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.
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.
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.
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.
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.