Science has some pretty interesting things to say about friendships. For decades, study after study has shown that social ties have a major impact on health. Researchers from the University of Oxford found that hanging with your girls at least two nights a week can influence physical and emotional health, and scientists from UCLA found that friendships among women can soothe stress. But even though you know the importance of your girls’ night, getting the gang together after having children isn’t always easy. Here’s how to make it happen.

Women at dinner

1. Ask for help. Your village doesn’t necessarily know when you need a night out. Don’t assume your S.O., mother, sister, or anyone else close to you will step up and offer to hang with your kiddo to give you time to spend with your BFFs. Instead of waiting for an offer, ask for it.

2. Set a schedule. Life has a sneaky little way of pushing your girls’ nights to the back burner. Before daycare pick-ups, carpools, playdates, and everything else that comes with being a mama takes over your life, set a girl-date schedule. Pick at least one day or night per month that works for your social circle and stick with it.

3. Stop saying yes. You’re a super-mom who does, does, does all day long. Peewee soccer snack mom? Sure. Babysitting the neighbor’s kiddos? Okay. While helping others is admirable, sometimes you need to take a break, stop saying yes, and just hang with your friends.

4. Stop saying no. That is, to your girls. This one has nothing to do with your yes-woman mentality. After saying no to all the extras that take up your precious time, turn around and say yes to your friends. Instead of blowing off the group text asking when everyone wants to get together, respond with a “Heck yes!”

5. Forgive yourself. Leave the guilt at home! No one can spend 24/7/365 with their kiddos and not go a bit batty. Let the mommy-guilt go and feel genuinely fine about hanging with your friends. Your 10-month-old won’t hold those once-a-month meet-ups with your best buds against you when they’re older. Seriously. They won’t.

6. Redefine social situations. While you might stay up until 4am, gone are the days of going out until the wee hours of the night. Instead of expecting a wild evening out (or trying to recreate your pre-baby ways), take a look at what types of social situations and activities work for you right now.

7. Make new friends. No one is saying you need to ditch your BFFs just because they won’t or can’t hang. If you’re in a life stage mismatch situation with friends who you’ve known for years, consider the possibility that you need to open your social circle. Are your childless pals busy at work all day while you’re home with your tot? Ask another mom from your kiddo’s pre-k class out for lunch or come up with a similar plan to get in some friend-time when you can.

8. Assert yourself. Step up and take control of your social life. Forget about waiting for someone else to suggest a girls’ night out. Start the text chain, pick a night, and suggest a day, evening, or night out activity.

(Photo via Getty)

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