After five years of figuring out this parenting thing, only now, have I found some effective ways of fitting in friendships as a working mom.
I know, I know – we all have a hard time being told by (or being the one telling) our besties, “Girl, I’m busy. Sorry.” But what can we do? We ARE. We’re moms. Some of us work full time, some of us are full time stay-at-home mamas – some with one busy kiddo, and some with a brood of eight (yes, I have friends with 8 children – kudos!), and others like me – who stay home with the kiddos, while working from home.
Because… Mama’s. Gotta. Werk.
Before transitioning into a work-at-home situation, I balanced being a new mom with a full time job. I also carried multiple jobs while breast feeding a newborn in between gigs. It was quite simply, crazy town. Sure, in contrast, working from home appears to be a walk in the park. But don’t be fooled. Being a work-at-home parent is no easy feat. Somehow, we have to get the stay-at-home job under control, while being our little ones’ number one playmate, keeping the house clean, maintaining order in the family’s life, all while meeting work deadlines – guilt free. Yes. The guilt factor is a big one. I often leave business for preschool hours, or after Little Mama is in bed. But what about date nights with the hubs? Or good old fashioned reading time? What about sleep? Wait. Sleep? What the heck is that?
But the hardest part of the balancing act, what seems to suffer the most (next to sleep that is…), is social contact. As a mom of a very busy, and incredibly active Little Mama, I have found that my biggest challenge is fitting in friendships as a working mom, and keeping these wonderful friendships alive. But the good news is, I’ve found that there are a few ways to make it work, balancing a healthy home life, work life, and social life. Because we all know, how can we possibly do all of this, without the support of our fellow mamas?
#5faves :: My 5 fave Ways of Fitting in Friendships as a Working Mom
1:: KEEPING THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN
We are so fortunate, this day and age, to have such easy access to one another. I have friends near and far that I have close communication with on a daily basis, thanks to smartphones and social media. Of course, we’re not always tied to our cell phones at all times of the day. However, we certainly have opportunities throughout the week where we are able to squeeze in a response, a quick hello, or even a silly “poke” to show our loved ones that they are in our thoughts. Certainly, there is a lot of pressure to respond to messages, texts, and emails, and a true friend will understand that we can’t always respond instantaneously. On the flip side, it may take some time, but a loving friend will do all they can to eventually respond in a meaningful way.
Feeling overwhelmed with how many friends want a piece of you? Then, it’s time to make some changes. Have you ever had a friendship that felt like you had to put in so much effort to get a response? You ask the questions, you give well thought out answers, only to get a simple yes or no. Hello, red flag alert! It’s time to do a little spring clean up with your friendship roster. Weed out the friendships that no longer bring joy to your life, and keep the lines of communication open with those who truly matter. Because at the end of the day, it’s quality, over quantity.
2:: ALLOT TIME FOR ONE ANOTHER
Many of my mom friends have more than one child, and between juggling multiple activities, drop offs, home management – there really is no time to commit to a social life. However, when I truly want to maintain a relationship with a friend – and like any relationship, time spent is important. How do we maneuver around an already packed day? Think about a quick cup of coffee mid-day while our little one is at preschool. Or a breakfast at a kid’s cafe where they can play while the mamas catch up. Or a girl’s night out while our spouses hold down the fort at home. I know we’re exhausted by the end of a work/home week. But finding a nice meeting place doing some of our fave things, makes fitting in friendships as a working mom, something that is both doable, and enjoyable. Meeting up with friends shouldn’t have to be a chore. There’s ways around even the most rigid of schedules to make it work – if you want it to.
If you’re a work-at-home mama like me, I’m sure you look forward to being able to sit down and finally getting to work – especially when those precious moments are few and far between. Make plans with your fellow work-at-home moms to sit down at the local coffee shop, or even in the kitchen while the kids play – and actually DO WORK. If you know you’ll be tempted to talk, allot some gab time at the beginning of your work sesh, or promise each other a solid 20 minutes of playing catch up every hour of uninterrupted work time. You’d be surprised at how much work you get done when you plan a work date with intention, and with the right work partner.
All work and no play? No worries – don’t just idly talk about it, start making solid plans for a much deserved mama’s night out with your fave ladies. Put your phone in your purse with the ringer on (obvi, we can’t completely shut out the home life for precautionary reasons, but keep the phone off the table so your focus is on fab conversation, and not waiting for hubby to call asking where the kiddie floss is! Remember, he’s the parent too – he can figure it out). Relish in the fact that you can order your own food and actually eat it while it’s still warm, as you enjoy enlightening adult conversation and banter. And of course, the mama-night-out selfie is an absolute must.
3:: ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR PRESENCE
In this world of social media and online conversations, it is so much easier to see what’s going on in a shorter amount of time. Life has been made more convenient as far as sending out messages and getting responses. Facebook is a great example. When someone we care about posts something that’s important to them, why not support it, or at the very least, interact? There is a reason why we continually update our status. We want to start a conversation. Whether it’s sharing something hilarious our little ones said this morning, or a great photo of a beautiful landscape, a cry for help during a moment of sadness, or celebrating amazing news. Even those silly cat videos – I post them because it makes me smile, and I’m hoping it does the same for my friends. It feels great to know that what we’re expressing out in the interwebs, is interesting enough to keep the conversation going with our friends on and off line.
Let’s face it, there is online etiquette we have to consider. If you’re a person who posts updates on any given social platform every hour, and chooses not to give love out, how is that okay? If you’re receiving love, isn’t it fair to give a little too? Keep the conversation going. Ask open ended questions. Let them feel like you want to know what’s going on in their lives.
Are you more of an offline friend? Even better. The good old fashioned way of letting our best buds know how important they are to us, does wonders in acknowledging their presence in our lives. Send them a card, or get your Little Mama to drop off a pretty plant accompanied with a hug. Because at the end of the day, who doesn’t like a thoughtful delivery right at their doorstep? Especially from a monkey much like this…
Taking it a step further, you know that new maple sugar crust you’ve been dying to try on your next apple-inspired creation? The one you want to make, but don’t want to eat up all yourself? Simple solution: Drop it off at your buddy’s house on your Facebook friendversary. My soul sister did just that today, and I felt like I just won the friendship lottery. It wasn’t only painfully delicious, it was downright thoughtful.
4:: MAKE TIME TOGETHER WORK HAND-IN-HAND WITH YOUR ‘BUSY’ LIFE
This particular year I went a little activity-crazed with Little Mama. Since we live in a smaller area, I try to plan out some activities to be scheduled at the same time and location as some of my friends’ kids. Whether it’s scheduling a martial arts class on the same Thursday as one of our little friends whose mom would love the company, or finding a dance class in one of your dear friends’ neighbourhood so spontaneous meet ups are more likely – it is quite simply, methodical forward planning. (I know that was a run-on sentence, but I’m trying to make a strong point…) <insert disapproving grammar police icon here>. This intentional planning and scheduling allows the little ones to get their activities in, while the mamas squeeze in a few minutes of face time. How cool is that??
What about the madness of running errands? Pick your bud up, strap the kiddos in, and run those errands together. Nothing beats checking off those items on your never-ending lists while holding intense conversations with an equally frazzled gal pal. Go team, go!
As a blogger, I often take business trips that I know some of my fellow blogger mama friends are planning to go on as well. Go together. Room up. Sit together and catch up during breaks. Some of my greatest memories have been made during these rendezvous trips with a fellow working mom.
5:: SPONTANEOUS PLAYDATES
Often, my busy schedule has unplanned gaps. Either an appointment ends early, a conference call gets postponed, or a ballet class is cancelled. What to do? I could use that time for me, to spend more time with my Little Mama, or take this opportunity to squeeze in spontaneous play with a few of our friends. Sometimes, quality time spent together doesn’t always mean fancy dinners, or meticulously planned outings. A quick call to tell our buddies that we have 45 minutes to play at the nearby park, can make all the difference in fitting in friendships for a working mom. Even though these moments are few and far between, they still work. And a little spontaneity can’t hurt anyone. Like any relationship, opting for a less rigid plan can do wonders for two people who just want to spend more time together.
Besides, nothing beats that look on our little ones’ faces when they’re surprised by a last minute playdate.
Planning an outing with your 5 year old anyway, to learn about history at the local museum? Invite a fellow friend to explore with you. After all, learning together and being able to bounce ideas off one another – is the best kind of learning out there.
**Bonus fave:: GROUP THEM TOGETHER
In the last couple years, I’ve learned that not everyone in my life share the same interests, goals, and priorities. That’s okay. I have also learned to categorize friendships, taking away any pressure on one particular friend (moreover, Big Daddy). I also have fellow loss mom friends who understand my grief without me having to explain myself. They are also the same friends I just want to let loose with, since those wonderful, lighthearted moments don’t happen as often as I would like.
Then there are those friends who I share my everyday mom struggles with.
Or fellow working friends who I sneak away with after the kidlets go to bed for inspiring, creative brainstorming sessions.
And sometimes, I’m fortunate enough to have friends that are also maintaining relationships with each another. Group these meet ups together rather than spreading yourself thin throughout the week! They always say, the more the merrier – and there’s a lot of truth to that. Consolidating playdates and meets-ups allow fitting in friendships for a working mom to be plausible, simple and enjoyable.
Be sure to visit our fabulous co-host of #5faves at The Koala Mom for her list of #5faves this week!
We would love to hear some of YOUR five favorite things too. Link up below!
We’re never too busy for our fave friends!
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