How to Nurture Close Friendships After Motherhood

written by EMILY SHEPARD
mom friends"
mom friends
Source: ColorJoy Stock
Source: ColorJoy Stock

I arrived home with my daughters after an exhausting day to find two bottles of wine sitting on my doorstep. (Eureka!)

Earlier that day I texted one of my closest friends (and wine aficionado!) to ask if she had any summer wine recommendations. She sent me a message with some of her favorite choices, but she didn’t stop there. Sometime during her busy day taking care of her two toddlers… while also working from home… while pregnant… she found time for me.

How to maintain close friendships after motherhood? Step one: Leave wine on her doorstep.

There’s no denying that friendships after motherhood are different. Your priorities have completely changed, and last-minute happy hour dates aren’t always possible. However, maintaining close friendships with the people who are important to you is absolutely possible! Here are some examples of how my friends and I stay connected and show each other we care.


Care During the Postpartum Period

After I had both of my daughters I spent several months hibernating, bonding with my family, and adjusting to our new rhythm. (I wish all new moms could do this!) My friends and family took care of me through thoughtful gestures that meant more than they will ever know. They dropped off food and gifts, regularly checked in on me, and understood that any spare time I had went to sleeping or self-care.

If you have a good friend who is soon to become a mom, be there to support her in whatever way she needs. New moms need a community of loving friends to take care of them while they take care of their newborn.


Remember Quality Trumps Quantity

Quality always trumps quantity when it comes to friendships. I have a few close friends who would walk through fire for me, and that is more than enough. By keeping my inner circle small I am able to focus energy on what matters most. It’s also easier for me to say yes to spontaneous plans and playdates because my family isn’t overscheduled.

Take some time to think about where your energy goes in terms of your relationships, which friends bring out the best in you, and how you can nurture your friendships with those special people.


Know Each Other’s Love Language

My love language is drinking coffee and talking about books. My mom, one of my best friends, and my mother-in-law are all reading enthusiasts, so we swap books back and forth. Whenever I get a spare moment to talk to one of these amazing women, we usually end up talking about books: What part are you at? Just wait until the end! Reading books and then having someone to talk about the book with is good for my soul.

What’s good for your soul? I highly recommend thinking about what makes you feel loved and asking your friends the same question. This will allow you to be a better friend, and vice versa.



Utilize Technology

I’m not great at lengthy text conversations—my toddler and baby don’t like to share my attention. Instead, I try to send quick, just-checking-in texts.

For example:
Happy Friday! I miss you and hope your mom is feeling better! 


Just heard this song and it made me think of you! 

Texting old photos, sending funny Instagram reels, inside jokes, or any other reminder that you’re thinking about your friend is an easy way to show that you care. When you finish reading this article, take 30 seconds and send a message to whichever friend you’ve been thinking about as you’ve been scrolling.


Do Doorstep Drop-Offs

Can we please normalize just dropping thoughtful items off on our friends’ doorsteps? Hey! I’m busy, you’re busy, but here is a bottle of wine I know you’ll love! (Or a pizza! Or whatever!) My wine fairy friend also dropped off goodies right after I had my second baby. I woke up from a nap to find kombucha, my favorite snacks, and gifts for my daughters. I’ll never forget it! A few weeks ago I dropped off some cold pressed juice I knew she’d love, cookies for her kids, and wildflowers from the farmers market.

If you don’t have time to drop off treats, or your friend lives far away, mail them! There are so many ways to ship a thoughtful gift without even leaving your home.


Write Love Letters

PSA: Bring back letter writing. I mentioned that I’m not great at texting, but I love writing letters and thank you notes. If you have a friend who doesn’t live close enough for coffee dates, start writing her letters! A former colleague and friend (and the smartest person I know!) is my pen pal. Yes, I’m an adult with a pen pal. I have discovered that writing a letter to someone I care about is incredibly therapeutic. I can say exactly what’s on my heart in a way that I can’t over the phone or via text. It’s like journal writing, but someone you love will write back.

Letter writing also allows you to catch up and stay in touch on your own time. My toddler likes to get involved with sending letters and often includes her own artwork. This is a fun, creative way to maintain friendships. (It also guarantees something will come in the mail other than bills!)



Bring Your Own Coffee +1

There is never a moment in my day when I don’t want a cup of coffee or tea. Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like receiving your favorite beverage from a friend.

Pro Tip: Save a note on your phone of how your friend likes her coffee, tea, her soda of choice, or what drink she might order at the bar. Remembering what she likes and bringing her a drink when you get together is another considerate gesture that goes a long way. (Plus, she will likely return the favor!)


Don’t Forget the Kids

One of my closest friends (we’ve known each other for 25 years!) is amazing with my daughters. This summer she spent one of her rare days off going to the park with us and reading books with my toddler. The love and attention she gives my girls means so much to me. The quickest way to my heart is through kindness shown to my daughters, and I know this is true for my friends with children as well.

What are some ways you can show your friend that you also care about her kids?


Try Combining Activities

If you’re looking for time to meet up with your friend but can’t seem to find any, think about how you can combine activities. Taking your kids to the park? Invite your friend! Shopping for fresh produce at your local farmers market? Walking the dog or pushing your baby in a stroller around the neighborhood? You get the idea. Include your friend in existing plans so you can tend to your responsibilities while laughing or venting with a friend.


My friends are my cheerleaders. After spending time with them I feel recharged and understood. When we can’t spend time together, just briefly chatting on the phone or sending a few texts back and forth keeps our relationship strong and gives me energy to be a better, happier mom. I love this quote by Amy Poehler: “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” 

Not All Mom Friendships Are Created Equal—And That’s OK