How are you feeling about your friendships these days?
Community and connection are so important for moms. Yet, making mom-friends and maintaining those relationships can be tricky. Add to that the nuances of a pandemic and you’ve got yourself a recipe for bad-friend-soup garnished with self-doubt and a side of isolation.
Would you like fries with that? Because stress-eating pairs quite nicely with the soup du jour.
Who are your 5 people?
Personal development gurus will tell you that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
If you’re a mom in a pandemic (which means I’m talking to ALL of you), you are likely the average of your partner, your 2.5 kids, and the Amazon delivery dude. Which is cool. They are all top-notch folks.
But, are they really your people when it comes to defining YOU?
By the way, I know that only adds up to 4.5 but after a year of home-learning, I feel pretty confident in stating that if you use the “new math” you can get it to equal 5.
So, who are your 5 people? If you could handpick them, who would you choose to spend your time with? Who are the people who bring out the best in you and challenge you to be your best you?… Listen to you and understand you through the tough times?… Help hold you accountable to your goals and dreams yet remind you to give yourself grace when you need it? Who do you laugh with and who can you cry with? Who can you talk with for hours and sit in comfortable silence with? (And, who doesn’t judge you when you end sentences with a preposition?)
Resources to help answer these questions…
There are so many good nuggets in this week’s recommended Smart Reads. The titles alone are telling but the articles are truly worth the read. Have a look for yourself:
🎗 The real reason it’s so hard to make mom friends
🧗🏽♀️ 5 types of friends that every mom needs
🗂 What the 5 People Closest to You Say About Your Future
🥗 In The Company Of Women: The Pandemic Void Only My Girlfriends Can Fill
👨👩👧👦 Having Mom Friends is Good for You and Your Kid, Study Says
📚 Book Recommendation: Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close
Friends like family
Reading these articles prompted me to consider my friendships. I’ve been fortunate over the years to accumulate several groups of dear friends and genuine relationships dating all the way back to elementary school.
Just today, I picked up my phone to find a text-chain-gone-wild from that “old” group; women I’ve been friends with for 35+ years. We don’t see each other often anymore but we connect fairly regularly and have a special bond that will last forever. When we do get together, I always pack extra skivvies because that crew makes me laugh that hard EVERY time we’re together.
Then there’s my Chicago framily, the friends I made after college when I moved to Chicago – alone – at 21. There’s something to be said for keeping friends from elementary school, but there’s something equally special about making friends in your twenties and holding onto them for life! This group truly became like family when I moved away from my own. We make it a point to get together a couple times a year and it fills my cup each time we do!
After marriage and kids came mom-friends. Despite meeting incredible women through various organizations, volunteer groups, and our kids’ school, this category has undoubtedly been the most challenging to foster.
It makes sense, after all. We’re all in the thick of navigating motherhood, managing our households, and working to be in happy, healthy relationships with our spouses and partners. Many are growing our careers, taking care of aging and sometimes ailing parents, and/or raising children with special needs.
The reasons that make our mom friendships challenging are the very reasons that we need them so desperately!
At Grace in the Race, we understand the value of community.
Before the pandemic, we had a vision of moms gathering in real life… for workshops and challenges, support and good old fashioned conversation. In lieu of in-person opportunities, we’ve established an online community to do all of these things!
We invite you and all moms to get in community with like-minded mamas. Let go of any worries you might have… that you won’t know anyone (you’ll get to know us in no time), that you won’t fit in (that’s for you to decide), that there will be judgement (ours is a judgement-free zone), that you won’t have anything in common with us (you will).
We’re all at a different point in the timeline of motherhood but that’s what makes community so valuable. You’ve been where other moms are now and other moms have been where you are now. We can reflect on our own experiences and lean on each other to get through the rough spots.
So whether you are already part of a thriving community or in search of one, we’d love to have you in ours!
Finally, let’s talk about the bad-friend stigma…
Let me ask you this… Are you doing the best you can?
The answer is yes. Believe it! We’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got!
If you feel like you’re letting people down, chances are, they feel the same way. Let go of any thoughts that “they” have this all figured out and are showing up for it, on point, 100% of the time. No one is. We’re wearing too many hats and spinning too many plates to be “that friend” all day, every day.
It’s a fine balance! Your true friends are the ones who recognize that we’re all in this together. We’re all dealing with the good, the bad and the ugly. And, we all need grace. Lean into those people. They get you!
In return, BE that true friend and you’ll yield a whole tribe of good people… your community… your mom friends! And remember you always have us.
All of this is especially challenging during the pandemic. Ugh, winter was particularly hard and isolating! Thankfully, spring is here! The weather is breaking and things are opening up again so make plans to see your girlfriends. Do it to your safety and comfort level but figure it out so you can see each other’s smiles again. Your heart will be full when you realize just how much you needed it!
Final note… I wrote this while vacationing with one of the truest friends a girl could have! (We tested and quarantined and vaccinated and did all the things in preparation.) Long ago, I gave her the nick name of Sunshine because she is always a bright, shining light in my life! I hope you have a person like Sunshine!
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