"Mom Friends: a treasured gift from God" by Michele Faehnle (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2017 Michele Faehnle. All rights reserved.

“In this world two things are essential: life and friendship. Both should be highly prized and we must not undervalue them.” St. Augustine.

There was a time in my life when I undervalued friendship. I was newly married, had a budding career as a labor and delivery nurse and an adorable little baby. My life was full and I was content; or at least I thought I was. I’d been blessed with many wonderful friendships throughout my life, but moving to a new state after getting married left me far away from those I was closest with. Sure, I had plenty of acquaintances: neighbors, women I worked with, and the wives of my husband’s friends. However, I was always so busy trying to keep my head above water, I didn’t have any time to seek out friendships or deepen and develop the new relationships I was making.

Once while attending daily Mass, the young mom sitting in front of me invited me over to her home. She was starting a playgroup with a few other moms and asked me to join them for a weekly get-together. Thinking I didn’t have much to lose, I went to the gathering. Four strangers sat together in her living room. Since our children were still infants (between six and nine months old), they didn’t do much playing, but we enjoyed lunch and conversation. I left thinking I wouldn’t return the next week. I remember talking to my husband about it that night at dinner. “It was nice,” I told him, “but I don’t think I have time for this.”

In hindsight, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I continued to go to that same playgroup for years. Our babies grew into toddlers together and we all had our second child within months of each other. We discussed teething, cloth diapers, and vaccines. We started meeting up more than once a week, taking trips to the zoo, museums, parks and enjoying each others company. As our children grew, so did our friendship. These women became my friends and confidants. We began to cultivate deeper relationships, and we discussed the important things in life, especially our faith.

I realized that having good friends is important to our physical, mental and spiritual health. Having friends isn’t optional. I needed these women in my life. This experience was the first of many new mom friends whom I would welcome in my life over the years. As a seasoned mother of toddlers to teens, I can say that my life has been blessed with countless mom friends that have encouraged and mentored me to be a better wife, mother and daughter of God.   Although my life continues to be overflowing with things to do, I make a priority to make sure I spend time with friends.   It’s not always easy, and it takes an investment of time and energy, but it's one that is well worth the effort.

[tweet "Having friends isn't optional. Ways to connect with mom friends by @mercyformoms"]

So no matter if you are drowning in diapers or talk-back teenagers, I encourage you to reconnect with your old friends and develop new friendships. Take 30 seconds out of your day to text a friend and make a date to get together, pick up the phone and talk to one of your friends instead of just staring at her life on Instagram. Most importantly, take time to thank God for your friends and pray for them.

Friendship is a treasured gift from God, and when it is centered on Him, it can be one that lasts forever. As St. Francis de Sales reminds us, “Truly it is a blessed thing to love on earth as we hope to love in Heaven, and to begin that friendship here which is to endure forever there.”

Copyright 2017 Michele Faehnle