The love I have for my friends runs deep. I grew up with a tight knit group that originated in a kindergarten class room. We spent countless hours creating memories. From girl scouts to soccer games and from sleepovers to proms, the only thing on our schedules was each other. Similarly, in college, I was lucky enough to bond with a group of women during the first weeks of freshman year and we never left each other’s sides throughout our four years together. Once I entered the “real world”, it was a little daunting to put myself out there to new people given my history of long term friendships. I was unfamiliar with the concept that some friendships only last a season and I wondered whether or not it was even possible to make new friends as a grown up because – – is that even something adults do?! As the dynamics of my adolescent friendships changed, almost entirely because of the physical distance between us, I was lonely. I missed my girls! I found myself having no choice but to branch out and build a new support network.
My network expanded further when I became a mom. I had an insatiable need to talk about the ins and outs of motherhood. My babies actually made it easier for me to make friends. As a mom,it was less intimidating, for me, to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger knowing that at face value, we at least had our kids in common. We are all painfully aware that in some circles being a mom can be divisive with all the judgment slinging that occurs, but I was lucky that was not my experience. I found I was able to quickly make a connection during a MyGym open play date and solidify it with exchanges of tormented nap schedules and potty training victories over luke warm coffee. I am beyond thankful for these women and for having the opportunity to learn from each one of them. They lead me to answers when I’m struggling to ask the right questions. These women inspire and energize me. They celebrate my successes and make me, not only a better mom, but a better person. I’m so happy to say the doubts that were initially holding me back were completely unfounded.
What I do find extremely challenging, particularly now that my kids are older and busier, is maintaining these relationships. The number of competing priorities everyone is trying to manage make it near impossible for friendship to rise to the top of the list. I’ve clicked with some dynamic moms only to have the relationships fizzle into countless promises that: “We REALLY need to get together”. And I’m just as guilty of it as the next person because unless your kid is on my kid’s soccer team…I’ll be gone ‘til November. Sadly, if it wasn’t for social media and texting, I’d be nowhere when it comes to friendship. It’s another example of a mom putting everyone else’s needs and wants before her own and to that I say: STOP! While we support our children to fully participate in life, I can’t help but think we are all missing out on something – each other. When did we get to this place when actively engaging in a friendship is a luxury?
I totally understand why we don’t make the conscious decision to make cultivating our friendships a priority and it’s not because we don’t love our friends. I get it. However, I am confident in saying we could all do better in the Saving Sisterhood Department.
It’s like taking a trip to the gym: You don’t always have time or energy to go, but you never regret going. So. Who’s in for a proper Girls Night Out???