How to Support Your SAHM Friends
After spending more than six years as a stay-at-home mom, I’ve realized that it can sometimes feel like a lonely role. Friendships can be difficult to maintain as the demands of raising kids full-time are constantly changing. Since staying home, some of my friendships have thrived while others have struggled. As mothers, women, and friends, I know that we all lead busy lives.
Therefore, if you’re interested in fostering a stronger connection with a friend who is a stay-at-home mom, here are some suggestions below. I’m not suggesting that you should prioritize your friend above everything else, but rather, explore these tips to discover ways to nurture and enhance your friendship:
Respect her decision
First, don’t make comments that may seem insensitive or judgemental about her role. Some SAHMs have confidently made the decision to stay home. For others, the path to life as a SAHM wasn’t as clear of a choice to make.
Maybe the income from their job isn’t enough to provide for child care. Perhaps she is the default parent because her partner has an extremely demanding job. And she has chosen to stay home instead of juggling parenting and working. Some women choose to be SAHMs because their child requires extra care. They may have a health condition that requires significantly more care, and being home allows mom to be there for appointments and treatments.
Offer a listening ear
Some days, the only adult I interact with is my husband. And as great as he is at helping me solve problems and fix issues, sometimes I just want someone to listen. It’s hard for him to hear my talk about things without offering a solution.
A friend, who can be a sounding board, without judgment is worth their weight in gold. Chatting with someone from outside the home provides a fresh perspective and can help offset the mental load that many SAHMs carry.
Schedule a date at the park. Invite a SAHM and her kiddos over to play at your house. Make a reservation at a local restaurant that has an outdoor playground. Take the initiative to plan the playdates.
You can even set up a schedule where you plan a playdate one month and your SAHM friend plans a playdate the next month. This can create ownership in scheduling playdates between the two of you.
Is there a local mom group you can recommend? Is she having a hard time finding a new pediatrician? Are there local clubs her kiddos can join? Let her know. As SAHMs, we don’t always know what community resources are available to support our families.
My husband works a crazy schedule. So, as a SAHM, I’m prepared to be on parenting duty most days and evenings. But, if I am invited to a Mom’s Night Out with enough notice, I can usually make it happen. I have had a few friends assume I am not available in the past, but that isn’t always true. And as a SAHM, I’ve started to make contingency plans if my husband can’t get home in time. I will hire a babysitter or have family step in to help watch the kiddos.
Even if your SAHM friend has been able to attend recent events or had to cancel at the last minute… keep inviting her. She wants to be there. She wants to make it work. And one of these days, she will be able to do it.
Celebrate with her
Has she spent the last week in potty-training hell? Bring over margaritas to celebrate making it through. Is her birthday coming up? Drop off some flowers and tell her you’re thinking of her. Send her a text message to congratulate her on finishing her online schooling.
It’s easy for a stay at home mom to feel invisible as she is regularly around kids who aren’t developmentally mature enough to celebrate their mom’s wins.. Having someone take the time to recognize a win, no matter how small the gesture, can feel grand to a stay at home mom.
Offer flexibility in Your Friendship
Recognize that your SAHM friend has undergone a significant change, and the dynamics of your friendship may need to adjust accordingly. Be open to new ways of connecting and spending time together.
The dynamic between a dear friend and I changed drastically, when I had kids before her. I wasn’t able to meet up for happy hour after her workday regularly, or stay out until two am creating mayhem downtown. I was more tired and preoccupied with making sure I was providing for my family. It took me a while to find a balance between focusing on my family, and creating a space for my dear friends, but I’ve finally come to a place where I feel a much better balance.
Finally, keep in touch regularly to see how she’s doing as a mom and friend. A simple text or call can go a long way to show that you care. I’ve made it a point to reach out to a stay-at-home mom friend every Friday via text. A simple, “Hey there! I am thinking of you today. Hope all is well” text can make a stay-at-home mom’s day.
The other day I was going through photos and found one of a dear friend and I hanging out when we lived in Seattle. I sent her a copy of the photo and we ended up chatting via text all evening long. It was a much needed, spontaneous catch-up that we both needed.
Remember, these tips are for you if you’re looking for ways to connect with and support your SAHM friends. It’s just as much the responsibility of your friends who stay home to maintain your relationship, too. Do you have a favorite activity you like to do with your moms friends? Share in the comments below.