Chicago mom: Make time for friends

I recently saw a Facebook post from a fellow mom lamenting the fact that she lacked any good local friends. She stated she had great friends whom she connected with online but none close by that she could actually get together with. My heart broke a little for her because although I now know the joy of an abundance of friends, I’ve been right where she is before.

The thing that really struck me was another online friend of hers commented that she also had no local friends, but that she was in that situation deliberately because she didn’t have time for friends!

Wait, back up the bus! Trust me, I know that moms are busy. I have three boys and just ONE of their activity lists includes tackle football, flag football, baseball, basketball, band, student council, robotics and Cub Scouts. In addition to the typical homework, shopping, cooking and laundry routine, I also work a full time office job AND write part time. I KNOW busy.

I also know that relationships, friendships included, take work. But life is all about priorities. I make time for the things that matter most to me FIRST, then the rest gets done as I am able. I obviously must provide for my family, that’s a given. I feed, clothe and house my kids. I fulfill their physical needs first. However, I believe that our emotional needs are not that much less important.

In our house, education is critical. I want my boys to grow up to be responsible adults who are able to support themselves. If they can find a job doing something that they truly enjoy that will be a huge win in my book. But I also feel that I need to teach them how to be happy, good people. Barbra Streisand wasn’t lying when she sang, “people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.”

Our children NEED friends to be happy. Don’t we want our children to have friends?

How then, do we expect them to grow friendships if they don’t see good examples of friendships play out in their lives? I struggled a long time with maintaining friendships because I always felt like I was a burden on others. I handled everything on my own, often suffering in silence, because I didn’t want to bring anyone else down. But I wouldn’t want my kids to live their lives that way. Thankfully, some people were brought into my life that wouldn’t let me run and hide when I really needed friends the most. As I opened up and let these people in, I found that not only were they invaluable people in my life, but also in my kids’ lives.

And as I relearned how to be a good friend, I found it easy to make the time to reconnect with old friends. My kids can clearly see the difference too as I used to only get together with friends on special occasions, but now we get together regularly to celebrate anything and anything.

Not only am I leading by example and hopefully helping my boys learn how to make and grow true friendships, but being surrounded by real friends makes me a better, happier person and as a result, a better mom. So how can you NOT have time for friends?

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