Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing real moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply.

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It’s so easy to get stuck in a routine controlled by family. Whether you’re married, divorced or a single parent, your own life and those of your family members are busy enough to occupy all the minutes in your day. There’s no denying that investing in quality time with your spouse, significant other and children is extremely important, especially in today’s fast-moving and technological world, but making time for your friends is just as important. Below are three reasons why.

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Friends are good sounding boards. Whether it’s an idea for a new business or you want to make a drastic change to your hair on a whim, your friends are the perfect sounding board. Because they are not in your immediate family, friends have the ability to look at things from all the angles and provide insight in ways you may not see from your perspective. And let’s face it, husbands struggle to keep up with 20,000 words we women use in a day compared to their 7,000! (via Huffington Post)

>> Read more: Redefine Your BFF: Best Fit Friends

You need a support system. Families are great vehicles of love and support; however, conflict does arise with them. When that happens, you must have trusted friends you can turn to. Even when it’s not a family issue, friends are an added layer of support and encouragement. Making time to regularly meet or talk with your friends allows both them and you to know what’s happening in each other’s lives. When the time to call on your support system comes, they’ll be ready to circle around.

You’re alike, yet different. If you looked at your group of friends, it is likely many of you have similar tastes and interests. But each friend you have brings with her (or him) likes and passions different than yours. Having set, regular time to hang out with your friends allows you to try new cuisines, visit different places or start new hobbies. We are more likely to try out new things when they are introduced by a friend. Making time for friends opens us up to new experiences that we can share with our families in turn.

Making time for friends looks different for all of us. It may be a weekly coffee date, a book club or monthly girls’ night out. Sometimes it can be as simple as making a phone call while sitting in the school pickup lane or while waiting at a child’s practice. However it works for you and your group of friends, be intentional. Schedule it and stick to that schedule. After all, there’s a reason The Beatles sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”