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10 Things About Friendship Only Young Moms Would Understand

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10 Things About Friendship Only Young Moms Would Understand

Being a part of a group or just having a few chosen people close to us at all times is how we humans are wired to function. We’re social creatures, and we need to be loved, respected and understood. When we are young it is our oldest and closest friends who become part of our little tribe, and nothing in the world is more important than the bond we share. However, with time we grown, mature and some of our priorities change.

I know of a fiery and fun-loving young woman who suddenly had to deal with the fact that she now had a little tribe of her own when we got married and had our beautiful little daughter. It was a tough time, and she needed a while to adjust, but she learned so much from the experience, and taught me a thing or two about friendship that I never knew. I’d like to share some of these little gems of wisdom that I am sure all the young moms out there will find all too familiar.

1. Overcoming new obstacles helps you see a whole other side of friend you never knew about

Two friends

    Measuring your friendship in years is not a very precise way of doing things, and it’s only when both you and your friends make major lifestyle changes and face new challenges that you come to understand this. Once you stop going out as much with your close friends, the little time you spend together will become precious, and you will focus only on what is truly important. Even though you may not tell them enough how much they mean to you, your friends will still keep surprising you with little things, like offering to babysit so that you and your partner can go out, and a lot of them may actually realize that they are very good with kids, even though they didn’t think they would be.

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    2. Making new friends can be terribly awkward, but kind of fun when you are a mom

    Let’s face it, when your kids are still very small you end up bringing them along with you wherever you go. You become a team, and it’s difficult to find other moms who are interesting and have plenty in common with you. Once you do find suitable candidates, all you do is talk about poop, breastfeeding and all the cute noises your babies make. Once your kids get older, you may find that even though the mom is great, your little one might not be getting along well with the other kid, at which point it’s back to the drawing board.

    3. You will pick up all kinds of new skills while trying to stay in touch with the people you love

    Who would have thought that merely trying to keep in touch with your friends would require MacGyver levels of craftiness and ingenuity? When you are juggling kids, a job, all kinds of obligations and trying to find the time to talk to your friends you tend to become pretty good at a number of things. For one you learn exactly how many minutes there are in a day, and how you can fit in all your chores and plans into the little time you have, in the most effective manner. My wife learned to type incredibly fast, started using several social media platforms, become quite good at Photoshop and mastered the art of scheduling – all within the first couple of years after she gave birth to our daughter.

    4. Sometimes you just need a good friend to be in the same room with you

    Young woman wiht laptop

      There’s nothing worse than sitting around the house and feeling lonely. In those quiet moments when our daughter was sleeping or just playing around, and I was at work, my wife often a bit bored and lonely. Now, we did have at least one or two conversations over the phone during the day, but she would often just call one of her friends on Skype and they would both just quietly do whatever chores they needed to do or even watch a TV show together, with very few words being spoken. Just knowing that her friend was there made all the difference in the world, and that just goes to show you what a strong connection we can develop with another human being.

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      5. Your old friends will know who you are and how you feel even when you make big changes

      You know all those little details that we share with others as we become closer? All those stories from our past, situations that influenced our development, movies and books that inspired and moved us, people that made us hate and cry and those that motivated us and made us happy – while the new friends who we spend a lot of time together might know them, and our bond with them is stronger for having shared them, our old friends were there for it all, and in a number of cases they were the ones who had an effect on who we became as a person. That’s why you get each other even after months or years of being apart, and it’s the reason why you miss them so much.

      6. You’ll find great friends and allies in unexpected places

      Although a new mom won’t be able to see her friends as often as she’d like to after having a child, this big and relatively sudden lifestyle change does open some new doors. Chances are that you will be spending a lot more time with close family and your in-laws, which means that you’ll have to find a way to get along with your partners family. There is often a bit of hostility, particularly between a young mom and her sister-in-law, who can be tough to persuade that you are good enough for her brother, but if you are able to handle the situation effectively you will gain a very good friend. There are many cases where sisters-in-law actually jump to each other’s aid, and if they both have kids they can become incredibly close. This new found friendship helps relieve some of that nostalgia a young mom feels.

      7. You need to be creative and flexible if you want a decent social life

      Young woman cooking

        Now, don’t think that you have to kiss your social life goodbye once you give birth, but you will have to be very creative if you want to spend some fun time with your friends. There are several things that usually work:

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        • Having family members babysit form time to time
        • Having people over at your place for dinner and drinks
        • Arranging play dates with other parents

        A common problem that a young mom faces is the fact that her finances take a big hit. The few hundred bucks that went towards funding fancy dinners and parties each month suddenly have to be diverted towards your child’s college fund or used to buy clothes and school equipment. However, with some creativity and careful planning, you’ll be able to host a dinner on a tight budget or find fun low-cost activities that you can do with your friends.

        8. True friends are ready to put up with a lot of little things because they love you

        Everyone is fully aware of the fact that looking at baby pictures and talking about baby stuff for a couple of hours isn’t anyone’s idea of fun Saturday afternoon, but new mothers simply can’t help themselves. However, you’d be amazed at how willing your good friends are to put up with all the boring baby talk, and even some of those nasty mood swings you experience during pregnancy. You’re single friends will also suddenly tone down their talk of parties, so as not to make you feel bad. You’ll still ask them to tell you all about their crazy single life exploits, but you’ll love them to death for being so considerate and supportive.

        9. It’s not about how often you see someone or how many times you blow them off

        It is quite natural for people to get a little bit mad when others don’t have enough time to hang out with them or when dates get moved time and time again, but it’s refreshing to see that this type of thing doesn’t really affect good friends. The people that are very close to you will understand that you barely have enough time to shower and get some sleep most days, and that all it takes is a weird sounding cough for you to bail out on a girl’s night out, and they are fine with it. When you finally do get a chance to sit down, all is forgotten and you can just carry on from where you left off.

        10. The occasional break from your friends keeps your friendship fresh and exiting

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        Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/209804

          There will be times when you miss the old days so much that you will want nothing more than to shed a few tears, but becoming somewhat of a hermit gives you a whole new perspective on friendship. I remember how my wife used to spend a lot of time with a couple of her close friends just sitting around watching TV shows and drinking coffee, way before we were married.

          They were close, and they appreciated each other’s company, but at times they were glad when I’d show up with a friend of mine, as it gave them something new to talk about and something fun to do. Their conversations are ten times livelier now than they were back in those days, and they often plan out a whole day of fun activities when they meet up. This is because both experience a ton of new stuff while they are apart, and even though they phone and text, the really exiting conversations always take place when they are face to face.

          You can never know all there is to know on a particular topic, and friendship can be more complex than any most things in life. There are a whole lot of details that you never learn until you become a mom, and you still have a bunch of young single friends who aren’t yet ready to make the jump and start a family of their own. It is a somewhat difficult, yet uniquely rewarding experience, and you will definitely be wiser for it.

          Featured photo credit: Ojas’s Second Official Shoot/Harsha K R via flickr.com

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          More by this author

          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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          Last Updated on July 20, 2021

          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

          You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

          Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

          Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

          Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

          1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

          According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

          “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

          Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

          Warming up

          If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

          If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

          Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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          1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
          2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
          3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

          Stay hydrated

          Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

          To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

          Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

          Meditate

          Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

          Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

          Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

          Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

          2. Focus on your goal

          One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

          Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

          Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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          Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

          If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

          3. Convert negativity to positivity

          There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

          ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

          It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

          Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

          Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

          Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

          4. Understand your content

          Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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          However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

          “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

          Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

          Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

          One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

          5. Practice makes perfect

          Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

          In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

          Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

          6. Be authentic

          There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

          Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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          Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

          To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

          With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

          Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

          7. Post speech evaluation

          Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

          Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

          We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

          You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

          Improve your next speech

          As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

          Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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          • How did I do?
          • Are there any areas for improvement?
          • Did I sound or look stressed?
          • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
          • Was I saying “um” too often?
          • How was the flow of the speech?

          Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

          If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

          Reference

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