My kids started at a new school last year and I was terrified of making friends. I’m loud, I cuss a lot, my kids have issues that make it hard to just get up and go places. So obviously I was very reserved and guarded. I assumed I’d be friendless forever. I was very wrong. Instead, I found my tribe. But, I was still guarded. I had thought I’d found my mom friends once before, and well, that didn’t turn out so well.
But we were friends…
I found a soul sister friend at our previous school–or at least that is what I thought. We spent time together often, and shared our souls with each other. I adored her and her kids and thought it was a mutual feeling. One day I went to send her a Facebook message and was shocked to find out she had unfriended me. No warning, no fight, just gone. It hurt me then and it still hurts me now. I don’t make friends easily and I don’t open up to people easily. I’m the type that will totally overshare information, yet I don’t allow people into my heart. Using the word friend isn’t something I do lightly.
Being a friend in today’s world seems to be that as long as your kids are in the same class or you serve on a committee together, you’re friends. Once the school year ends, so does the friendship. To me, that isn’t acceptable. That isn’t how I want friendships to be. I crave connection and genuineness. The idea of these temporary mom friends is a huge struggle for me. I feel like I cant connect with anyone because in a few months, we wont be speaking. Why are mom friendships like this?! Why cant we be friends for years?
BFF vs Friend vs Classmate’s Mom
I realize there are levels of friendships and we aren’t all BFFs or BFF4EVAs. Some friends are merely women with kids in my kids class and we chat at pick up or drop off. Some are friends of friends or ones we aren’t close with, but still hang out together because we have similar aged kids, activities, committees, or sports. There are even times when we adults don’t like each other, but our kids like each other and we are forced to hang out.
We all tell our kids “not everyone likes you and that’s okay” and I totally agree! But when you thought you had found a friend, and then they vanish, it hurts. And to then see them in public after the ‘unfriending’ is like a teen breakup. “Oh my gosh. There she is! Don’t make eye contact! Man, she has lost weight. Oh! I hope she’s not sick! She looks tired. Good! Hope she’s losing sleep! Teach her to unfriend me! Darn it-am I wearing mismatched shoes? Oh I hope she doesn’t see me!”
Is it because of Social Media?
Is social media to blame? I mean, I have over 800 Facebook “friends” and while I know most of them personally, there are admittedly ones I haven’t met in person. And a few that I know but aren’t friends with in real life. Is this why we can’t have real friendships? I grew up being told to treat others how I wanted to be treated. Which, I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t do until I was well into adulthood.
Many times–many more than I care to admit–I have been a bad friend; I have taken more than I have given, I have been unforgiving, selfish and an overall jerk. Learning and growing from that was hard but very needed and I owe those women an apology. Without an explanation, I was the one to unfriend them and walk away. I know I wasn’t being a good friend then, so I’m not sure they cared much, but, again, this begs the question, is social media to blame for making it so easy to walk away and end friendships?
There no longer has to be an uncomfortable conversation about what we need from our friends or what our boundaries are. Nothing. All it takes is a click on “add friend.” We don’t even have to search for friends anymore. Social media does the work for us. And sometimes it’s not an all too pleasant reminder of the past. Have you ever looked at Facebook’s “people you may know” section? It’s full of people we do know and many we used to already be friends with.
We need to do better
I know I’m not alone in this. I know there are other moms out there who also thought they found their tribe, only to be unfriended unexpectedly. Yes, it took me awhile to stop being a bad friend and learn from my lessons. And when I did, I realized we need to do better for ourselves and for our children. What kind of example are we setting for our kids if we are cycling through mom friends every school year?
Friendships should build you up. They should be a shoulder to cry on, the sounding board for all of your crazy ideas, and that middle of the week excuse to pour a glass of wine and unwind. As moms, we need this. We need friendships that will last more than the school year. We need mom friends who understand whatever “season of life” we are in and are willing to stick around through it all.
If you have found your tribe of mom friends, don’t take it for granted. Celebrate your friends and cherish them. And if you haven’t found them yet, that’s okay too. I’ve been there. I may be there again. But I’m really hoping this time around, I’ve found a friendship that will last past May.
Where did you meet your tribe of lasting mom friends? Tell us in the comments below!