Motherhood – Working motherhood – Friendship. Does anyone else find these concepts a bit of an enigma?
Marriage, parenting and full time work leave very little down time. Very little hang time. Never before have I had such little time and such monstrous need for girlfriends. In hindsight, this is one tidbit that I was completely unsuspecting of when starting our family. I love our nest, for sure. But a lot of times I need that look from a girlfriend that reassures that I am doing okay, and that I am not the first one to need reminding of how cute and precious my offspring truly are. Young children have the uncanny ability to physically surround you and yet leave you feeling overwhelmingly alone.
Friendship is definitely one aspect that changed dimensions for me while becoming a mom. They have saved me in my more challenging moments and buoyed me through the good. Ironically, these times have made me more grateful for my single days. It can be hard to appreciate at the time, but in hindsight, these are some of my most precious life memories. I shared a UGA dorm room the size of a shoebox with a wonderful friend, and small Atlanta apartments with multiples. Depending on who had need, there was always had 4-5 girls in a 2 bedroom. It was for affordability, but it was also incredibly good for the soul. Built in cheerleaders, encourages, smiling faces, tangible love that was willing to share cereal with you at any time day or night. This is the stuff that makes for life lessons and life lasting respect.
I really enjoy working out of the home. The other side of this is that I am fiercely protective of time with my kids on the weekends. I simply don’t want to be a part from them. My weekends are times to catch up on tickling and giggling, and loving that can be otherwise rushed during the week. Because of this, I don’t think to hang out with girlfriends. But I still need them. How does one, while bouncing one on the hip, and chasing another, still make that bonding happen? For me, the jury is still out, but I think vulnerability is key. I have women that I rarely hang out with that I can trust my guts with. The good, the awesome, the bad, the really ugly. I can tell you how it is and be safe. I never thought I could share so much with you while physically seeing you so little. God has met me in the season of hectic-ness and provided.
At some point in life, you realize that some people like you, some people don’t. You do the best you can to treat others with love and respect, and you find women that you can reveal your real self to on a regular basis – void of doubt and insecurity. So, for now, I carry on and try and tell you how I am really doing in the brief moments we do have to fellowship. I try and tell you what I am learning, and that the new lipstick you’re trying looks awesome on you and you are doing a great job at mothering. I try and tell you about the recent sale I saw, a cool new recipe, and how the other day I thought of your dad, or your sister, and that I prayed for your sick family member. I tell you how much I really appreciate that you noticed my new, bold nail polish, because, well, there is typically never new or bold about my fashion 🙂 I try and admit the low points of the week so you can keep me in prayer. I try this, because this is what girlfriends do. I try and initiate a playdate if it looks like our kids mesh well. And then I open myself to another degree of vulnerability because, at the end of the day, you may not totally love my kid. And then I have to decide how big of a deal this to me, if one at all.
This happened. I was tempted to feel insecure, but then realized life truly is too short. It was the Easter party at daycare. Our enthusiastic daughter put her Easter basket on her head and wore it as a hat. I didn’t find it disruptive as her crew of 3 year olds were waiting semi–patiently to be released for their egg hunt. Her then “best friend” – these friendship dynamics start early – also put her basket on her head…. for about three seconds until her nearby mother urgently chastised her for being “inappropriate.” I let our daughter keep hers on her head. I suppose that makes me inappropriate, too? Perhaps. But, to be honest, it makes me inappropriately okay. I never heard from the mom again, no call for play dates, though we have each other’s number. Maybe I took it too personally, or maybe she is too busy… or maybe she is at home blogging on working mom friendships too :). Either way, this exchange helped to see that you put yourself out there and there isn’t a match every time, so you treasure it when there is. With motherhood, you truly get the packaged deal – to find people your whole family plays well with is a gift.
Friendships – they are truly a tricky necessity of life. They take time to cultivate, even trickier when you go through life seasons that don’t afford a whole lot of time. For those seasons, you just keep praying, keep laughing, and hugging on those precious people you do have. Because another season is coming… in due time. And in that season, when you do sit down with a girlfriend and mug of coffee, you will actually get to finish that good stuff while it is still warm :).