Moms Need Play Dates, Too

I just got back from a play date. I haven’t had a chance to hang out with my friends since I got back from Mom and Dad’s so I made plans with one of my friends at church. Since we couldn’t work our schedules so that the dads would have the kids, we decided to let the kids have a “play date” so we could spend some time together. The kids thought it was all about them, but really, they just got to tag along on our play date. We sat on couches across from each other in my friend’s living room and interviewed each other for a couple of hours. We talked and listened and reconnected.

I have three really good friends here. I know more people than that, but I’ve only made tight connections with three.  Quite honestly, that’s more than I’d expected to have this year. We moved here towards the end of June last year and will move again some time in June this year. We aren’t in the witness protection program, we move because of my husband’s job, but sometimes it feels like we are. Every so often we re-invent our lives and start over somewhere new.

Every time we move I have to make a conscious decision to make new friends. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to just maintain long distance relationships with the friends I already have. Why invest in new people when I’m going to be leaving before I get to put down roots? Why make the next move any harder than it has to be? But I’ve realized that this is my life. It’s the only one I’ll have. I’d rather do this life thing with friends by my side than “lone ranger” it on my own. I don’t want to miss out on a single relationship that will make me stronger, make me better, make me more authentically the “me” that I really am.

I could Pollyanna Sunshine this story and tell you how truly wonderful it is that we get to live in such amazing places and have incredible experiences. That would be true. We’ve lived in places that people pay big bucks to vacation. And we’ve grown friendships in the different places  we’ve lived that we try to continue to cultivate. But quite honestly, it’s a lot of work. But as 40 breathes down my neck with its old-lady-bad-breath, I realize that with age comes wisdom, at least some of the time. Something that I now know for certain is that women need friends. Some of us need more friends than others. Some only need one best friend or soul mate. The number may not be important but the connection is. And we need to have other women in our lives. Sure my husband is my friend, but he’s not a wife. He’s not a mom. He tries to empathize, but he can’t replace my girl friends.

I’m sure you’ve read books, or if you’re a mom, magazine articles (Who gets a chance to read chapter books with babies in the house?) about how women are the more relational of the genders. I think one reason may be that women love good stories. Have you seen the Lifetime Channel, for crying out loud? We like to know people’s stories about who they are and what they do and what they think and say. Why else would I invest time from my day to read blogs written by women I’ve never met about their lives and thoughts and wishes and dreams? I think it’s not only the stories that we appreciate, but we love it when people are transparent and let us see them for who they really are.

So who am I today? I’m a girl who feels so blessed to have some amazing women in my life. Whether they’ve been in my life long enough to know where the bodies are buried or they’re so new that they don’t even know whether I like Coke or Pepsi (definitely only Coke), I’m grateful to have them and believe with all my heart that they’re worth the effort it takes to keep them in my life.

Scheduled any play dates for yourself lately?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Moms Need Play Dates, Too

  1. What a wonderful post. We are relational and do need friends. Just last week, I felt foolish, but it was totally a God thing–a woman I’ve known for years and I got together, and we’ve been friendly, but we really just put down our defenses and said, ” Hey, I need someone to be friends with. Deep friends. Reliable friends. Hearts friends.” It was totally His timing because we just about finished each other’s sentences.

    My next playdate is being scheduled shortly. I have a darling brunette blogger from CO which I’m going to MIRL in about a week. Yay!

    Also, I’m going to a ladies night at my church tomorrow if i can find a sitter. I usually don’t like to go to big functions because I’m a small group kind of gal, but they’re gonna be playing Wii. How bad could that be?

    You’re right in that it takes effort to step out and live life by making/choosing friends. But when I make the effort, I usually don’t come home regretting it. Rather, I regret it if I stay home on the couch.

  2. I love playdates for myself and the kiddos…even if they are a little covert ;)…

    I honestly do not know what I do without my “Whimzie’s” (did you read my comment at CPQ)? My hub is so grateful too b/c he gets the condensed milk version and my girls don’t mind if I spill the whole gallon!!

    I like want to read your autobiography or something!! If you move to Georgia, there’ll be one less friend to make!! 🙂

  3. carpoolqueen

    I used to be one of those “keep the circle close” kind of people, but the older I get, the more I want to cast a wider net. Maybe it’s because I’m more confident, maybe it’s because I’m wiser…who knows…all I know is there are some really neat people out there who enrich my life. Like you. In case I haven’t told you in the last twenty minutes.

  4. Nice post. I came over here from Carpool Queen’s blog. I think this is really good insight, and I needed to hear it. I am really enjoying the friendships that I am finding here in bloggy land. I guess maybe because they dont require too much from me. I dont know why, but it just seems easier than connecting with new people face to face. Maybe its just me.

    Anyhoo, good post.

  5. I hear you.

    We are a military family who has moved 6 times in 14 years. And it IS hard to always be on the move.

    I have had that same choice to make: live lonely or take the chance and make some friends. Been so glad to have decided to pick the harder choice…my life is richer for it!

    You and CPQ crack. me. up.

  6. I’m new to your blog, and it might embarrass you for me to say this, but it is my new favorite! I’ve read back a couple of months into your archives and laughed hysterically more times than I can count. I feel like I’ve gotten to know you well, and I am blessed by it. I made your crack popcorn stuff last night and loved it. I’ve prayed for your dad and related to many of your words, so thank you for that. This post was especially meaningful to me b/c we moved to a new state two years ago and I have not, this is putting it lightly, adjusted well. I have resisted making friends, and it’s starting to catch up with me. I loved this post and I think you are right about it all.

  7. Deena

    Beautiful thoughts on the friendships of women! I’m so thankful that FB and the blog world have put you, Susan and so many others back into my life. I afraid I didn’t appreciate you girls enough back in the day.

    Blessings to you!
    Deena

  8. I’m a big fan of playdates! And yeah, Gretchen and I have one scheduled for next week!

    I have lots of friends, Amy, but only a handful of heart friends that love me–good and bad. I don’t know how to function in this life without friends…and I’m glad you’re one of them.

  9. deb

    Playdates after the kids are gone to school or gone from home and there’s really no justified reason to get together with friends, so at first you feel guilty for playdates with friends and no kids. But then you realize, you’re a better person because you spend time talking out your issues and most importantly laughing. A better person. A better wife. A better mother. A better you.
    Now, I relish those afternoons when I play hooky from life and meet my “peeps” at The Boardwalk for a burger and a chic flick! I go home laughing and fun to be with, not taking myself quite so seriously.
    Having moved a lot, I love having collections of friends in several states! I’m a change-aholic (no Celebrate Recover for that one!), so moving has been a great adventure, now that my children have settled in LA, moving has lost its glamour… but deep down, I miss nomad life!

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