Ask any mom and she'll tell you the same — friendships get trickier once little ones come into the picture. A natural shift in the dynamics of your relationship occurs, and it can take a hot minute to wrap your head around. If you feel like you've lost a bit of your mom-friend luster lately, perhaps it's time to consider some New Year's Resolutions to make if you want to be a better friend to other moms. I mean, can you imagine what motherhood would be like without the support of the other moms in your life? I think we can all agree we all need those special people in our world who understand the delicate (slash messy and complicated AF) art of raising tiny humans.
Before the women in my inner circle started growing their families, we lived in a cozy cocoon of social indulgence — we would hang out for hours on end, drop by each other's houses without calling, treat each other to mani-pedis, and basically spend every spare hour together. It's not that we don't do any of those things anymore, but time is a precious and practically extinct commodity these days. I'll be the first to admit that once my kids came along, I became so wrapped up in them that their squishy little faces eclipsed anything going on in my friends' lives.
Last week, as I was sorting through a pile of mail that had been tossed haphazardly onto my dining room table one afternoon, I found something that saddened me: an invitation to the second birthday party of one of my dearest friend's daughter. I vaguely remember seeing it when it first came in the mail, but at the time my son was probably chasing the dog or giving himself homemade henna face tattoos with magic markers. And I forgot. I didn't even call to let her know I wasn't coming. At that moment, I knew I needed to shape up in the mom-friend department pronto.
If any of this sounds familiar, well, obviously you aren't alone. Striking that ideal balance between being a mom and fostering your mom friendships is a struggle most women can relate to. The following New Year's resolutions are a good start for getting back on track with your mom friends in 2017.
1Make The First Move
You know how it goes — you've got a hundred million things on your to-do list, and that's just the stuff you have to do for your kid. Your mom friends are in the same boat. Chances are they've been craving quality time with you too, but life has just gotten in the way. When you take a proactive approach and ask them to hang, it takes on thing off their to-do list. And what mom wouldn't appreciate that?
If there is one thing I have learned about being a mom and having mom friends, it's that flexibility is non-negotiable. Nothing ever goes according to plan. Will your friend cancel on you last minute more times than you can count? Probably. Because a kid will get sick or the babysitter will cancel or any other number of things that can go wrong when a mom is trying to get out of the house. As moms, one of the kindest things we can do for each other is let each other off the hook and just be there when the stars do align for QT.
3Share Good Stuff
Mothers tend to put everyone's needs before their own. Sometimes they're also on shoe-string budgets (kids are expensive, y'all), and can no longer afford to splurge on the little luxuries. So why not resolve to share any amazing finds you stumble across with the other moms in your life? Whether you give her a head's up about a miracle hair conditioner that is surprisingly inexpensive or you actually bring over a bar of that good Belgian chocolate you scored and break it in half with her, she will feel loved just knowing that you were thinking of her.
4Don't Be A Passive Participant
This one can prove more difficult than it sounds, because everyone is busy all the time. Sometimes I feel like I'm a passive participant in my own life. But being a great friend to other moms means being a part of their children's lives, too. It shouldn't feel like a foreign concept to offer to pick her kids up from school if she's in a bind, because hopefully you have spent time with her kids and love them like your own. Admittedly, this is my weak spot and thus at the top of my New Year's resolutions for being a better friend to other moms.
5Just Listen . . . Don't Judge
Spoiler alert: no child is perfect. Developmentally, they will all go through tough phases that drive us mamas up the wall. If you think your child is perfect, well, that's sweet — it's always wonderful when a mother adores her little ones. Still, uh, they're not. Your little angel can be a devil just like the rest of them. So when your mom friend starts venting about how her t3 year old just finger-painted the bathroom walls in poop, try to listen. Let her get out her frustrations without being patronizing or, even worse, making her feel like your child would never do something so appalling. Not every kid is a poop Picasso, but every kid can be a pain in the ass. True story.
6Celebrate Little Wins
By the same token, another solid way to be a better friend to other moms is to celebrate little wins with them. It doesn't matter if whatever perceived milestone their child has hit seems silly or insignificant to you — she wouldn't have brought it up if it wasn't a big deal for her. Marginalizing the little wins can flood a mom with feelings of embarrassment, shame, and guilt for not being a "good enough" mother. So when she tells you her daughter finally learned how to use a spoon, be genuinely happy for her and her little one. A win's a win, no matter how small.
You're tired. I'm tired. Everyone is tired. It's pretty much a requisite part of being a mom. So go ahead and file swinging through Starbucks and bringing a fellow fatigued mom friend her favorite caffeinated beverage under the "little gestures that make a big impact" category. Even if you didn't already have plans together, consider giving her a call if you're in her neighborhood and see if she would like you to swing by with a cup o'coffee and some convo. A mom friend who brings coffee . . . is there any better kind?