It has been non-stop birthday party season the past six weeks with only one weekend off. We have had only one weekend without a birthday party, and some weekends with three birthdays. My go to gift is always books. So why not gift friendship books for our friends birthdays? Here’s a roundup of our family’s friendship books favs, newborn up to preschool age.
Sophie’s Busy Day
Great from newborn and up. We follow Sophie throughout her day and how her friends help her. Every page also has a sensory aspect, smooth, bumpy, etc. that children will enjoy exploring.
Bunny and Bee Favorite Colors
Bunny and Bee have adventures through the forest observing all the colors in the world. This color learning book isn’t the typical – Red, the circle is red, red flower, red hat, RED – book. There’s a small story where you follow Bunny and Bee through the forest and you can discuss the colors of the forrest on each page.
Otis Loves to Play
Follow a day with Otis the tractor as he plays with his friends on the farm. The illustrations are different from other children’s books being mostly black, white, and shades of grey with Otis being highlighted in red. Great for newborn and up. This was a favorite early on with Reece as he has been truck obsessed since what feels like birth.
Little Blue Truck
A story of friendship, kindness, and helping. Also good for learning animal sounds. Dump Truck doesn’t have time for the animals along the way then gets stuck. When he asks for help it’s Little Blue who helps out. Little Blue Truck is another book that has been well loved, to the point where we’ve on our second copy!
Oliver, Charlie and Lulu love to play. When Oliver isn’t the right size to play in a tree, Charlie and Lulu work together, finding a way for everyone to be included. This book, at one point, was in the must read every night cycle for 6 months at one point!
Peanut & Grape
Kat was gifted Peanut and Grape from one of our friends. It was her very first book that wasn’t a hand me down and 2.5 years later it is still a staple in her bedtime reading cycle. Peanut and Grape are best friends who do everything together. If you have siblings that are super tight then this book is a must have!
Stick and Stone
Stick and Stone were once alone. Brought together by a bully pinecone. Stick and Stone will always “stick” up for one another. The story, simple illustrations, and rhyming are all so sweet. A little wink and nod to the sticks and stones rhyme.
Far away, are the easy breezy days of meeting people and making friends in high school or college. Graduating can bring a sense of starting over, but you work at it and while finding your way in the world, you meet some cool people. Then you become a mom. The new life phase can wash away at the momentum you gained growing friendships. Your priorities, lifestyle, schedule, availability all shift.
I’ve been a mom for four years now, and it wasn’t until recently I started to remotely feel like I’ve gotten into a groove with other moms. Motherhood is awesome and fulfills me in a way I never realized was missing. What also comes with it are innumerable responsibilities and a rollercoaster of feelings that can be overwhelming. I swear, half of the burden of motherhood can be the mental load, thinking about everything you need to be doing, what everyone needs. Finding a peer you can trust, to talk freely with and unload with, is cathartic. But how do you find your people?
If you manage to find a prospective mom you think you might click with, you still have to contend with so many factors that go against making friends. To make new friends you need consistency, the confidence to make plans, availability, and commonality. Other things as well to be sure, but these are some main building blocks. Kids throw a major wrench into the mix.
Is it me?
It can feel like you’re the only one struggling to make friendships. Not so! There have been so many times I’ve cried or been in a funk over not having close friends nearby or false start friendships. When we are viewing our friends, acquaintances, bloggers, etc., through the lens of Instagram and Facebook, we have to remember, that is NOT real life. It’s a projected life that is cropped using only one perfect picture out of fifty crappy pictures or moments.
The Mommy Dating Game
Motherhood is a friendship HUSTLE! You’ve gotta work it! When you do meet someone you mesh with, you have to actually meet up a second time to get the ball rolling. Sounds easy, but damn!
Moms (I mean, kids) are signed up for some many activities and obligations. Trying to plan a playdate with another Mama is like playing the most complicated game of Tetris Scheduling there ever was. On the one hand, all those classes, activities, and other obligations are helping moms to get out there and meet new people. On the flip side, they can get in the way of making plans sometimes.
First Base, and Beyond
While you are meeting people at these cool kid things, you typically don’t have a lot of down time to talk and connect. This is where it gets awkward. You think someone seems could be cool and you want to “take it to the next level” by doing something outside of class. You’re basically back in the dating scene. Only instead of guys, you’re trying to catch a mom friend. Remember when you thought dating was soooo hard? Mom dating, is a whole other level.
Then, say you do find that miracle day where the stars align and you can meet up. Congratulations! You’ve made it to second base! There is a 1000% chance a kid will get sick, have a poopsplosion all over the car seat making it impossible to drive anywhere, some family emergency, or some other crazy issue will arise for one of you. Boo!
The Setbacks Can Be Killer
If it’s not you that had to cancel/reschedule, then you’re thinking, “Did I do something wrong? What if they just aren’t that into me? Maybe I came off too strong? Or not strong enough?!?!” Stop the downward spiral. Avert! Avert! Your logical self understands. After all, it could have just as easily been you that had to cancel for all the crazy reasons that happen when you have kids. Still, it’s hard to not feel insecure or slighted sometimes. And this can happen multiple times before actually succeeding in both of moms showing up for a date, I mean, play date.
Get Out There, Then Be Ready to Repeat
You must put yourself out there. Way out there. I think I’ve had more play dates or mom nights out that have been rejected or cancelled, than have happened. It can get a person down. I know how easy it is to get discouraged, just keep at it. I swear, took FOUR YEARS for me to find and connecting with new people. While I’ve gotten to 4th base with some moms, I would still say we are in the honeymoon phase of our dating. I do think the outlook is promising!
Haste is Waste
It’s not to say it won’t happen next week, or tomorrow even. Remember though, any friendship needs time. Sometimes in our haste to connect with other people we overlook the fact that maybe there isn’t much substance. Sure, you both have kids the same age, and that can go a long way, but similar parenting philosophies, love of gardening, or whatever, other real interests are needed in any friendship.
Tall, Dark, and Handsome!
Remember when you were out there in the dating field? Didn’t you think you had a ‘type?’ You still must look around and be selective. As a Mom, you don’t have time (I mean literally, the schedule is packed) to date moms that you don’t even care to hang out with. I know it seems like you can’t be, but you need to! This isn’t high school. A core group to keep you grounded, save you from your kids, show up for plans. This will only happen if it’s the real thing.
Keep perspective by knowing motherhood is perfect for no one. Again, don’t get sucked into the social media projection. Successes and setbacks are all part of finding cool moms.
If you can relate to this, please, please share! Better yet, let me know how you work through the mom dating scene or how you persevered and found a mom bestie!