I became a mother at age 20, long before any of friends were even thinking about settling down. They were fantastic — moving our regular Must See TV night to our house, with the baby in the bouncer, inviting me out for girls’ night, and keeping me in the loop so I would still feel a part of things. But I didn’t.
My life was so much different. Instead of sporting events, the dining hall, and a class schedule, my day to day revolved around diapers, nursing, and the baby’s nap schedule. It was nice to still have my friends around, but things felt very lonely in parenting.
When she started school, I thought it might get better. I would meet other moms! I could have friends again! But, I didn’t.
It wasn’t until years later that I met Julie. She kind of barreled her way into my life — and never left. For the first time in my life, I had a friend. I had someone to turn to when life was rough, someone to celebrate with when life was awesome, and someone to hang out with just because.
We talk on the phone daily, text even more, and tried to get together at least once a month. This year, we made sure it happened every month, without fail by scheduling a regular girls’ night out on the 1st Monday of every month. Margarita Monday is sacred — every month, without fail, I enjoy a drink (or three) with my friends. The group has grown — and so has my circle of friends.
Being intentional about friendship has been the most amazing thing. It’s hard to let the chaos of life get in the way, when it’s been on the calendar month after month. The guilt of ditching my friends would far outweigh the guilt of missing bedtime once a month. And, now I crave our girls’ night.
It has strengthened our bond. It has strengthened my marriage. It has made me a better mom. I feel less guilty about the fails, now that I know I’m not alone. I struggle less with the daily tasks, now that I have a group of friends who share their secrets.
For years, my motherhood secret has been to make time for you. That’s the advice I share at every baby shower. It’s the tip I give to any new mom. And, it’s definitely important, but I’ve learned it goes even further than that.
You have to be intentional about friendship. Go out of your way to make mom friends — start a playgroup, join the PTO, talk to other moms at the park, spend time with other moms you like and respect. Do whatever you have to do to surround yourself with friends who get you.
It was the best thing I’ve ever done.