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August 17, 2021

New Kid on the Block: Mastering the Motherhood-Friendship Mix

I'm excited to share with you this guest post by Irene S. Levine, Ph.D. from over at one of my favorite blogs, Fractured Friendships. The blog explores the nature, meaning and depth of female friendships. Thanks, Irene!

Most new mothers (whether working or stay-at-home) — who are saddled with responsibility for one or more kids while managing a home — are likely to feel isolated and overwhelmed. Often during this stage of life, changing circumstances (e.g. having single or childless friends who aren’t in similar situations) make it challenging for women to rekindle the common ground that they once shared with female friends.

Or, with new responsiblities, they may be so busy meeting their family’s needs, that they have little time left of their own, including the time to maintain old friendships or to cultivate new ones. Yet female friendships are essential to health and happiness.

Two disparate approaches to maintaining a balance between the roles of mother and friend are to either carve out some time for yourself by having other family members, friends, or babysitters assist you with your childcare responsibilities---or alternatively, to find ways to socialize with other moms while your kids simultaneously learn the art of friendship themselves.

One way to do this: It is estimated that more than four million parents attend parent/child playgroups on a weekly basis. Mommy and Me maintains an online database of playgroups for parents and children to interact with each other while they meet other parents facing similar challenges.

In a recent Grasshopper New Media blog entry, GNMParents producer, Megin Hatch, wrote about the value of a “girls night away.” She also offered some wonderful suggestions for finding friends and including your kids in the fun, These include:

1) Heading to the library
2) Starting a playgroup
3) Joining a class
4) Visiting kid friendly places
5) Being on the lookout for other opportunities that present themselves

Mothers & More is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of mothers through support, education and advocacy. There are currently 2,170 chapters in 34 states, accessible through and online searchable database. The organization provides opportunities for moms to socialize and connect both online and in person.

For example, the Rochester chapter of Mothers & More hosts twice-monthly meetings for grown-up conversation, members only on-line chats, meal delivery for mothers who are sick, a monthly mom’s night out, and special interest clubs (including crafts, scrapping, and a book club). Activities for parents and kids include play groups, mornings in the park, and special moms & tots events.

It’s important to recognize that even mommies need friendship and support, and that the two roles are not only compatible — but can be synergistic if you play it right!

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