If you have read any of my blogs this summer you know I have spent a lot of time finding adventures for me and the kids to enjoy. Well, this weekend I left them at home and celebrated my 40th birthday. Turning 40 wasn’t nearly as painful as I imagined. I still feel seventeen! I wish I had the time and resources to take a nice fantasy trip as I did with my 30th birthday, but I’m a mom now. My life is pretty low key compared to what it used to be. Instead I opted for an intimate gathering of friends at a local winery. We sipped on wine while chatting and watching the sunset. It was just lovely to be surrounded by good friends, good wine and a good vibe to usher in the next decade.
I had some really great friends to celebrate with. Some “old friends” and some new. At one point I thought it was a great mix of my past, present and future. My good friend “Di” stayed at my house. We met in college and have remained friends since. After celebrating at the winery we went home and poured another glass of wine and chatted until 3 a.m. I have not had a late night drinking conversation since. . . well, since I can’t remember when. I imagined being exhausted the next day and feeling completely useless. But, to my surprise I actually felt recharged and ready to face the day.
Staying home with kids can be lonely. The days can just run right into years and you wake up one day and realize everything around you has changed, but you’re still the same. You miss your friends and how easy it was to get together with them. I think moms, it is important that you take some time to connect with friends without your kids around. We love those cutie pies, but in order to feel like we’ve nurtured some important piece of our hearts, we need to engage with our friends fully. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy finishing sentences. I never thought that would be one of the most exciting things I could do in a day, but it is!
So, here are some ways we can stay connected to our friends:
- Schedule a time to chat. I have literally set a phone reminder to call my friends at a mutual time we are both without kids. It can be difficult to find times that match, but when we can it is like stars and moons aligning! To be able to freely talk and express myself without interruption, or worry about minding the language for little ears, eases some of the tension in my day (or week).
- Write a letter. We barely have time for a phone call, so how will we have time to write a letter? A letter could be a simple quick card that says, “I’m thinking of you,” or a quick email to say how much you miss your friend. Even a quick text message to ask how their day is, or to follow up on the last conversation that was cut short goes a long way! These small gestures keep you connected to what is currently happening in each others lives.
- Skype. A phone call is great- but sometimes you have friends far off and just miss seeing them in person. You can’t Skype a hug, but you can definitely share a cup of coffee and fill each other in on life.
- Get away from the kids. Seriously, it’s OK to hire a sitter so you can have a date with friends. I know I often feel guilty leaving hubby behind because our time together is limited too. But, navigating friendships and deepening connections during a play date with kids screaming is just not going to happen. Go out for a meal, go for a hike or check out an art show at a museum. Find a kid free space where you can chat and connect and enjoy your conversation.
I know it is hard to find time for ourselves most days, let alone someone else outside our home. But, our friends are our village. They sustain us as we travel the lows in life and lift us up when we celebrate the highs. If nothing else making time for friends teaches our kids how to make time for their own friendships when they become tired, overworked parents.
The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.