Mothers need support in many forms. There’s so much talk of how we don’t have villages anymore, but that doesn’t mean we should do motherhood on our own.
We need to find support and make our own villages. Mum friends are an important source of support.
Mum friends understand what you’re going through. They’ve experienced how motherhood changes you and your life. Mum friends are the perfect people to offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, some helpful advice, new perspective, heartfelt encouragement, practical help or even just a hug.
It’s not about the number of friends that you have. It’s about the quality and value of those friendships. Friendships are healthy when all parties choose to participate and contribute to the relationship. The contributions are not always equal, as things ebb and flow and our needs change over time, but everyone contributes.
As mums, it’s also important that our friends encourage and lift us up when we’re facing the inevitable challenges of motherhood. Your friendships should be a safe haven from all the negativity, judgement and comparisons out there. Your mum friends should be a positive force in your life.
I’m so fortunate to have some wonderful mum friends in my life. I’m pretty choosy about who I spend my limited time with and I’m delighted to invest my time and energy in these friendships. I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I value these friendships lately and felt inspired to write this open letter to the mums who make my life brighter. I hope you have mum friends like this in your life too.
To my treasured mum friends,
I want you to know that you make my life brighter, just by being in it.
It doesn’t really matter how we met, or how long we’ve known each other. I invest in our friendship, because it’s so valuable to me.
I’ve known some of you for half my life. We rode the ups and downs of life together long before our children (and even partners) came into the picture. You’ve loved and supported me through my lowest points and I’ll never forget that. Now, it’s wonderful to share the adventure of motherhood with you. Just another layer to our precious friendship.
I’ve met some of you since becoming a mum. It’s takes us so much longer to get to know each other well since our conversations are constantly interrupted by our little ones. But you felt like a friend from the start. We just clicked. So, this slow process of understanding each other doesn’t matter. I appreciate how we love and support each other while our friendship deepens.
To my mum friends who live far away:
Distance may separate us, but I don’t count our friendship as any less. I love our text message conversations, seeing the photos you send me or post online, and hearing how you and your family is going. I know you love to hear my stories too. When we do get to talk properly or see each other, it feels like no time has passed at all. We get straight back into the comfortable, familiar feeling of friendship. I love how we can marvel at how our children have grown and changed so much because we don’t see them every day. Thank you for the random messages to say hi and ask how we’re going. I think of you often and miss you a lot! Know that I’m here for you always.
To my mum friends that I’ve met online:
You have taken me by surprise. I never thought I’d build such great friendships in this way. I mean, I knew other people did, but I hadn’t experienced it myself. I love that no matter where we’re located, we are connected. I love that one of you is there to chat at just about any time. I know you’re replying to messages while doing a million other things (as I am), sprinkling friendship through our days and nights. Thank you for checking in on me when you’ve not heard from me in a while. I love that we can be open and authentic, even without meeting in person. It’s funny how you can feel less alone, when you see that little green availability dot in Facebook or see those little typing dots flashing.
To my mum friends that I’m lucky enough to see regularly:
I look forward to every time I see you. The adult conversation, the fun, sharing stories, reassuring each other, caring for each other’s children. I love how we help each other with practical things, like bringing extra food for lunch, helping with party preparations, passing on toys or clothes that are no longer needed, providing lifts or picking up groceries. I love how we do something quiet and easy when one of us is tired. Or how we meet up at a park when one of us needs to get outside. I love how we share cups of tea and chat while our children play (ok, I know, that only lasts for about 2 minutes before one of them needs something!).
Thank you for the times you’ve helped me so I can go for a run, use the bathroom, make a phone call, buy swimwear, send an email, cook dinner, hang out my washing, or pop into a shop. Thank you for offering to help when my son is screaming on the ground. For offering to leave when he’s crying and saying he wants to be alone (thankfully, I haven’t had to take you up on that one yet!) Thank you for texting to check on me later. And thank you for letting me help you. I am delighted to help the people I care about, and I know it isn’t always easy to accept help.
Some of these things might sound small but they are far from insignificant.
To every one of my mum friends:
Know that you are treasured. You inspire me, encourage me, make me laugh (I do love to laugh!) and make things fun.
I admire you because you are strong, smart, beautiful, courageous and unique women, who love with all your hearts. You have so much compassion and grace. I see how you make sacrifices for your family, giving everything you can to make their lives better. Motherhood is hard, and you’re doing your best, which is more than enough. You keep going even though you haven’t slept. You keep showing up when all you want is a break. I see you dealing with bouts of mum guilt, and keeping negative thoughts at bay. I know you second guess yourself and hope everything you’ve done is good enough. I see how your face lights up with pride and happiness as you relay something your child did. That passionate love you show for your children, is beautiful.
I also see that there’s so much more to you than being a mum. You’re holding onto precious dreams. You miss some things about pre-baby life and you’re trying to work out who you are in each stage of motherhood. I feel privileged that you share your true self, including your struggles, doubts and fears, with me. Your vulnerability and authenticity doesn’t go unnoticed and it strengthens and deepens our friendship.
Thank you for accepting my family and I as we are, with all our quirks. We value how you comfort us when we need it and celebrate our joys. Thank you for not judging us or trying to change us. Thanks for not caring that my floor hasn’t been mopped, that I’m late again, that I seemingly lost interest in what you were saying halfway through your sentence (in reality, just distracted by something my son was getting up to), that I forgot to respond to your text message or that I can’t catch up for a month.
Thank you for caring about me as a mum, but also as a person. For being interested in my work and the other things I do. Thanks for being my connection to the outside world when I’m stuck at home and for being the people I want to do life with. I know that I’m not alone and if I needed help, you would be there for me, just as I would be there for you.
I love you just the way you are. It might sound like a have a little crush on you, and in a way, maybe I do. I hope that doesn’t sound creepy! I just think you’re amazing and I want to surround myself with people like you. Because life is too short to spend it with people who don’t make my life brighter. I hope I make your life a little brighter too.
Lovely mum, do you need to tell a mum friend how amazing she is? Do it now!
P.S. If you find making mum friends really challenging, then check out my 4 tips on how to connect with confidence.