Motherhood: Friendships of the Authentic Kind
Over time you can lose touch with relationships, especially with how easy it is to “appear” connected these days. One simple text, like, or comment seems to keep you up to date or even just simple stalking pictures makes you feel like you’re there some how. Life is busy, if you have kids add an extra amen to the busy, if you have a job or two, stay at home, whatever it is the last thing often on your mind can be friends…I know for me it has felt like a luxury almost to be connected to women that I like and like me in all of my crazy.
For some time I started to distance myself. I’ve learned over the years that people will only take so many excuses and missed hangouts until they just stop asking. Ministry or just plain tiredness often translates “I don’t have time,” even if it’s not entirely true. So I don’t set my hopes up high, and I’ve learned to be honest with any new potential friends…like “hey I’m not uncool, but just so you know things can get really uncool when I can’t be available often…” because I know my priorities are not sweet little ducks waddling behind one another – but rather a monster truck rally smashing into unsuspecting cars knowing the end is near (it’s not that terrible, but you get the gist). But I am so grateful though for the friends and women that have come in and out of my life, whether they know it or not.
As a young girl I remember desiring so badly to be liked, to have friends, to be popular… I would do anything (don’t tell my mom, even if I’m turning 30) or become anyone to “fit in.” Then I grew up and still struggled with the internal desire to be a part or claimed in a group. No matter how hard I’ve tried I’ve always felt like I didn’t quite “fit in.” My anxiety after Titus took off on a level for many months that caused my normal introvert nature to skyrocket into a hermit crab/ borderline recluse. Which most people would have never known, because I still functioned decently in ministry and as a pastor’s wife from the outside…
I’ve come to terms though with my personality versus my desire, but it doesn’t stop me from knowing that I need friends and most importantly women in my journey. To those that say they don’t like having women as friends, I tell them they just haven’t found a woman willing to really be their friend: no strings attached, but willing to ride the waves of authentic relationship (including the fights). Once you’ve found one, you really can withstand the others that pass through.
I’ve been called a bad friend, I’ve lost friends, I’ve left friends, but in all of that I still value friendship. I recently went through several months where all of those things were happening. I felt terrible because the mixture of my family, life in ministry, and the overcast of anxiety really didn’t give off the vibe that I wanted any friends or even wanted to be a friend. Most nights I cried, I felt stressed, I didn’t know why I thought having a second baby was gonna make motherhood super amazing and easy. So it made it that much tougher that all my lines of communication were strained, and I was at a loss of how to fix them. Some still aren’t, that’s the truth…and that’s okay.
Because in that time the stillness of knowing that especially in this season as a woman and mother you need friends, I had to get over it day by day. Less time appearing engaged and more time showing up face-to-face. As a woman we all need other women, from all different backgrounds and life experiences than ours. I love reading posts about the types of women you need in your life as a mom and I often laugh, because you really need ALL types of women. As women we are so complex and multi-faceted that it never really fits into specific categories and every season requires a change in friendships, because YOU CHANGE. I’ve just begun to realize that about myself more and more. The woman I am today is nowhere near who I was a year ago or even six months…and I become better when I have other women beside me to continue to nurture and foster the changes I want more of and those I need less of.
So with that I say…I’ve been called a bad friend, I’ve lost friends, I’ve left friends, but I will always be and need a friend to walk this life with. Women are strong beautiful and gifted and authentic friendships bring the best out of us as women, as mothers, and beyond those things.