After motherhood, those nights are often consumed with finishing work deadlines, making dinner, tending to fussy kids and managing a household. Before you know it, months pass by before you take time to spend an evening with your favorite gal pals.
For mothers, it is essential to include some girl time in order to maintain your identity. Talking to a friend often makes you feel less isolated and offers an avenue to vent and have fun.
Here are eight tips to balance motherhood and friendship:
1. Plan in advance.
Most people are busy with work, home, and children. Contact your friends and ask them to look at their calendars in order to pin down a date that works for dinner or a drink. Once this date is on the calendar, treat it as a commitment.
2. Use technology to your advantage.
With the advent of email, texting, and smartphones, there is no reason not to stay in touch with friends. While your baby is napping, send a quick text letting your friend know that you are thinking of her. After dropping your children off at school, call a friend on your commute to work. On your lunch hour, sneak in a few minutes to send an email to check on that college roommate.
3. Create new friendships around common interests.
Many of my friends are interested in reading. A few years ago we decided to create a book club. We meet once a month in the evening. We have dinner and converse about what is going on in our lives. The remaining part of the evening is spent discussing the book.
4. Meet friends at a park.
Sometimes it is not practical to leave the children behind. It does not mean that you must never see your friends. As mothers, we often are required to navigate our busy lives. Use this time to do a mother and children play date. As much as your children allow, get in some time to chat with your friends.
5. Write a letter.
Writing and sending letters seems antiquated with the invention of instant technology. However, most people love receiving a personalized handwritten letter or card in the mail. It is a great way to connect with an old friend and revive the tradition of writing letters.
6. Use Skype.
I know many people who use Skype to connect with their families, but I think it is a great way to “see” and talk to friends. It is a way to maintain a friendship without having to leave the comforts of your living room. You can utilize Skype during your children’s bed or nap time.
7. Plan a coffee date after the kids are sleeping.
I know many times mothers can’t get away because they handle the bulk of childcare responsibilities. One way to work around this concern is to plan a coffee date after the kids are sleeping. Let your spouse know of your plan and let him know that you may take a couple of hours to unwind at the local Starbucks.
8. Hire a babysitter for “friend time.”
In order to get that much-needed gal pal time, hire a babysitter to watch the kids. Schedule a movie date, happy hour, or coffee chat so that you can have uninterrupted time with your friend.