After becoming a mom, our energy tank runs on empty most days. The normal tasks that never took much time or energy to accomplish, like sending in our car payment or wiping down the kitchen sink, suddenly feel monumental. You give everything you can to your child, your healing body, and your partner, and there isn’t much left.
Mustering up the fuel to swipe on some mascara and put on actual pants takes serious effort. Trying to find space in the schedules of more than one person to get together for a few hours can take an entire day of messaging back and forth. Then there’s always a chance someone might be puking and you won’t be able to make it anyway — welcome to motherhood, where keeping friendships takes work.
Keeping girlfriends and being a mom? That’s some tough stuff to navigate right there.
But like so many other women, I’ve always needed my girlfriends. And after becoming a mother, that need changed quite a bit, but it didn’t go away. In fact, I’ve needed my girlfriends now more than ever.
There are times we go weeks or months without getting together with our besties. I remember the year my third child was born and I only got together with my friends twice that year. While it may not sound like a lot to some, and possibly down right pathetic, it was all I needed to remind myself I was someone other than a person who did laundry, wiped butts, and cleaned up mysterious stains.
I missed my friends terribly, but they understood I could only dedicate a certain amount of time to them. But it didn’t mean I loved or needed them any less.
Getting together with my friends silenced the voices in my head that have taken up so much space since having kids. I’d go through my days having conversations with myself out loud and conversations with my friends in my head. I felt too tired to talk in real life most days, but I knew I needed to.
I knew I still needed connections with people outside of my family. It was refreshing to have a conversation with someone about adult things. It was cathartic to talk with other mothers and vent about the daily struggles of being a mom and a wife and doing all things for everyone. There is nothing as validating as another woman telling you that you aren’t alone — that they share the same thoughts or feelings.
My girlfriends have been a piece of my life that is irreplaceable. Even when I think I’d rather stay home curled up on the sofa, half unconscious with a bag of Cheetos, I’ve always felt myself come to life again after some time with a friend — even if it’s just for an hour over coffee.
I need to see my girlfriends in person every now and again. I count on them to pump new life into me, and I know they need the same from me — our girlfriends possess magical qualities, and they are somehow able to pour some magic out for us in ways our family members just can’t.
Yes, my relationships with my girlfriend’s may look different now that I am a parent, but they are still a very necessary part of my life and I will forever be grateful for each and everyone of them and the solidarity they have given me.
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