Are You Losing Friends as a Busy Mum? Here are 4 Ways to Help You

I had one of those brutal dental surgeries on Saturday. As I sat on my sofa after the procedure, not feeling half of my face, drugged to my eyeballs in painkillers, I decided to binge watch Netflix to take my mind off things. Ping, went my phone. It was a text from my friend in California asking how I was feeling. She was in another country and a different time zone and she remembered!!! I was so touched. I had another of those texts on Sunday morning from another friend asking: ‘How did the surgery go?’ 

Friends enrich every stage of our life, but nurturing the friendships you have and making new ones can be a challenge during motherhood, maybe more so for working mums because we are time poor.

Once you start a family, your focus shifts to new demands and just getting a meal on the table can be a big deal sometimes. Friendship is a necessary refuge for days when you forget that you were once a cute cheerleader, a daredevil on the bike, or the hotdog eating contest champ of your hometown. The point is, friends remind you of who you once were and this keeps you grounded, and less anxious on mum worries. 

Having friends is critical to our mental and physical health. In fact, UCLA researchers have found that women tend to lean heavily on social support from their friends during stressful times. Friends can be the ones that pull you out of despair and support you through thick and thin.

Research shows that how parents show up in their friendships affect how their kids relate to their friends. So if you want your kids to learn to tap into this gold mine of support for their mental health, you need to be utilising it efficiently yourself.

Social support networks are vital to arrive at a better version of yourself more so for lone mothers or single parents. According to this study, these support networks, whether through friends or relatives, greatly improved their capability to reconcile paid work and child care responsibilities. 

So how can the busy you maintain friendships?

 

  1. Schedule Off Days

If you have a parenting partner, arrange days when you can each have a day or a night off. Both of you should understand the importance of spending time apart and socializing with other people. This is a way to recharge and foster connections you have outside the family. Of course, the time off can be used however you want, but make sure to also spend part of it with friends.

 

  1. Family Activities

If your family is friends with other families, you can do activities together as a group.  It can be as simple as a picnic at the local park, or taking turns hosting monthly movie nights at your respective homes, whatever you decide is OK. Just make sure to enjoy it too and don’t get hung up on making everything perfect so that you spend more time preparing and cooped up in the kitchen. The goal is to relax and have an amazing time with your friends.

 

  1. Block off extra time here and there

As a busy mum, you might not have time to chat happily with friends at home. So, use your away time efficiently. If you go to the gym, block off an extra half an hour after workout to grab a smoothie with your girlfriends. Inviting friends to have lunch with you during work days is a good idea too.

The chunk of time spent talking to friends will give your mind a healthy boost or sometimes the release it needs. You can bounce off thoughts that you’d like to get out there and you know that your friends are the right ears to hear you out. Not to mention the release of the oxytocin, the bonding hormone that gives you that sense of belonging.

 

  1. Phone your friends occasionally

Having regular face-to-face time with friends might be harder to do as a working mum. Good thing, the digital age provides us countless ways to be in touch with each other and regularly communicate.

Check on your friends occasionally, but not just through messaging apps, do pick up the phone on some days and have a decent conversation. There’s a big difference if you’re able to listen to each other speak. You focus more during calls instead of having text exchanges. Plus, the tone of voice while rambling on sets the mood, it allows for better understanding of emotions involved about stories or experiences being shared.

Maintaining friendship presents some challenges, but it is essential and worth the time investment. There is nothing more powerful than the support of sisterhood. Women naturally form these supportive bonds. Tap into it, create your own if you don’t have one. Aim to strike a balance between the time we spend with family and our adult friends.

 

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