It’s Not Just You — Making Friends As A Mom Is Hard

I’ve recently started seeing a counselor. Nothing crazy in particular has been going on with me other than just the general highs and lows in life, and I just like the idea of having someone to help me work through whatever is going on.

At my last session, my counselor asked me if there was anything I wanted to focus on for our hour together. I scanned my brain and finally told him that I don’t think I’ve made a new, true, genuine friend who’s stuck around in over a decade.

Fully convinced something was wrong with me, I waited for some follow up questions from my counselor, but to my surprise, there weren’t any. Instead, he quickly assured me that there wasn’t anything “wrong” with me (besides some introversion and maybe some mild social anxiety) and that this is something he hears a lot.

“It’s hard to make friends in general, but it’s even harder to make friends as a mom. What you’re struggling with right now is actually pretty normal,” my counselor reassured me.

Despite this reassurance, it’s been hard to not feel different, left out, or less than sometimes. It’s too easy to compare myself to others. I’ll scroll through my Facebook feed to see acquaintances and coworkers at parties, potlucks, and Bunco nights I wasn’t invited to. I’ll see people on vacations with their friends and their friends’ kids. Their kids’ birthday parties are celebrated with all their friends’ kids, whereas the only kids at my kid’s birthday party would be family.

It’s not jealousy I’ve felt as much as it is wondering what’s wrong with me and why I don’t have that same support system. But if I’m being really honest with myself, the truth is I haven’t put a whole lot of effort into making any new friends.

I do have a few friends I have known since high school. Becoming friends was easy because we just kind of found each other, and it stuck. When it comes to making new friends, I thought I would easily find them at the park, daycare pickup, or in the work break room whenever I heat up my lunch, but I was wrong. It feels so much harder to make friends as an adult.

Mom friendships seem to consist of a lot of small talk about things like daycare options and teething remedies. But getting beyond that and turning those conversations into connections is really tough. It all seems too awkward, and I have a hard time finding the energy for all of this.

An acquaintance recently texted to hang out, even suggesting I bring my kids along to play with her kids, which I found was thoughtful. This woman would be a great friend. The only problem was that the night she texted me was a bad time because my kids were about to go to bed, so I told her I couldn’t hang out because I had to get the kids to sleep. When I tried to return the favor a couple of weeks later, I got no response. Was she just busy? Was she offended that I couldn’t come out the first time? There’s so much uncertainty. What I do know is that this all feels harder than it used to for me.

I want mom friends who “get it” and understand that there may be other things going on and that there are no hard feelings. I want mom friends that I can have over who won’t care if my house isn’t spotless and that won’t flinch when my toddler throws a tantrum or when my colicky baby cries. Someone I can come over to help cook dinner with or who I can catch up with while we fold laundry.

The problem is that these adult friends don’t just show up magically; making friends takes time. And effort. And so, as scary as it sounds, I’ve decided that I’m going to start being the “inviter”, the one who goes out of their way to make other moms feel included, because I’ve realized that’s what I’ve been looking for.

I will worry less about being perfect and more about the friendships I could be forming. Just like dating, there might be some rejection from them. But I know my mom’s friend group is out there, somewhere.

Madison is a teacher, a firefighter wife, and a mom of two young boys. An INFJ, she is obsessed with Myers-Briggs and probably wants to know your type, although she might be too awkward to ask. When Madison isn’t working, writing for Scary Mommy, or taking care of her boys, you can find her traveling, reading, and trying out new recipes.

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