I wrote a piece about finding my village in Columbia a year or so ago. I love that post as it references a time in my life that I felt truly desperate to find a friend and desperate times call for desperate measures. I literally made my husband and kids go on a blind date with a random couple from a Buy/Sell/Trade local site. Looking back, what was I thinking? And then again, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. That couple is still one of our best friends and we see them weekly for pizza and beer nights at each others’ houses.
But as hard as it was to find my village – and I’m always looking to add more people to it – maintaining my village is that much harder.
Why is it so difficult to make and keep friends after kids?
I saw a friend of mine who lives one street over from me walking with her husband and kids today. We were pulling out of my driveway when I rolled down the window and hollered after her. She yelled from afar, “We will have to get together one of these days!” And I called back “One of these days!” I knew these were simply words. It would be months before I would talk to her again.
I get it … I understand. When you spend day after day buried under tiny bodies that depend on you for everything and combine it with the mountain of laundry and housework that never ends, and the husband who still wants to have some sort of physical contact with the woman he married, and the job that expects 150% of your mind, body, and soul for at least 40-50 hours a week, it’s difficult to think you have anything left to give a girlfriend who has all those same responsibilities, obligations, and burdens.
And as much as I want to excuse it from happening, is it really fair to anyone to say, “See you in ten to fifteen years when my kids are somewhat self-sufficient!”?
No, I need you now. I need to be able to go out for a glass of wine and an adult dinner that doesn’t revolve around my husband or my job or my kids. I need to give you a hug and congratulate you on losing ten pounds, giving up cable, or getting that raise at work. I need you to raise your glass to me when I toast us having kept our children alive another day. I need to gossip about my workplace drama. I need to tell you about a new recipe I tried out from Pinterest that was a complete fail. I need to share with you a piece of me that gets lost from time to time. You are the person that brings me back to the woman I was before I became “Mommy” and “Wife” and “Boss.” With you, I am simply “Friend.” And it’s so much fun.
As much as it’s so easy to push our friends off to another day, another time – when it’s “easier,” let me give it to you straight — it will not get easier.
Be there for one another. Carve out an evening for your friend or a morning to talk over the phone and have an actual conversation. Make sure that “one of these days” comes sooner rather than later.
Friends are just as important as the other areas of your life. Don’t let these important relationships go unattended. Foster them. Nurture it. Keep it afloat even when times are tough. You’ll be glad you did.