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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

          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 November 19, 2020

          The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

          The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

          It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

          Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

          What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

          However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

          1. Value Your Time

          Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

          Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

          2. Know Your Priorities

          Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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          For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

          However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

          You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

          3. Practice Saying No

          Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

          Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

          4. Don’t Apologize

          A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

          When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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          5. Stop Being Nice

          Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

          Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

          6. Say No to Your Boss

          Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

          In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

          7. Pre-Empting

          It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

          “Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

          This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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          8. Get Back to You

          Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

          “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

          At least you gave it some consideration.

          9. Maybe Later

          If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

          “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

          Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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          Saying no the healthy way

            10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

            This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

            Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

            The Bottom Line

            Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

            Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

            More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

            Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

            Reference

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