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10 Things About Friendship Only Young Moms Would Understand

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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          Published on May 18, 2021

          How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

          How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

          We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

          The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

          Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

          Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

          Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

          There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

          Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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          Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

          We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

          Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

          A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

          The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

          Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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          Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

          Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

          Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

          While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

          Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

          These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

          Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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          Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

          Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

          Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

          Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

          Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

          Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

          As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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          This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

          Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

          Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

          These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

          Actions Speak Louder Than Words

          Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

          Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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          Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

          More Tips Improving Listening Skills

          Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

          Reference

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