Friendships are hard. At least for me. Growing up, I was a tomboy–one of the guys–with a fierce independent streak. I never had a lot of girl friends. I also moved around a bit, so I don’t have any friends that I’ve known since elementary school. College and grad school brought dear friends–kindred spirits–but distance keeps us apart these days.
My husband is my absolute best friend, and I’m lucky to be married to him. We’ve had lots of adventures and have moved across country a few times in our nearly decade-long marriage. Its easy to be best friends with him, especially because we’re both slightly weird.
Adult friendships, though, are difficult for me, especially with other women. Wonderful and worth it, but a lot of work. You have to plan. You have to be persistent sometimes. As adults we have jobs or spouses or various responsibilities that weren’t necessarily factors in college. Plus, we’re getting old and tired.
And, let’s face it, women bring all kinds of baggage to the mix. We compare ourselves to each other. We have the tendency to try and make our lives and homes and relationships look perfect. We try to make our bodies look attractive and fashionable (and its not always for the men, either). Honestly, it can get confusing. And exhausting.
And then you have kids. (Well, one kid for me so far).
Amazing beautiful kid(s).
But messy, time-consuming, germ-bearing, I-want-to-spend-all-my-time-with you kid(s).
Cultivating friendships become so much harder! There doesn’t seem to be enough time in a day for all of the things we have to do. I work full time, my house isn’t clean (or even presentable), and my kid won’t nap when he’s supposed to. Who has time to meet for coffee? I haven’t even gone to the grocery store for the week. And my brain is too tired to have a deep, meaningful conversation, anyway.
The other day I got to feeling down for a moment, and thought, “I don’t have any friends.” But as I sat on the couch and pouted, I realized that I’m absolutely wrong about that. I am surrounded by a community of wonderful, caring women, and I have developed deep relationships with my coworkers.
Its just friendships look different when you are an adult, especially when you have kids. I don’t have on-going texts or call friends all the time. I’m not attached at the hip with anyone (other than my son, right now). We don’t hang out every weekend. When I have time alone, I kinda want to stay alone. Sometimes, I expect to have BFF friendships like I did in college or like you see on tv. The reality is that, more often than not, girls nights are few and far between, we forget to keep in touch with people, we say we’ll get dinner but never put anything on the calendar. And then life happens and weeks and months go by.
And that’s okay.
I’m adjusting my expectations. I’m making more of an effort to cultivate relationships while cherishing our family time, too. I literally have a list written in my planner of people we’ve been meaning to get together with, and every week or two I make a point to put something on the calendar with someone. A friend of mine and her husband designate Thursdays as time to get together with other people. We have a community of friends, some of whom we see regularly, and others occasionally. And, we’re building new friendships too. And none of these friendships look like the ones I had in college. And I’m learning that I like it that way.
I’m also learning that its okay to say “no” sometimes when our schedules do get too full. Some weekends I want to do nothing, spend time with my family, and (potentially) clean something. Having a community is also important, and we must be intentional about developing one.
How has having kids changed your friendships?