You know those friendships, the ones you had before the kids came along, that just don’t seem to work anymore? Maybe they’re not parents yet and don’t understand how your life has changed. Or perhaps they are mothers too, but your parenting styles are WAY different. Or maybe you just don’t have the time or energy to see and speak with the old groups you used to hang out with.
No matter what the reason for some of your friendships not being what they used to, motherhood changes us. We all know it. And sometimes people just drift apart. Like when you graduated high school, finished college, moved away or got married; some friendships just didn’t last. You changed, circumstances were different and the relationship just couldn’t morph and navigate around it.
And it’s normal.
Big life changes like graduation, moving away and marriage are bound to have some relationship casualties. Everyone experiences this at some point in their life. Do you know anyone who still has the same friends from childhood? If they do, it’s probably just one or two at the most. It’s the same thing with those friendships that just can’t last after motherhood. Maybe these friends don’t understand or tolerate the time and multiple interruptions that motherhood often requires. Your priorities are not the same as they once were. Or perhaps the way they parent just doesn’t mesh well with how you want to parent. Differing beliefs on infant care, discipline and education can be hard to overcome when you visit with someone on a daily or weekly basis. Even different seasons of parenting can create chasms in our common ground with other parents. Maybe they’re still in the baby and toddler stage when you have moved on to little league, PTA and after-school activities. Whatever the case of those friendships that drift away during motherhood, it’s just how life is.
And it’s okay.
If you’ve tried to hang on, but it’s just not working anymore, allow yourself to let them go. Our lives ebb and flow like the seasons, and just like every season must end at some point, some friendships do too. It’s not any more wrong to let a relationship go than it is to say goodbye to the summer in order to greet the fall. As seasons and circumstances change, saying goodbye to the old and welcoming the new is more than just okay, it’s the RIGHT thing to do. No friendship is worth the disappointment, frustration and hurt that comes with trying unsuccessfully to make it work. Don’t spend one more second desperately hanging on to something that isn’t right anymore. Sometimes, you just need to walk away.
And it’s healthy.
Staying in relationships that have ceased to be beneficial and cause only stress on you, your spouse and your children is not good for any of your emotional states. Letting go of those friendships allows you the time and the freedom to invest in and grow other relationships that motherhood and each parenting stage has made deeper, richer and fuller. Instead of clinging to connections with people who don’t get you, surround yourselves with and cherish the friends that you have more in common with.
Women are wired for community with others, and our emotional health is strengthened when those groups of friends understand, support and make us feel better about ourselves. Those friendships, those sisterhoods are the rarest, most valuable kind. They are worth their weight in gold and worth fighting for!
And who knows, maybe years or months down the road, those old companions that you let go of could come back in your life, and your relationship is resurrected and made new. The distance could have given each of you the time, experience and maturity to find value in both your differences and similarities to make a fresh and healthy start!