I'm definitely an introvert, but over the years, I feel like I've become very proficient at making friends.
My husband and I have moved a lot in our marriage, following jobs and schooling, and everywhere we've moved, I've made great friends pretty easily that I've stayed in touch with no matter where we've gone. This was especially true once I had my first daughter. I spent a lot of time meeting up with other moms at the park, going out to lunch, attending library story time or hanging out in my living room while the babies watched each other warily.
Then, last year, we moved again. This time, I've found it incredibly difficult to make good friends.
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I've met lots of very friendly, lovely women, but none of whom I can just call up and have a casual, pointless conversation with or invite over for Sunday dinner.
When I have a little time for friends, the last thing I want to do is make awkward small talk or try to get to know new people.
And slowly, it started to dawn on me. We live in a more grown-up neighborhood than we ever have (mainly because most of our previous living was in apartments), and the majority of families here have children in school—including me.
Now, instead of long, leisurely days that are begging to be filled up with playdates or last-minute invitations to the playground, all of us moms have our days filled up with homework supervision, gymnastics and soccer practices, and managing a family that consists of more than just a newborn.
And with that limited time, guess who the other moms are hanging out with when they DO have time to squeeze in social time? The friends they already have—not someone they've met once or twice at a neighborhood function.
And the friends I call, text and go visit are the ones with whom I now have five to 10 years of friendship history, because when I have a little time for friends, the last thing I want to do is make awkward small talk or try to get to know new people.
So new moms heed my warning: If you haven't developed some good strong mom friends before the craziness of elementary school arrives, chances are you'll be parenting on your own, without a mom tribe. Those days with small children and no schedule are the time to invest in finding your mom friends. Put in the time to cement strong relationships and create your own community of moms who you can turn to for good or bad.
And, as someone who's mom tribe is spread out across three different states (and not in the one I currently live in), I'll be the first to tell you that you can really feel the difference between a life with good friends and one without.