Sisterhood Of The Traveling Yoga Pants

Do you ever find yourself at the local park scoping out the moms like you’re desperate and single again? If so, don’t worry that you are going all Fatal Attraction and check yourself into a support group. New motherhood is a time of great wonder, but also great stress, and women thrive on friendships and the validation of close friends.

Mom friends with strollers

Why You Need a Playdate Too

Don't worry. You aren't cheating on your old friends. But if your bestie doesn't have kids of her own, she simply can't relate when you tell her that you almost strangled your husband with a Bob the Builder tool belt this morning because he casually asked you why there were so many toys on the floor.

Patricia O'Brien and Ellen Goodman, authors of I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women's Lives (Simon & Shuster, 2000), acknowledge the very female need to be understood and validated in our daily lives. "Without intimates, without the people who 'get us,' life would be unbearably lonely."

Friendships Keep Us Healthy

Many studies have shown that human health is directly tied to relationship success. If we feel satisfied and happy in our relationships, we are less likely to fall ill or suffer from chronic diseases. Carl Charnetski, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and co-author of Feeling Good Is Good for You: How Pleasure Can Boost Your Immune System and Lengthen Your Life (Rodale, 2001), says, "Chronic loneliness, experienced by millions, can actually be a health risk. The absence of friends is associated with higher instances of illness and a great likelihood for death. However, loving and living within a social network of friends and family improves your health and your chances of recovering from illness."

Forging a New Identity

The first few months of motherhood can be very lonely. Despite the amazing joy that your new baby brings, you may feel like you've fallen into a black hole while your former identity disappears into a pile of unwashed laundry and dirty burp cloths.

Although I was completely enraptured by my precious newborn, I simultaneously found myself feeling isolated as I spent my days making deeper and deeper butt-impressions on the couch while communicating solely with someone whose linguistic triumphs included burping and blowing spit bubbles.

Overcome Your Fears and Make New Friends

Fortunately, I was not afraid to stalk other moms at the local play areas and soon enough I was surrounded by a group of women who not only understood exactly what I was going through, but were living it themselves. Play dates became my saving grace. Not because my cross-eyed and drooling three-month-old really needed a friend, but because I needed one.

>>Where do you start? Check out Playdates for parents: Why a support network is vital, and where to find one.

So, if you are a new mom and find yourself struggling with loneliness, don't be afraid to pull a Fatal Attraction on that cute mom you spotted across the playground, who just so happens to be wearing the very same yoga pants as you. If she doesn't call the cops on you, you might find yourself wearing matching BFF bracelets and showing each other your stretch marks before the afternoon is over.

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Comments on "Why all moms need good mom friends"

London City Mum January 08, 2011 | 8:08 AM

Mom? Oh, is THAT what these small people are calling me? Right, okay... *scratches head* LCM x

Very Bored in Catalunya January 05, 2011 | 6:39 AM

Sadly all my Mummy friends are online, but they have been invaluable and I have got to meet a few of them in the flesh on my visits back home.

Ariella Papa January 04, 2011 | 1:36 PM

These relationships are so important to helping raise children. Sometimes you have to get to know someone beyond the character they convey. Having mom friends inspired my book, Momfriends which celebrates this.

Steve January 04, 2011 | 5:04 AM

Hope all this applies to dads too!

Heather January 04, 2011 | 12:41 AM

I wish I had read this 4 years ago when my first was born. Great article!

alexandra January 03, 2011 | 9:28 PM

Aaargh...this is the 3rd time I'm leaving a comment. I keep coming back to check, and it's not here. Excellent article. I wish I knew why it seems that some people like me in real life, and some don't. I wish I knew how I came off, to know why they don't want be know me more. All of us are blind to how we are in real life...that part? I'd like to know.

Mama P January 03, 2011 | 6:52 PM

I really enjoyed reading this article, it really hit home for me, especially right now, I have been struggling lately with some PPD, and one of the reasons, so I believe is the fact that I have no outside life besides my children. I don't go out, I don't have friends to meet up with, all I have is my bloggy & twitter friends. I haven't even gone shopping alone in the past year. :sigh: I definitely need to look into playgroups, I know we have a MOPS group in the area, this mama needs to make some friends!

Poppy January 03, 2011 | 6:08 PM

When I gave birth to my first child at the ripe old age of 25, I didn't get this. I was the first of my peer group to have a kid. I became so wrapped up in my kid that I was downright obnoxious to be around. I'm glad I had a good enough friend to point it out and I'm really glad I listened. It is so important for new moms to have interests outside of their children or like minded people to hang our with and share war stories with. Great article.

Tonya January 03, 2011 | 3:58 PM

So true. I would have been lost the first year of my son's life (and today) without my mommy friends. Great insight.

Sherri January 03, 2011 | 3:37 PM

This is so true! When I dragged myself out of the house with my first baby, desperate for "friends" for him (ahem, ME) it was the best thing I ever did. I am still close with several of those original moms from 16 years ago. I have noticed, though, that as the kids get older it's hard to make new mom friends. Something about the under-kindergarten age that bonds us as moms. Great article, Naomi!

SurferWife January 03, 2011 | 2:08 PM

Great post and so true. I was the first of my friends to have kids and I felt like such an outsider with them for a while. They didn't have cheerios stuck to their hair glued on my barf. They didn't have circles under their eyes. They didn't understand how a world could be flipped upside down by unconditional love. Now, nearly 9 years later, they get it. And they are the ones with the bag eyes, while my kids can babysit theirs. :)

Lori January 03, 2011 | 2:00 PM

When my son was little, I couldn't do this. I couldn't bond with women just because we all had kids. I needed something that was relevant to the me-who-existed-before-children, and I just couldn't find it in the playdates and the park. Oh how I wish THIS community had existed then, to have writing, reading, techophile, humor, in common with women who became friends so quickly. Because you are so so right. We need a community, and yet finding it is such a challenge.

Ashley January 03, 2011 | 1:06 PM

Oh, it's a great topic. I have been all over the place with this, and with having lived in so many places over the past 5 years since having my son, making friends can be difficult. However, the few that are truly good friends can be such an anchor when mommyhood is overwhelming.

MommaKiss January 03, 2011 | 12:52 PM

The friends that I have that are moms are such a lifeline. They listen to me talk about poop, understand that I can't really talk on the phone [because of screamin' kids] and are just 'there' in ways that the non-mom friends can't be. That said - find them wasn't easy! I work out of the home, and so a lot of the bonding happened at the park or after preschool pick up. So the few I have are treasures, and I hope they know it. Love this article!

Morgan B. January 03, 2011 | 12:33 PM

I couldn't agree more! My mommy friends have been the sole reason I haven't lost (all) my mind yet. It can be hard to find the right group of women, but with a little trial and error I have finally found my tribe. Thank you so much for writing this article. The isolation of motherhood is a subject that is often left untouched. This article will surely help many mothers going through the same loneliness I experienced the first time around.

gigi January 03, 2011 | 12:09 PM

This is a hard post for me to read (excellently written, BTW!) because I have had a very hard time making "mom" friends. I have plenty of friends from pre-kids but there's just another hurdle there that I have not been able to overcome with other moms. It's something i've considered blogging about for a really long time. Maybe this will be my inspiration. Thanks, Naomi!

gigi January 03, 2011 | 12:08 PM

Great post, Naomi. After 7 years in the trenches of parenting, I'm sad to say that I haven't found many close mom friends. It's something I've been considering blogging about myself. Thank God for blogging friends!

Natalie January 03, 2011 | 12:00 PM

Since becoming a mother, friendships have never been more important. I love this article, Naomi! Thanks for sharing your insights...we can all relate.

Missy @ WonderFriend January 03, 2011 | 11:37 AM

Mom friends are the lifeblood of any mother. What would we do without them? I've found it hard to connect sometimes, but when it happens, it's worth the effort. Great post, Naomi!

Nichole January 03, 2011 | 11:30 AM

What a great article, Naomi. I'm a part of a local mom's group and I wouldn't survive without it. We have playdates, mom's night out, and we exchange babysitting services on a point system. I would have probably gone a little crazy without the support of these other moms.

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