year of motherhood, I worked part-time. My life was very much immersed in being mom, wife and employee, and I found a great deal of personal satisfaction and even community from my days spent in the office.
Then I left the workforce to stay home full-time, and my life became very isolated.
I had imagined all the fun things my daughter and I would do once I was home full-time, but the reality of her age and our newly-shrunk budget left me home and bored all too often.
Thanks to Netflix and naptime, I caught up on all my favorite television shows and quickly began looking for more. I cried through Army Wives, and found myself becoming jealous of the women depicted with close friends who lived right next door. All of my friends worked or lived 30+ minutes away, making daily or even weekly gatherings a challenge.
That’s when Liz moved in two doors down. With fiery red hair and an outgoing personality, not to mention the fact that she didn’t know another living soul in Denver, we became fast friends.
Our daughters are 10 months apart in age and, while we found activities that they might like, we really enjoyed finding excursions that gave us opportunity to grow our friendship. We spent time at the indoor mall play area during the cold winter months, would go for early morning stroller walks as the weather warmed, not to mention just popping over for a quick chat or to borrow a serving of applesauce.
Just shy of a year after moving in, Liz and her family packed up and moved away. Okay, only 20 miles away and we still see each other at least weekly.
But what I learned from the first friend I made as a mom with a mom, was huge.
I learned to step out of my comfort zone. I may have been lonely as a stay-at-home mom but it wasn’t enough to compel me to try new things until Liz came along and invited me to go and do. And even then, sometimes I just wanted to stay home in my PJs; and sometimes that’s just what I did. But when I let go of my reservations, I found that spending time with a friend was refreshing to my soul (not to mention how much better my attitude became).
I learned that to best help my daughter become a good friend, I needed to model healthy friendships to her. My daughter may have only been a year old when Liz and I first met, but the habits I am forming now, including and especially in regards to friendship, will speak to my future relationships and in turn, to hers.
I learned to offer grace to other moms – and to myself. Mom friendships are beautiful and unique, a special type of comradery. They also include distinct challenges: sick kids, meltdowns, and blowouts affect schedules while time together is full of interruptions and the distractions of a wayward toddler. That’s also why they work; moms get other moms.
I learned that mom-friendships are worth getting out of PJs for. Whether I have to walk next door or drive 30 minutes away, friendships with other moms are worth pursuing and being available for.
I’ve been blessed to have many friends over the course of my life: childhood friends, college friends, work friends. Adding mom friends has been a special blessing. By offering grace to each and grace to ourselves, mom-friendships have helped me through life’s good things and hard things, and have made me a better mom, better woman and a better friend.
So what about you – where do you find mom friends?
Mom to one, trying for two, stuck with a couple crazy dogs and loved by a fabulous guy. I'm a stay-at-home-but-rarely-home mom with a knack for saying "yes" too quickly, especially when it comes to outside commitments and Diet Mountain Dew.
I blog at rachel+reagan.