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7 Tips On How To Be A Low Maintenance Mommy Friend

7 Tips On How To Be A Low Maintenance Mommy Friend

In high school and even during college I had some friendships that could be considered high maintenance. Circumstances were different before getting married and having kids. During those earlier phases of life you can certainly bend yourself to allow more quirks and bumps in the road of friendship, especially as you are all figuring out how this friendship thing works.

Now that I am a Mom of three young kids. I have less time for friendships. However, this is a time in life when friends are especially needed. Moms need to have a shoulder or two to lean on when feeling insane, someone to meet up with when you need a few hours without kids, and someone other than a spouse to share life’s challenges and joy.

In order to have healthy friendships that are worth the time and effort, yet don’t cause more work and headaches in life you require low maintenance friendships. Experience has helped me weed out the high maintenance friendships that I have had over the years. At this point I naturally gravitate towards friendships that are low maintenance. It doesn’t mean that they are any less valued. Actually it is quite the contrary. Low maintenance friendships lend themselves to more kindness, openness, and sincerity in the relationship because there isn’t drama, gossip, high expectations, and other things to get in the way.

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Below are my top 7 tips on how to be a low maintenance mommy friend and they are as follows:

1. No Drama

The jealousy among women need to stop if they want to remain friends. We all have different talents and abilities, our kids are all different, and we all have different life experiences. You can’t compare yourself to others. So, if your mom friends act less than perfect, let it go. If their life seems better than yours it’s because probably you don’t know their entire life story and all the details of their life. Let it go. Just be you. Just worry about yourself. Don’t act or react to your negative thoughts and feelings, especially as they relate to others.

Drama usually rears its ugly head in the form of words, so use your words wisely. If there isn’t an upside to something to a friend, then you probably don’t need to say it. If what you are going to say is intended to get a friend’s emotions running high, then you may need to analyze your heart and the intentions behind what you want to say.

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2. No Gossip

The truth about gossip is that it is hurtful. Another truth about gossip that is important to recognize is that if a friend is gossiping about all their other friends, then they are more than likely gossiping about you when they are with their other friends. To be a good friend don’t gossip about your friends. Don’t even gossip about others who aren’t your friends. Change the subject when gossip occurs or find a way to leave the situation. Staying and listening to gossip is just as bad.

3. Time is of No Matter

The best kind of friendship for a mom is one where you can see each other after weeks or months of not seeing one another and you can pick up right where you left off, as though you saw each other the previous day. There may or may not be texts between seeing one another, but it is not taken personally, because fellow moms know that sometimes life gets crazy and hectic and everything besides keeping your family afloat can go by the wayside. This also means that you don’t give your friends a hard time, if they don’t immediately return your calls, texts, or emails. When they eventually get around to it, as life and time allows, that is good enough for you because you are an understanding friend.

4. Low Expectations

Keep low expectations of your fellow mommy friends. Nobody is owed anything by being a friend. It was nice when back in high school and college days meant all your friends around you helped you celebrate your birthday. That sometimes happens with mommy friends, but not always. Some days it is hard enough to remember the birthdays of your own kids. What it boils down to is that nobody owes you for being their friend. If they do nice things for you, like order you a cup of coffee, send you a nice note, or offer to watch your kids, then thank that friend! Extra gestures of kindness are not required in mommy friendships. However, they do make the relationships sweeter. Expecting these acts of kindness from friends will leave you disappointed in your mommy friendships. Try to do the nice things for your friends when you can, but do so without expectations of getting anything in return. That is what true friendship is based on.

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Expectations in your friendships will only lead to disappointment and then resentment. Don’t set yourself up for these negative emotions. Understand that your fellow mom friends are extremely busy and often overwhelmed. Their spouse and children come first, so sometimes friendships don’t get the love and attention we all want to give and receive.

5. Allow for Personality Quirks

Everyone has personality quirks, including you. If you want others to accept you, with your quirks and all, then you need to be accepting of the quirks that others possess. For example, we all have friends that run late. Don’t give them a hard time about it every time they are late. Instead, bring a book along and enjoy the extra time cathing up on your reading. Allow your friends to be human. They are flawed, as we all are flawed. Don’t hold their flaws against them in your friendship.

6. Don’t Criticize- Instead Encourage

Don’t be the critical mommy or the mommy who gives all the advice (you just come off as being a criticizer of those who don’t do things the way you are doing them). Words are powerful, so use them wisely. Look for the positive in your friends and tell them the good things you see in them. Be a positive force in their life. People like to be around others who are positive. Negativity is draining. If you are around friends that are mostly negative, you are going to feel depleted and drained after being around them. Set the example of positivity by looking for the good in others and situations. It doesn’t mean you need to be a Polly-Anna. It just means that focusing on real, positive aspects of life helps others around you see the positive as well.

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7. Allow for Differences

Thomas Jefferson said “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend”. He was a wise man. Everyone has different views in life. If we were all the same we would be robots and life would be boring. Allow your friends to be who they are in life. Embrace the difference, because it makes life interesting.

Don’t hold your friends differing opinions against them. We are all entitled to our opinions. Allow your friends to express their views around you without criticizing them, reacting harshly, or discrediting their opinions. If you put your friends down for their differing views, religious preferences, etc., then you are probably going to lose them. Be thankful that your friends express their views around you. It means they are comfortable around you in sharing this side of themselves.

Gratitude: If you are a mom with awesome mommy friends then consider yourself blessed. Tell your friends that you appreciate them. Good friendship is a true gift.

More by this author

Dr. Magdalena Battles

A Doctor of Psychology with specialties include children, family relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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