Recently, my husband and I spent a weekend away without our kids and instead with one of our favorite couples.
It was a night in a hotel. It was meals shared. We spent a lot of time laughing at ourselves and about crazy things we deal with as parents on a daily basis. We shared truths about the hard things we are going through.
It was pure goodness and it made my soul dance and my heart happy.
After returning home, we were of course happy and excited to see our kids but it got me thinking . . .
- How many people do we have in our lives currently who we would be happy to share that kind of weekend with?
- How many friends do we have together and individually that bring us this much joy and love?
As I began thinking about this, I realized that that number had dropped . . . and is definitely not the number it once was.
I have since taken some time to reflect on why:
- I am not sure if it is because of the pandemic and people are so used to being in isolation that they forget how to reach out or return calls and texts?
- I am unsure if this is because people have become so rooted in their political beliefs that they are unable to hear or listen to someone else who may have a differing viewpoint?
- I am unsure if it is the heaviness of the world we are currently living in that we are all just in survival mode in trying to keep our families safe and we are rarely making time for anyone outside of our family unit?
Whatever the reason, this weekend taught me that as a mom, woman, and spouce, I need these kinds of friendships.
- I want friends who are going to love and support me despite my kids . . . who at times seem out of control.
- I want friends who aren’t going to judge me if my child is having a difficult day.
- I want friends who I can be real with and share the joys of motherhood with and to share the really hard days with.
We need those friends who we can cry with when being a parent is hard. Those who will hold our hand when we feel like we are messing our kids up and remind us that we aren’t.
I attended a motherhood conference several years ago with two of my mom friends and the day was filled with wonderful speakers who lifted me up and gave me great things to think about and ways to grow. One speaker stuck out to me so much that I still remember her talk nearly seven years later.
She said to surround yourself with “bedroom friends.” What is a bedroom friend? A bedroom friend is a friend you can invite to the most intimate spaces in your life. We can freely and unconditionally be ourselves without fear of judgment or ridicule. These friends will be there to laugh with us, cry with us, and let us be who we are without judgment. They keep our confidence and they offer the best kinds of advice and support.
We need connection. I have learned that I want to invest my time and energy in people who are going to return that love. I want to invest in people who send a text just to say, “I am thinking about you.” I want to invest in people who are going to love unconditionally.
Parenthood is hard. It is very, very hard. It is not a road that should be walked alone. We are meant to be there to lift each other up and to speak wisdom when necessary.
We want friendships that are going to make us better people and better parents — and bring fun and joy.
I have also found that it is important to have couple friends who can do the same thing for us as couples. I think, for men, it is generally harder to talk about things that are stressful as a parent. It is hard to admit that they need support, too. It is so important to have those friends who are not afraid to share and speak real-life truths.
Men also need community and connection . . . just as much as women do even if they will not admit that. In the world we are living in today, there are so many things that are hard to navigate and the right way is not always clear. We need friends to help us figure out how to teach our kids to be strong, resilient, self-sufficient, and most of all loving humans. This can be done only with our faith and with people around us to share the journey with.
I have come to learn with friendships, it is quality over quantity. We need people who know and love us well and are willing to walk alongside us.
If you are feeling discouraged during this pandemic, and in general think about the people who have shown up consistently for you. Surround yourself with those people.
- Take the couple’s trip.
- Go on the girl’s weekend.
This journey of parenthood is not for the faint of heart and so surround yourself with friends who make your journey just a little bit brighter and make the load a little bit lighter.