Why Moms Need Friends

One of the first things that is traded in upon earning a mommy badge is yourself. Your body changes, your priorities shift, and your time management system has an entirely new category that trumps all others. Although a major part of you will be forever changed, and a new identity discovered, you’ll also quickly realize how important it is to hold onto the friendships that mean so much. 


HEALTH BENEFITS

Friendships have actually been proven to increase one’s lifespan. In a study that followed 1,500 elderly people for 10 years, it was found that those with a large group of friends were 22% less likely to die during that decade. The reality is that friends are with you for more than just the happy times. True friendship means supporting one another through thick and thin, which includes the rough patches of life as well. That support goes a long way in increasing one’s purpose and sense of belonging.

Other health benefits to having meaningful friendships include

  • Higher pain tolerances (due to higher levels of endorphins thanks to social interaction)
  • Higher rate of survival when it comes to fighting cancer and responding to chemotherapy
  • Lower rate of developing dementia
  • Lower rates of coronary artery disease, hypertension, and diabetes
What if you’re an introvert who doesn’t like a large social scene? THAT’S OKAY! You are only at a greater risk of health problems if you feel lonely. For those that don’t have a big network of friends, but at their own choosing, lack of friendships will not impact their health and happiness.

MOM FRIENDS ARE THE BEST OF FRIENDS

Moms get it. They get the sleepless nights. They get the picky eaters. They get the 35 minutes it takes between the request to put shoes on and the shoes actually being put on. They get the whining, the fighting, the sticky chair backs, the spaghetti hair, and the need for tagless shirts. Moms get it. They get it all so well that mom friends are even able to read your mood and respond appropriately to your vent sessions. They know whether to reply with advice, empathy, or by showing up at your door with cupcakes.

No judgement. Because fellow moms are currently living in the trenches of dirty diapers, bath haters, and toddler tantrums, they know that your decisions are the best that you can make for the tiny human in your life. Because they’ve been there and done that, they are there to sympathize and share a glass of vino long before they toss out advice and give you the eyebrow of judgement.


FRIENDSHIP DATES BACK TO CAVE{WO}MAN DAYS

As human beings, we are social beasts. That means we have evolved in groups, and remain stronger when surrounded by groups today. We crave interaction, enjoy socialization, and have a more positive outlook on life when we feel supported. According to WebMD, people with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Throw that out as a fact the next time your hubby is giving you a hard time about going on a Mom’s Night Out.

What if you move to a new area or don’t have established friends? Motherhood is a great connector, as there are many ways to meet the best of friends through your children. You can shop for new mommy friends through Amma, faith communities, co-workers, early childhood classes, PTA, the gym, volunteering at local organizations, or kids’ sporting events.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY


Moms feel more confident when they know they have the support and love of their friends. This confidence leads to a healthier self-esteem, confidence in all areas of life, and overall happier vibe. Instead of spreading your friendship wings to include several acquaintances, studies show that limiting yourself to a few true, blue, stuck-like-glue friendships may be the way to go. Dig deep into the relationships you have and continue investing in them. Although maintaining friendships takes calculated planning and effort on all sides, the reward in the end is well worth it.

An evolutionary anthropologist by the name of Robin Dunbar has a made a name for himself researching how social relationships affect your brain size. Using his specific formula, he concluded that each person is only capable of having 150 people into our social circles, with each varying in level of closeness. For more information, watch the TED talk from Robin Dunbar himself.

PLAN A MOM DATE


How often should moms get together? As fun as it would be to have mom time all the time, it isn’t necessary to plan get togethers daily. In fact, as the absence makes the heart grow fonder mantra goes, so too does the feeling of excitement about events that don’t happen consistently. Whether you schedule your friend time weekly, monthly, or on an infrequent but meaningful basis, know that spending time with friends is leading to a healthier and happier life. 
Fun mom dates can include coffee shop stops, shopping sprees, girls’ weekend get-aways, winery tours, attending a sporting event or concert together, movie dates, spin class, or even hosting a play date where the kids can entertain each other while you catch up. What do you love doing with your mom friends? Write and let us know your favorite way to spend time with your favorite friends.

For more on our “Why Moms Need…” series, check out Why Moms Need Coffee, Why Moms Need Sleep, Why Moms Need to Drink Wine, Why Moms Need to Dance, Why Moms Need Exercise, and Why Parents Need a Hobby. You aren’t going to want to miss a single post in this series!

Photo credits:April Walker, Elena Ollick, Kristen Douglas

Sources: Friendships Enrich Your Life and Improve Your Health, 7 Ways Friendships Are Great For Your Health, Good Friends Are Good For You, How Many Friends Do You Need, Social Science: The Health Benefits of Friendship, Science Says You Can Really Only Have 5 Close Friends At a Time

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April Walker

April is a proud Iowan, who now lives in Minnesota with her hubby and their three cherubs. After nearly a decade teaching, she is on a break from the classroom and enjoying life as a work-from-home Mom. You can find her writing on Scary Mommy, and her blog, Mojitos and Munchkins, that she uses as a creative outlet to escape the craziness that comes with life. She loves movies, cocktails, the color purple, homemade spaghetti sauce, day dates and sunny afternoons. She thinks the world would be a better place without temper tantrums, soup, the color navy, temperatures that dip below 20 degrees, and the distance between people she loves. Her insomnia allows her to pin things that she may (or may not ever) try. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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