Recently I have noticed posts and articles in my feed asking for forgiveness from friends after you have a baby, or two. I’ve also seen appreciation articles for the friends that still reach out and still invite you even when you can’t muster the energy to accept. And I have seen folks come to the sad realization that some friendships won’t stand the test of time. Friendships are hard work after marriage and children and can often seem like yet another thing that needs your care and attention.
Friendships when you’re a mother takes on a whole new meaning. You may not live in the same place you grew up in, you or your partner may have moved for a new job or opportunity, and now more than ever having friends that can support your life as a mom are so important. Forget about when you live 100s, even 1000s of miles away!
How do you keep those friendships thriving?
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I sat down to ask a couple of my amazing long-distance friends, who are both amazing working mommies, how they have the uncanny ability to make me feel like I am just down the road. We’ve not only been friends as mothers but also through marriages, moves, job changes, and other major life events. With one in California and one in Illinois, I asked them to share their thoughts on why our friendship has gone the distance.
Rachel Montgomery: We’ve known each other for almost 15 years but have lived away from one another for most of it. Why do you think we’ve been able to make a long-distance friendship last?
AP: We always make a point to reach out periodically. We may speak every day for a week or not for 2 months. We both have busy lives, and we can appreciate that about each other. We send pics of the family and have made it non-negotiable that we see each other at least once a year.
RM: We’ve known each other since college but have lived away from one another since then. How have we made a long-distance friendship last?
NI: We don’t just have dreams about where and when we want to get together, we actually get together! I also try really hard to check in with friends. If I’m thinking about them, it’s important to let them know. I am better at texting vs. calling but also thanks to IG, I can keep tabs and still write to friends when I see updates about their lives.
RM: What traits do you value most in existing friendships and when making new ones?
AP: Honesty, being genuine, being able to have fun and be yourself.
NI: Feeling free to be ourselves, our truest selves. At this stage we need a judgement free zone. Friends who can love you for you. Don’t get me wrong, we offer advice and different perspectives, but we don’t judge each other. I definitely value laughter. Being able to laugh our heads is the best kind of therapy.
RM: It’s not easy to maintain friendships as our lives evolve, have you ever had to do some friendship Spring cleaning?
AP: LOL. Yes, I’ve done this over the past couple years. It’s always a little sad, but it also felt like a weight was lifted. Some friendships just run their course and others you may outgrow. I am grateful for the friends I have had throughout my life at different points in my life. But I also know the difference of those closest to me from kindergarten, college years, postgrad years, and then now into my mom life.
NI: Friends that I may have lost over the years have been mainly because I’ve failed at staying connected. I’m the WORST at talking on the phone. I’ve moved 9 times since I graduated college, chasing my dream of being a news anchor so I’ve been very fortunate to meet amazing people in every city. I appreciate them all so much and I wish they knew it. I’m much better at keeping friendships when I can see people in-person. That’s why I am always willing to meet up and travel to visit friends.
RM: What makes friendships at this stage in our lives “the best”.
NI: Friends who go way back. I am lucky enough to have friends who know things about me that even my husband doesn’t. We have been friends for decades so we share memories that no one can. We also have been there for each other as we go through the good and bad. Friendships you’ve invested in are extra special because I get to say, “I knew her when…”
AP: Every time we spend time together it’s just like the old days. We sometimes need the reminder we weren’t always someone’s mom. For you and I, we’ve both have done a great job making our friendship not only last but grow from hundreds of miles away.
RM: What advice would you give women to ensure friendships, new and old, stand the test of time?
NI: My best advice would be to reach out. Even if it’s been months or years, if you’re thinking about someone… just let them know. A simple text, card, call, or IG message might rekindle a long-lost bond. When you have really good friends, it’s so easy to pick up where you left off.
AP: Always be open and honest. You may have good times and bad, but the best of friends will stand the test of time or distance. Shoot a text or an email just to say hi or drop a note in the mail. We all get caught up in so much everyday life between jobs, kids, social media, etc. it’s easy to let things slip away. It’s all in the effort you expect and reciprocate.