Moms Have More Friends Than Non-Moms: What's With the Loneliness?

kids swing momI have two kinds of friends: Mom friends and the friends I had before I became a mom. And never the two shall meet. That's not true. They have met. Sort of. But I think everyone has different sets of friends. I have more than two sets. We all do. We have the friends from our past. Work friends. Facebook friends. Super close friends. All kinds of friends. And we don't always hang out with these friends together. When you become a parent, you end up gaining even more friends -- other parents. When you become a mom, the amount of friends you have goes up.

This leaves me confused. I am the one who said that motherhood is lonely and essentially whined about feeling isolated. But I do have more friends now than before. What the heck is going on?

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Based on the information received from a survey commissioned by Natures Purest, women without kids have an average of 13 friends. But mothers have 22 friends. That's 9 more friends! Most of those new friends are -- you guessed it -- other moms. This shouldn't be an a-ha moment. Of course the amount of friends you have goes up once you become a mom -- you bond during birth classes, at the mommy and me, at the playground. And these new friends often are going through exactly what you are going through -- the spit-up, the teething, the figuring out how to have a baby on the hip and still fold the laundry. Commonalities. Important for friendship.

I'm lucky and have met some incredible mama friends since becoming a parent. So what's with this loneliness I feel? I'm not alone in feeling this way. And when I read about these tips for moms who want to stop whining and get a life, I did see myself in a lot of the issues. I should plan something -- more get-togethers at my house after the kids are asleep, making time to go out and find a sitter, even blending my mom and non-mom friends for one big outing. It's do-able. But maybe I'm just so darn tired that it seems too hard. I want to stay in my yoga pants, hair up in an unattractive scrunchi, and just stare at the television. I don't want to deal with cleaning all the crumbs under the kitchen table so company can come over.

Having more friends doesn't make you feel less lonely though. More friends doesn't necessarily make you feel less isolated. No matter how much we say it isn't going to, motherhood changes us. Change isn't a bad thing. Perhaps it's in that re-adjustment, the dealing with the changes and figuring it out, that's where the loneliness creeps in. Thankfully it's often only temporary. And there are more friends around to be with when you're ready to come out of isolation.

Do you have more friends now that you are a parent? Do you have different sets of friends that don't always interact?

 

Image via Michele Zipp

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