By Alicia Searl, Crosswalk.com
We all need them. We know we need them, yet there is the underlying tension nobody really talks about when it comes to making mom friends. The hard truth (just going to go ahead and lay it out there up front) is that making mom friends is hard. Plain and simple. It’s hard to make, keep and manage friendships once you become a mom. There, I said it.
Making friends can prove difficult in any season of our lives, but something changes when we become mothers. We realize the need for support - in a whole new way. But, in all honesty, it’s not easy putting yourself out there. Being the new mom in a group only to feel like you’re in high school all over again with the odd glances and snickering can make anyone retreat. I know; I’ve been there before. I bet you have too. We may have even been the mom snickering, not even realizing it. But here’s something to remember when you feel left out, unwelcomed, or just awkward - You weren’t meant to fit into every group, and you won’t click with some moms. And that is okay.
Some friendships will come more naturally than others. Some stick around for the long haul (which is rare, by the way), and others will weave in and out of your journey for various reasons. But, once we put these relationships in perspective and understand that God has a purpose for our friendships, we begin to know how sweet friendships truly are. How they can bless our lives with truth and understanding, offering wisdom and encouragement, being that beacon of hope we so desperately need on this journey of motherhood.
What God Says about Our Relationships
God has a lot to say about our relationships, and we can find countless examples of relationships sprinkled throughout Scripture. Knowing that our God is love, those stories show His compassion for us and that He deeply cares about our fellowship with others, especially other believers.
His Word reveals the biblical order (road map, if you will) on how to navigate our relationships. Let’s take a look at the structure He provides us.
First, seek God with your heart, soul and might – Deuteronomy 6:4
Then be faithful to your spouse – Ephesians 5:21-33
Next, raise up your children to fear the Lord – Proverbs 22:6
Followed by honoring your parents – Ephesians 6:1-3
Finally, foster and grow with friendships – Proverbs 27:9
Friendships are our source of growth and accountability. They carry us through all the other relationships. Helping us connect more intimately with our God, reminding us of our covenant with our spouse, and encouraging us as parents. True friends recognize their place, understand there is a balance, and respect boundaries.
Sadly, the world doesn’t embrace this hierarchy of relationships. We can clearly see that with broken homes and painful/sinful relationships (including friendships) that are falling apart all around us. Thankfully, God guides us and offers us freedom from falling into unhealthy relationships. Freedom is found in being covered by Jesus and allowing our relationships to follow His example.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12
We don’t have to (and won’t) love perfectly like Jesus, but we can still exude the nature of Christ’s love. Choosing to love and see others the way He does, being servant-hearted, showing kindness, and speaking truth while initiating grace wrapped in forgiveness. When it comes to mom friendships, while they may be hard to come by, if we start by being the kind of friend we want, we will find that God will bring forth the kind of friends we need!
What Makes a Good Mom Friend?
A good friend:
Supports you. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us that we are to encourage one another and build each other up. There is nothing quite like a supportive friend. They listen and understand. You can depend on them and know they will be on your side if you share your heart. They aim to encourage you and place your marriage and family first, recognizing that their friendship is to make you a better wife and mom. There is something special about a friend that truly celebrates your wins and hugs you tight amid your losses.
Is vulnerable. This is the key to any good friendship. Being vulnerable, while not easy, draws friends closer together, allowing each into the precious and messy parts of their lives. Opening up our hearts allows us to go deeper and seek more than just surface-level friendships. Playing our cards too close to our chest can cause friends to pull away, not feeling like they are connecting. James 5:16 tells us to share our struggles (sins), so we can pray for one another. A good friend will offer you their heart, along with their prayers.
Shows reciprocity. Healthy friendships are intentional, each investing the time, energy, and love to keep it going strong. This usually happens when both friends give and take. While offering and receiving help is okay, there must be a balance. Friendships require sacrifice by both people. A one-sided friendship can bring great damage to the hearts of both friends, as it leads to feelings of unappreciation and most likely a bitter end. But, when friends are equally yoked, both striving to serve the other, the real blessing of a friendship happens. It’s a beautiful thing. (1 Peter 4:8-10)
Puts comparisons aside. We are all on the same team; we must remember that. We are all doing the best we can, so recognize that motherhood is hard – for everyone. We are all facing our own battles. When we find those friends that we can be real around and let our guard down, we push comparisons aside and choose to see the best in one another. It allows us to each portray our beautiful attributes and gives us the means to complement one another, not compete with each other. A good friend will actually want to see you become a better version of yourself, cheering you on to do so. (Galatians 6:4)
Is honest and trustworthy. Being honest and trustworthy is the bedrock of any relationship. In a friendship, it is what keeps it together; it’s the glue. If we can’t be honest and authentic with our friends, then are we really connecting? If we can’t build trust and know that what we share will be kept in the confines of our friendship, will we be able to truly grow that friendship? A true friend takes notice of your blind spots, calls them out gently, and loves you regardless. They are there to sharpen you and hold you accountable while bringing your burdens to the Father, not sharing them with others. (Proverbs 17:17 and Galatians 6:2)
3 Mom Friends You Need (and Need to Be)
As you go through phases of motherhood, you will find you need a different kind of friends in different seasons of your life. Here are three types of friends you need to seek out, and you need to be for other moms.
1. A Mentor Mom. This is the mom full of wisdom, sharing it freely. She’s been through some experiences in this life and openly offers her heart in a way to encourage and love other moms. We all need these moms to learn from and shape us into the moms God calls us to be.
2. A Memory-Maker Mom. This is the mom that does life with you. She meets you at the coffee shop or playground and offers her understanding because she gets it. Making memories with this mom comes easily as you swap stories and share giggles.
3. A Meaningful Mom. This is the mom that is on a mission. She earnestly aims to pour out a service to a mom in need. New baby? She’s got a meal. Need of a hug? She’s there. This mom is available to help and longs to serve others.
Do you have these kinds of friends in your life? Better yet, are you being these kinds of a friend to others?
When it’s Time to Let Go
Friendships come with so many beautiful benefits, but unfortunately, we can sometimes come to a crossroads with a friend, and it becomes apparent that it may be best to part ways. We need to be aware of the signs of an unhealthy friendship and also be reminded that for everything, there is a season.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 states that “there is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the heavens.” Some friends come into our lives for a brief season and reason.
Signs it May Be Time to Let Go:
They don’t respect your time.
The friendship becomes one-sided.
You regularly find yourself excluded from activities.
They continually talk negatively about their family or yours.
They manipulate you to get what they want.
They ignore you around others.
The friendship doesn’t make you a better person.
You usually feel mentally or emotionally drained after being with them.
You feel uncomfortable around them.
Letting go of a friend can be one of the worst heartbreaks, so let the Holy Spirit take the lead and guide you. Just recognize that staying in a friendship that does nothing but bring you down isn’t good for anyone. It’s okay to tell that friend you need space and to allow God to do work in both of your hearts. The beautiful thing is that God is our healer, restorer, and can always mend a friendship if necessary.
Remember who you are as a daughter of Christ and that you are worthy of sweet friendships. Sweet friendships are designed by our precious Father to refresh our souls and awaken our hearts with joy. (Proverbs 27:9) That is such a beautiful verse to cling to when making mom friends. May God bring forth those precious friends to walk alongside you on this motherhood journey.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages
Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
Are you in the trenches with your toddlers or teens? Read Rhonda's full article here!