When you were in grade school, what qualified as BFF status simply meant you were funny, played on the playground, and sat next to one another at the lunch table. You traded your Hostess Twinkie for her Doritos and picked each other for kickball teams at recess. The qualities upgraded throughout life where you had a friend-to-the-end based on how much you hung out, you tried out for the same sports, prayed you were in the same classes together, dressed alike, and a bonus if you dated people that were friends. In college, you rushed the same sorority, dated within the same crowd, had a blast on spring break praying you both didn’t appear on social media, and cuddled in blankets sobbing over the latest breakup.
Motherhood can change friendships tremendously and even bring more clarity on what is truly important to you in a friendship. Time is so valuable, and we find ourselves with much less time compared to our past life.
Values also change when you become a mother. There are also other people to consider that create some of these new values. It’s not just about you and your girlfriends anymore. You don’t have all the time in the world to give to one another. You can’t drop everything and drink chardonnay until midnight because she lost her job, or her boyfriend blew her off again.
Lifestyles are different. You’re exhausted, both mentally and physically. Maybe your kids are a bit older and in a lot of activities where your weekends are packed. You work full time and want to spend time with your family and have dinner instead of grabbing drinks with your girlfriends. When you do have a moment to yourself, you simply want to chill and be still.
Who do we dedicate our limited time to? Who makes “the cut”?
With these changes, challenges, and new values, what are your new qualities in a healthy friendship that go beyond what you did before becoming a mom? Below are seven that you may feel connected with, and a few red flags to be aware of with your friendships.
- Your friendships become deeper. Nothing screams intimacy more than honest motherhood. Connecting with all the stories, challenges, and supporting one another through it all deepens your connection.
- You see them in a totally different light. That career-driven friend who you never imagined being a mom suddenly is! She is incredible and you admire this new side of your friend you never knew existed.
- You both are vulnerable with each other. You don’t have to air all your dirty laundry but being honest and vulnerable is the best way to strengthen a friendship. You’re relatable, comforting, and real.
- You’re there for each other, even more than before. Life has tossed you some grown up issues and situations. These big-time challenges call for a friend that can support you and get you through them all. Or at least be a good sounding board or shoulder to cry on.
- You need them, you want them there for reasons beyond companionship. Sure, it’s nice that they respond to your texts or comment on your pictures of your baby, but you need something beyond the casual friend. You aren’t counting your friends on your fingers like you used to. It’s all about quality and going beyond the casual friend.
- You don’t sweat the small stuff. Good grief life is definitely not a box of chocolates. You don’t have time or energy to worry about the small petty things you used to. Which is great for a friendship. Allowing small things to roll off the shoulder allows you to focus on what’s really important.
- There’s none of the petty BS anymore. Remember talking about your best friend and how she did this, you can’t believe she’s dating this person, or how another friend made fool out of herself the night prior? Now you can’t imagine talking about your friend like that. Even when she’s struggling, you support and empathize versus judge and gossip about her. You’re growing up and realizing what a good friend should do. You’ll need that same kind of friend when you are on the struggle bus.
And here are some red flags to pay attention to with your friends, and when you make new ones:
- They make you feel insecure. Enough said. If they make you feel like shit, they’re not a friend.
- It’s a one-way street. Do you do all the calling, texting, organizing, and supporting? If you stopped reaching out, would you ever hear from them? If you are important to someone, they will make the effort.
- You feel like you’re walking on eggshells, to a point where you don’t trust them. Is your friend passive-aggressive if something is bothering her? If they’re going through a hard time, do they take it out on you? People can be unpredictable. However, if you find yourself having anxiety with your friend and how she reacts to certain situations, it’s time to back off a bit and stop being the punching bag.
- They’re competitive. This can go both ways. The contest of “Who’s Life is the Hardest?” and “Who’s CRUSHING It?!” There shouldn’t be a contest. You shouldn’t feel every time you mention success that someone is going to one-up you. If someone is having a hard time in their life, you shouldn’t feel guilty telling her you’re actually in a good place.
- They don’t react well to change. Change is hard for all human beings. What you need to watch out for is the reaction to change and how you’re treated. If you move, have another baby, get divorced, stop drinking, start exercising, your friend should be supporting you, not punishing you. Their issues with their lives are not yours. Live your best life and allow the friends in that support you through it all.
You can hear more about all you need to know with choosing quality friends by listening to The Honest Mom Podcast’s latest episode: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/7-qualities-of-a-healthy-friendship-and-the-red/id1596159988?i=1000552848070