The Best Moms in the World Have This Trait in Common

Here’s why you should stop feeling guilty for your girls’ nights out—and start booking them more often!

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Mothers with a close-knit group of friends are better parents

At the risk of stating the obvious, parenting young kids is never easy. They cause a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for you—not to mention vomit and poop on their end! And after a long day of rallying and carting your youngsters around (and then repeat, repeat, repeat) it’s tempting to take some much-needed time off. After all, you deserve it! But a good mother would never leave her children to have fun with her friends. Right?

Wrong! And science just proved it. New research published in the journal Family Process found that mothers with a tight-knit network of friends report feeling closer to their children. They also feel more capable of being a supportive and authoritative figure in the household. On the other hand, isolated mothers without a social circle were more likely to struggle with keeping their children under control, researchers say.

“A social support network proved to be a help to mothers in their parenting role,” Dr. Terese Glatz, the study’s author, said. “The support may involve help of a practical nature, such as babysitting, as well as emotional support in the sense of having somebody who listens to you when you are having a hard time.”

In essence, mothers who maintain the appropriate boundary between motherhood and their social lives create healthier relationships with their children. Why? Having a social circle provides them with people to lean on during stressful times, the study’s psychologists said.

This is just one of the many recent studies changing the way we see mothers. Long story short? You should stop feeling guilty for your girls’ nights out—and start booking them more often!

Originally published as The Best Moms in the World Have This Trait in Common on ReadersDigest.com.