Did you happen to read the article that was floating around the interwebs last summer that compared making new mom friends to picking up a guy?! If not, take a quick pause from reading this and click here to read that. But make sure you come back once you’re done, ok?!
I read that blog post and I found myself actually screaming out loud “YES! YES! YES!” It’s like Lauren (the blogger), had invaded the deepest parts of my soul and was revealing all my secret longings of my park visits with my kids!
You see, we had recently moved into our new home, in a brand new city. In fact, it was a brand new neighbourhood that wasn’t even finished being built yet. I was no longer a working woman but rather a stay-at-home mom and was adjusting to that new role. As I would soon discover, I was also struggling with postpartum depression and had no idea about it at the time.
I found myself doing playground hops all week long. Checking out all the parks in our area and praying, hoping, LONGING to make just ONE mommy friend. I was always one to scope out the playground for that one person who I thought looked like we might have things in common: similar age as me, similar aged kids, similar style…something, anything, that could make us relate and possibly strike up a new friendship.
But the struggle is real y’all! Often times I would see mom friends at the park together, laughing and talking away, having a blast, while I jealously sat alone, trying to give the occasional smile if they looked over in hopes that they would want to chat with me. But it never really worked.
And then early fall, I read that blog post and I couldn’t believe how bang on it was! Aside from a long summer of desperately trying to friend these park moms with little to no success, I was at least somewhat relieved that there was at least ONE other person on the planet who could relate! But where this post fell short for me was the follow through. As funny and relatable as it was, I knew that it couldn’t just end with these potential friends walking away. I knew, for myself at least, that if I was going to change my situation, I would have to be the one to step up and step out to reach these moms.
At some point, your faith needs to be bigger than your fears…I truly believe that there is so much reward and abundant life on the other side of that fear.
At this point, I had just been diagnosed with postpartum depression, which I’ve been sharing my journey here, here and here. A little sneak into Part 4 of that journey where I share all about my diagnosis, was that the first thing my doctor said to me was that I needed family and friends support. Problem was, I didn’t have any family around and very few friends. So with that in mind, I knew, more than ever, I HAD to make friends. This wasn’t just a funny thing to talk and read about, this was a matter of LIFE or continued depression for me.
So how do you make friends naturally when you are so desperate for it? I prayed. Simple. It wasn’t some big amazing prayer…it was simple, “God, I need a friend…NOW. Thanks.”
A few days later, I decided to visit this mom group at a local church. It wasn’t my church, so I was initially hesitant, wondering if it would be weird that I wasn’t a member there. I also wasn’t the usual social butterfly that I once was. I was sad, lonely, hurting…living with a new diagnosis of PPD and I was completely out of sorts with myself.
But I went.
I pulled into the parking lot and two spots over was a lovely blonde haired momma, getting her daughter out of the car and into a stroller. Spotted. I can remember saying to myself “Be cool, Christine. Don’t POUNCE on her. Just say hi and ask about the group.”
“Hi there. I’m Christine.This is my first time here. Are we allowed to bring our strollers inside?” With a big smile she responded, “Hi! I’m Courtney! Welcome! And yes, we can bring them right into the auditorium!” Perfection! She took the bait and now I just had to reel it in!
We continued to chat for a few more minutes and she showed me inside and where to drop the kids off and then we went on our separate ways. I had one friend in there (the only friend I had at the time), so I found her and we sat together. It was an enjoyable morning for the most part, but I was still a hot mess from the PPD and so I’m not sure I really took it all in. My wheels were spinning a mile a minute at that time, usually about a thousand miles away from where I currently was.
I ended up in the washroom at the end of the group time, changing diapers and feeding the baby. I was sure that once I emerged, everyone would be gone. But to my surprise, as I left the building, guess who was also just leaving? My new bff from the parking lot, Courtney! What were the odds?! She asked me how I enjoyed it and we made small chat as we walked to our vehicles and started loading the kids in.
Sometimes the answer is standing right beside us in a parking lot, just waiting for you to say Hi!
I started having flashes of that blog post I had recently read where the mom let’s the other get away as I could feel our conversation coming to an end. Would we just drive off and then just hope to see each other at the next meeting? No way…I liked this mom and I could tell we could be great friends. I wasn’t going to let THIS friendship slip away.
So I lost my cool and I blurted out “So, what do you all day long? Do you wanna be friends?!”
Yup. That’s exactly what I said. Thank goodness Courtney is amazing as she is and her response back was an enthusiastic “YES! Let’s totally hangout!” Phew…she was ok with my desperate cry for a friend! Maybe she needs a friend too, I thought. Or maybe, she could read my mind and see the tears in my heart as I had cried out to God asking for ONE dear friend.
We exchanged numbers and added each other to all our social accounts and right then and there, a beautiful friendship was born. I can remember driving home that morning, with tears running down my cheeks and a huge smile on my face: God had heard my simple prayer and He had answered.
But more than just praying and answering, I really do believe that you have to actually DO something about it. God can answer all the prayers in the world, but sometimes it requires action steps from us. I’ve met so many people over the years that just LOVE to complain about their circumstances: hate their job, too fat, not enough money, no friends, etc., yet they are unwilling to do anything about it! Sometime’s the answer is right in front of their face and yet they still don’t see it. Sometimes the answer is standing right beside us in a parking lot, just waiting for you to say Hi!
Making mom friends is hard. That’s why that humorous and yet so truthful post on how hard it really is resonated so deeply with me. And I would bet to guess that it resonates with many of you. But when was the last time you really put yourself out there when you see that mom at the park or parking lot or grocery store? Was I nervous when I blurted out “Do you want to be friends” to Courtney? Of course I was! But at some point, your faith needs to be bigger than your fears. And I truly believe that there is so much reward and abundant life on the other side of that fear.
We just need to step out and hollar “Hi! You want to be friends?”
Love & Blessings,