It's important for your daughter to see you bond with women and it's crucial for you to have support from mom friends. It's easy to put friendships on the back burner to preserve your all-too-scarce time, says Dr. John Townsend, author of How To Be a Best Friend Forever: Making and Keeping Lifetime Relationships.
If you want your little girl to have that trusted bestie she can run to anytime with anything, it's time to learn how to set a good example.
"A mom who has been listened to is a better listener to her daughter. She's more patient, more attuned to her child and more loving," says Townsend.
Admit it, those gab fests or complaint sessions with your BFF can be more rejuvenating than a spa day -- make them fit your calendar instead of opting for convenient emails or texts.
"You cannot improve on the value of being in the same room and communicating with another person. Face-to-face is the least convenient, but the most important," says Townsend.
Marian Jordan, author of The Girlfriends Guidebook: Navigating Female Friendships, has a friend who's long struggled with drama-filled female relationships. "Her struggles are exactly like her mom's. She remembers her mom in 'fights' with friends, dealing with a break-up with her best friend and struggling to maintain relationships."
The lesson: A mother's behavior impacts her children -- so be mindful.
"Moms are role models for their daughters for everything from how a wife responds to her husband to what a healthy friendship is supposed to look like," explains Jordan. "Daughters will learn to handle rejection, offer forgiveness, set healthy boundaries and take chances to make new friends by watching mom do the same."
You may avoid play groups like the plague, but this is your richest environment for finding mom friends. "Get involved in your child's school," advises Jordan. "Interact with other moms and don't be shy to introduce yourself and make conversation. Some of my best friendships are ones where I took a chance to say 'hello' to someone I'd never met before. That initial conversation sparked a deep, long-lasting friendship."
Beyond mom-related hangouts, join or form a group of your own -- every mom is entitled to at least one night off a week (yes, even you) -- like a garden club, book club, scrapbook circle or church group. Or simply pick up the phone and reconnect with an old friend.
There's also mental effort involved in pursuing friendships. "Two big mistakes moms make are to keep it light and talk about events and not feelings, or to focus on the other and draw her out, neglecting your own needs," says Townsend. "Don't. Bring up struggle and emotions that you deal with. Keep things reciprocal and mutual. Your daughter will receive the benefit."
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