Making Mom Friends is Hard But Not For the Reasons We Think

Instead of faking it, what if we tried being honest?
why is it hard to make mom friends

I remember years ago saying to my now-best friend, “It is so freaking hard to make mom friends!” She had just had her first child, and she kind of chuckled and nodded. 

Two years later, as we were sitting on the floor of her kids’ playroom, drinking lukewarm coffee and watching our kids play together she said to me, “I still remember you telling me how hard it was to make mom friends. I didn’t believe you at the time. But you’re so right! Why is it so hard?!”

Making other mom friends is so hard—and nobody talks about it.

To find someone you click with, who has kids similar ages to yours, who approaches parenting in a similar vein as you, etc. You are looking for a freaking unicorn. And yet, mom friends are  so necessary. 

The modern mom is expected to do it all and to look good doing it. The only time we can claim to be a mess is with a cute tagline on social media #hotmessexpress, but even that is so often curated.

This pressure to be everything for everyone and not break a sweat keeps us all hiding behind facades, lonely, tired, and burning out.

I spent years making small talk and smiling along with other moms, but not actually connecting. Years hiding behind my coffee cup not sharing anything that actually mattered. Years faking just how well I was handling motherhood and parenting and my marriage. Years feeling isolated and like I was failing.

So much of what kept me from making friends was my inability or unwillingness to let other people see me and my mess. As someone who usually has it all together, it is hard to invite someone into the chaos that is motherhood—until I was willing to step into vulnerability, I inadvertently kept everyone an arm’s length away. 

I was so convinced that, if someone saw my struggle, they would think I was a bad mom.

I was terrified of someone else discovering that I wasn’t handling motherhood as well as I led on. But, mostly, I was scared of having to admit to myself that I wasn’t happy and that my perfectionism and unrealistic expectations for myself were to blame.

I know I didn’t come up with all of them on my own. Society and cultural messaging almost always play a part. But I was choosing to let them dictate how I showed up, and I was showing up as fake.

The process of finding mom friends took a lot of mental shifting on my part. I had to give myself permission to not have—or need—a giant group of friends. I felt like I needed to have this whole network, but all that did was give me a lot of shallow connections.

Once I focused my attention on those nearest and dearest to me, the quality of my relationships skyrocketed.

I had to get crystal clear on what I did need and want. We talk about setting standards for romantic relationships, but the same is true for friendships. It was important to me to find someone I could trust and whom I felt comfortable being my full self around.

Too many mom groups made me feel like I was censoring myself or overthinking what I wanted to do or say. I wasn’t going to let that continue. 

Finally, I had to make a commitment to letting them into the messiness of it all. There was no more hiding my struggle. I had to choose vulnerability. That was the secret sauce. 

Vulnerability looked like texting my friend at 6:30 p.m. saying “Dinner is my least favorite time of the day. I cannot tell my kid to sit on their butt or take another bite again or I will lose my everlasting mind. Tell me I’m not the worst.”

It also looked like this, “Jack is home sick from school and I’m so salty because I’m not getting anything done that I wanted to. I’m supposed to want to cuddle him but I was really looking forward to finishing my project. Am I terrible?”

And also this, “If one more person says ‘mom’ or touches me I’m running away forever.” 

Sharing those moments allowed ones like this too, “I think I’m miscarrying,” and “I’m really struggling with my anxiety,” and “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this, I’m scared.”

Me showing up with all of my mess and inviting others into it allowed them to do the same. Sharing the good, the bad, the frustrating, the mundane, the exciting, the joyful…all of it…allowed for actual real-life human connection.

That connection is the reason why when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer within hours I had food dropped off, gifts for my oldest to keep him occupied, someone lined up to do our yard work, etc. You name it and these women handled it.

They knew my heart. They knew what I needed. They knew what my kids needed. They couldn’t and wouldn’t have known those things had I not taken down my walls and let them see. Showing up internally, emotionally, and in support leads to showing up in real life when it matters most.

Making mom friends is so hard. But when we make a commitment to showing up authentically and vulnerably our connections shift. And we are better for it.

Author

  • Amber Willis

    Amber Willis is a freelance writer and content creator who specializes in helping female entrepreneurs find their voice and share their story. She also runs her own blog where she shares about parenting, her freelance experience, and how she's working towards building her biggest, bravest life. When she's not writing she's either reheating her coffee, walking her dog, or dancing it out with her two kids.

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