Motherhood can be intensely lonely. And for those of us who have had and treasured strong female friendships, the lifestyle change can be jarring. Most of my closest friends live very far away, as I adjusted to my new life as a mom, I couldn’t figure out how to overcome the time zones and chaos to maintain those relationships long-distance. The further I drifted from those essential relationships, the more and more I felt I lost myself and my identity in motherhood.
I am still not the kind of friend I wish I was able to be now, but here are some things that helped me tend my long-distance female friendships.
1. Texting. Whether one to one or on a group chain, it’s the easiest way to communicate little snippets through the day. My best friend and I essentially stay caught up on each other’s day to day via text. It’s so much easier when we do see one another, we aren’t starting from zero.
2. FaceTime. I haven’t used as much with friends, but when I have it has been fun. I’m accustomed to doing it with the kids, but turns out you can kind of virtually hang out with adults, too.
3. Group project. A good friend (also a mom to a toddler) and I recently started a podcast. It is actually super simple once we learned about the app Anchor, which both helps you produce the podcast as well as distribute it to various platforms, including iTunes. (Ours is called Part Time.) The actual product doesn’t matter, though, as much as the process. We are texting and emailing ideas to one another, we are having a recorded conversation about once per week. I feel closer to her than I have in years and each time we talk, I am reminded why I love her and why we’ve been friends for so long.
4. Friends trip. Some of my friends from college and I used to be very good about taking an annual trip. And then… weddings and babies and life happened and we got away from it for a while. But we just rekindled the tradition and I think we have our mojo back. Four women together for a long weekend is the perfect way to reconnect and to recharge. It’s often not easy to make this happen but is definitely doable if everyone makes the trip a priority.
5. Show up. Check your frequent flier miles and get airline sale alerts emailed to you. Recently my best friend became a judge in Minnesota– I flew in for two days for it. Is it always possible to be there? Of course not. But there are big moments in life and I think it’s important to be physically present if you can. And sometimes, if you’re open to it, those big moments coincide with cheap tickets and extra hands around to entertain the kids.