How to Find Life-Saving Friendship With Small Children in the House

How to Find Friendship When You Have Small Children in the HouseShe wasn’t a likely candidate for friendship.

More like a cousin. And a cousin by marriage at that.

You know, the kind of relative that you normally only see at weddings, funerals, and the occasional family reunion.

But she turned out to be much more.

A cousin. A friend, And a gift.

I can’t say exactly how it began but this spark – likely at the summer family reunion at Aunt Nancy’s farm – started us talking about how overwhelmed we were both feeling with several young children apiece. How the babies kept us up at night and how hard it was to get anything done. And how we couldn’t help wishing we could get some help.

Not sure who had the idea first, but I can remember how our eyes lit up at the thought.

We decided we would have our own kid-swap.

Once a week, one of us would take ALL the kids for a big chunk of the day. We dropped them off mid-morning, and the other mom served them lunch and even put them down for naps.

The other lucky mom got to enjoy five amazing hours all to herself. On some days, she went home and simply slept. Other days, she would “get things done.” Or maybe run errands ALONE – without little people in tow.

And she didn’t have to feel “guilty” because she knew her children were having a blast with their “auntie” and sweet cousins.

A real life-saver. 

But there was another unexpected blessing. Even though it was a bit nutsy to care for so many tiny people for the day, the thought of a dear friend enjoying a much-needed break filled her heart with joy. And vice versa.

In addition to this beautiful break, we always sat down and visited together before returning home. Talked about the kids, the messes, the books we were reading, and shared plans and dreams.

It was our way of walking through life together.

This was friendship at its finest.

How to Find Friendship When You Have Small Children in the House

Creative Ways to Find New Friendships

So maybe you don’t have any wonderful cousins to call upon. Maybe you don’t have family or friends nearby. Maybe you don’t really know many people at all. If this is where you’re at, here are some creative ideas to find and make new friends. I’ve tried most, if not all, of these….

Start A Moms’ Group

Once I went to our new church and asked if I could start a small moms’ group. They not only said “okay,” they were thrilled with the idea! We had 8 to 10 mommies in that original group and became fast friends. In fact, even though our kids are all grown now, we still have the fondest memories of those early years gathered around that little table.

Seek Out An Older Mom

Another year we moved to a brand new city and state where I didn’t know anyone. But I met the wife of one my husband’s colleagues, and she LOVED holding my babies. She was a bit past that season herself but was so glad for the chance to snuggle and play with my little ones.

Put Together A Tea Party

One more new location and another start-over for me. So I sent out an invitation for “tea” to see if anyone might come. Not only was I surprised how many came, but I was astonished how long they all stayed. They were as starving as I was for friendship. So often we think we’re the only ones. 

Launch A Book Club

Even if it meets only once-a-month. Reading a fun or interesting book is a good excuse to get together and share. This can be another great way to get to know new (or old) friends. All you need is a time, place, and a book title. Easy-peasy! (This is a nice option for work-outside-of-the-home-moms too)

Plan A Park Date

Let people know that you’ll be at the park from 11 am to 1 pm and everyone can bring their own sack lunch. The kids can play, and the moms can talk. Doesn’t get much easier than this! And make it a “standing date” so that every Friday (or whatever day makes sense) they know where they can find you.

As an already over-busy mom, maybe this sounds like too much work to you. And it’s true – it does require both time and energy to get something going. It also means you might have to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk.

But, believe me, it’s worth it all.

Friendships are essential – no matter what stage of life you’re in – but possibly even more so when you’re pouring into small children all day long.

We need these kinds of friends for support, for perspective, and for encouragement.

To pray for one another and to understand when we’re having one of those days.

Friends walking through life together.

In His grace,

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*This is Part 3 of the series, “How to Have a Happy Home With Small Children in the House.” You can read Part 1 HERE, and Part 2 HERE.

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