Being a parent can be lonely at times. As much as we love our children and want to spend time fostering their growth and learning, carrying an adult conversation and having someone to relate to can go a long way to refueling our fire and pushing us to be even better parents in the long run. Friends enrich every stage of our lives and the transition into parent hood and surviving those early years is a stage that needs support, understanding and compassion. Parent friendships foster this support, understanding and compassion.
Creating friendships with other parents also helps your children. A friend with children the same age as your own means built in friends for them. It offers more opportunity for play dates and outings with someone for them to talk to and play with other than mom and dad. You’re setting an example as well. The way that you relate to and treat your friends will eventually translate into the way that they relate to and treat their own friends. Remember that you are their biggest role model. They’re looking to you for cues on forming friendships and interacting with friends.
You’re not necessarily going to click with every other parent you meet and that’s okay. It may be hard to find someone with the same parenting style or philosophy as you that you also click with on a personal level. It can be daunting to approach parents out at a park or in a class. Joining a meetup group or a local place for your kiddos may be a better bet to meeting more parents with kids that are similar ages to your own.
We love that the parents at our Gymboree Play & Music gym form lasting friendships. You have an opportunity to relate to parents going through the same phases in life as you. Your little ones have an opportunity to make friends and grow as well. Part of self-care is knowing when you need your own support system. Having someone to vent to, commiserate with, and celebrate your children’s victories is a great way to travel down the path of parenthood. It doesn’t have to be lonely when you have someone to talk and laugh with.
We all have the same number of hours in a day. Find time to nurture friendships that strengthen your happiness and mental health. This can be as simple as attending a parent and me class to talk to other parents and connect. Taking the small step to forming parent friendships can have a big impact on recharging your own patience and bandwidth with your kids throughout the day.