When your friend group heads out for the evening, are you always the designated driver? Does your squad look to you for guidance on everything from dressing for a job interview to connecting with a Tinder match?
If so, congratulations — you may be the “mom friend” of your circle. While you might enjoy your role as the responsible one, you also deserve a break now and then. Here are five ways to make things easier on yourself while still enjoying an active social life.
1. Share Your Knowledge
It isn’t easy to find a mentor in today’s hurry-up world. People often seem so burdened by obligations that folks hesitate to ask for favors. However, working together and sharing pointers is how human beings evolved without fangs and claws in a savage world.
As the “mom friend,” you may have more experience dealing with anything from marital strife to freak accidents. You might know that you should always call the authorities when hit by a drunk driver if you have done your share of designated driving. When your friend phones you in tears at 3 a.m, you can help her protect her rights while providing a soothing voice.
2. Set Healthy Boundaries
You might covet your role as the squad go-to girl, but that doesn’t mean you want your sleep disturbed night after night when your BFF has relationship woes. Learn how to set healthy boundaries to prevent burnout.
If you always feel negative after hanging with a particular pal, ask yourself why. When you hone in on and honor your feelings, you realize that continuous exposure to your depressed friend’s sorrows gives you a more pessimistic worldview. Thus empowered, you can limit your time with them while still making them feel supported when you do interact.
3.) Cultivate Positivity
Few people love a Debbie Downer, but as the designated “mom friend,” you may be the shoulder where everyone cries — and complains. While you don’t want to invalidate your friends’ feelings by trying to fix issues like pandemic job losses with a brief, “hang in there. Something will come along soon,” nor do you want to wallow in other people’s misery.
Find ways to cultivate positivity. It’s more challenging when everyone you know is having a rough time, but use your creativity to uplift your squad.
Could you all use some socially distanced entertainment and an endorphin boost? Suggest trying paddleboard yoga. You’ll have ample space in the water, and a beach or lakeside class lets you enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, soak up vitamin D and enjoy the mental health benefits of movement.
Volunteering raises the levels of a host of happy neurochemicals, from serotonin to oxytocin. Why not suggest your tribe participate in a local park cleanup or volunteer at a food bank? You’ll all feel better after sharing smiles with those in need.
4.) Develop Your Interests
Yes, you love your crew, but you can’t hang out with them 24/7. Doing so poses the risk of losing your sense of unique identity.
Cultivate individual interests by spending time alone occasionally. If you’re the only one in your circle with a passion for knitting, start attending a local group solo. If anything, you expand your network, plus you build a stronger sense of who you are.
5.) Love Your Friends for Who They Are
As the mom friend, you might feel compelled to “fix” everyone in your circle. Fortunately, you don’t need to add that job description to your resume.
Instead, love and accept your friends for who they are — quirks and all. Is someone in your squad perpetually running late? Why not try picking an unusual start time, such as 5:50 p.m. instead of 6:00? That way, they don’t tack on the “ish” to the hour and call it good. Of course, you could always use the time-tested method of telling them things start earlier than they do.
If one of your friends gets married and divorced more frequently than Elizabeth Taylor, show up for her next wedding anyway. No, you don’t have to agree to buy yet another bridesmaid gown, but you can show support from the aisles.
Make “Mom Friend” Life Easier With These 5 Tips
It can be challenging when you’re the “mom friend.” As much as you may enjoy your responsible role, maintain your sense of balance and stave off burnout with these five tips.