Nurturing Friendships Through Life Changes
by Julie Winder
When my child was just over 1 year old, I joined my local Mothers’ Center. It was a god-send to be around other mothers with young children. I am an “older mom” and most of my friends either did not have children or their children were already in high school heading to college. Soon after bringing our son home from Korea, it became painfully clear to me that I was in a very different place in life than my former co-workers and group of friends. We still had our monthly girls dinners out, but the weeks between those dinners seemed like an eternity to a new stay-at-home mom. The friends I made at the Mothers’ Center and through participation at the Mom-mentum Members Retreat allowed me to have friends that I could:
- see throughout the week,
- provided playmates for my only child,
- expanded my social life as my family life changed
- and introduced me to a wealth of resources on motherhood, parenting and career.
Now that my son has finished preschool and is heading to Kindergarten, I find myself at a familiar place of having those near and dear to me no longer part of my daily life. As I contemplate the future with our group of friends having children in various schools across our city, I wonder how we will retain our friendships…
These women and their families have become
so dear to me, but life changes and new commitments
arise within schools and communities.
I realize that what anchors me is spending time with them and seeing the joy on my son’s face when he meets up with his old playmates. Fortunately our Mothers’ Center has an Alumni membership that allows us to stay connected and participate when we are able, but as our lives change, so does our ability to commit large amounts of time to the group. I still get to see my old friends, perhaps now at lunch when our kids are in their respective schools, and feel grounded again. And when I am able, I love going to Mothers’ Center events and seeing the new faces that walk through the door with a little one in tow. I find myself so grateful for these amazing women whom I met there and hopeful for these women to build a strong network of friends as they travel through their ongoing journey of motherhood.
I have made a commitment to continue to nurture these important relationships just in a different way, as I did with my former work friends. Mothers’ Center and Mom-mentum will always have a place in my life; it will just change as I change. I look forward to Mom-mentum being there for me in each future phase of motherhood, as I contemplate a return to work and through advocacy on a national level for all caregivers.
Leave a Comment: How have you adapted your relationship with friends as you transitioned to a mother and then as you moved through various life stages? How do you work to maintain friendships with those you still care about but have less of an opportunity to see?
Julie Winder lives in the Greater Toledo area with her husband and 5-year old son. She was a social worker in the field of international education, a writer and has been a member of the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo since 2011.