Motherhood Series | inspiring you to make the most of this window of our lives that has little people dwelling in our homes & hearts
Have you ever felt like you had a lot of friends but don’t actually feel close & connected to them? Or maybe you felt connected, but kids happened and you feel like you barely have time to shower, let alone spend quality time with your friends?
If you’re feeling that pull towards deep connection with other moms, you’re not alone. The camaraderie between two women who are both traveling this journey can be deep, inspiring and life-giving. But motherhood has a tendency to push out other relationships that used to be so important and valued to you. It’s not that you don’t value friendship; it’s that you feel like it’s one more thing to keep up with.
My natural inclination in these moments is to pull back and exercise self-preservation. But I realized that that is the last thing I should be doing. I realized that my mindset had to change. I had to redefine my definition of friendship & connectedness.
It’s bittersweet, but this meant that some of my friends and I drifted apart after I had kids. It was a slow progression and not intentional, but natural to surround yourself with others who understand your day-to-day struggles. I feel blessed to have quite a few women that I know I can turn to for anything. It didn’t happen overnight though. There was a lot of slow growth in finding community.
Do you feel like you need to start at square one? Maybe you’ve recently moved and you know zero people in your new city? I would suggest looking for a MOPS group, mom’s group at your church (or start one!), women’s Bible study or join a group with similar interests (i.e.. running group, gardening, creative group like Rising Tide Society, whatever your interest is).
So, how do you actually go about finding community around you? The tips I’m going to share with you have deepened my friendships and allowed me to feel surrounded by a community of women who care about me and my family. I’ll warn you though, it’ll require a little bit of elbow grease!
Tips for Finding Community
- Reach out first – It’s easy to sit back and hope people come to you. If this is your approach, you may never feel that sense of community. Everyone’s plate is full because they are focused on their own families. Be the one who who reaches out and initiates. Pick one to two people you would like to know better and invite them to your house for a playdate with your kids, go out for coffee or meet for a walk at the local park. The possibilities are endless.
- Embrace slow growth – At this stage in my children’s lives (2 and almost 4), there is only so much time outside of my family, business & home renovations that I have. I try to make the most of my time that I get with my friends knowing that it may be a few months before I see that person again. I have found that the older my girls get, the easier it is to meet up with friends during the day for fun activities.
- Invite them into your mess – This is probably the hardest one for me. I am a perfectionist and I want everything to look good before anyone comes over. Part of this is because I like things to be neat, but I also want people to feel comfortable when they come over. I’ve had to embrace inviting people over when a wall in our living room had exposed insulation and multiple light fixtures were missing which left a nice hole in the ceiling. We also have two children who live here. I will always have the tendency to tidy up before people come over. Some days I relax that behavior, other days I do not. I’m a work in progress too! 😉
- Be an encourager – Mamahood is hard. You’re teaching your children how to act, talk, behave and interact with others. It’s not always what they want or like. I remember when Reese was a baby and we thought that she just kept us up all night for fun. We didn’t really think that, but when you’re sleep deprived, giving so much of yourself to them and wondering when you last showered…it can be a little depressing. Send a friend an encouraging card, text or call. Yep, I said make a call. I know, I dislike talking on the phone as much as you do. Stockpiling cards and sending them when you feel like a friend could really use it is one of my favorite ways to encourage my girlfriends.
- Create the community – Host a wine night, plan a dinner out, start a women’s Bible study group, sign up a group for a 5K, have a BBQ at your house for all of your friends’ families and have them bring a side dish. Sometimes you have to be the one that plans it. In the past, I’ve gotten frustrated about that because I felt like I often had to be the one that planned it. But if that’s your gift, then your friends are likely delegating that role to you subconsciously. Suggest that you’ll plan this one if someone plans the next one.
Sometimes, you have to be the one that sticks your neck out and starts the engagement. It’s not always comfortable and you may not always get a yes. You would be surprised though how your friendships will change when you invest in each other during this messy & beautiful slice of your life.
Need to catch up on other posts in the Motherhood Series? Here you go: