Long phone calls, hanging out every week, day trips, girls night, brunches, lunches, coffee… it’s all very important to the sisterhood of women. Nobody can deny how these times feed our souls, and there is always a place for connectivity.
While being supportive traditionally has a lot to do with being physically present with someone, there’s a much needed and desired flip side to that in this season of motherhood and female adult life that doesn’t always get talked about or explored.
It’s giving each other the space to be and grow without guilt and still be there unconditionally. It’s allowing the dynamic and love language between us to look a little different and have that still be okay. This allows our friendships to be a space of relational energy that feels safe and free, not like a burden or an additional place of shortcomings.
We are all a version of a visionary, we're all creating. I don't care if you're creating a family, a business, a movement, a lifestyle...or all of it. Every role in this season requires us to approach it as a visionary. It's intense and we are all really trying. I know it’s not the intention of any of us to hurt our friends, but we all have to also be conscious of how much unrealistic pressure we might not even realize that we put on each other sometimes.
I know many women would enjoy an unsaid understanding of support in the form of permission to breathe and just be without worrying that it will come with judgment, hurt feelings, offense, shade, the passive aggressive "hey stranger....." texts, getting talked about or having it become such an issue that becomes one of “those” discussions. You know the one.
Everyone says "no" is a complete sentence, but lets be realistic... those are the realities that come on the other side of saying it.
So, how do we do this?
We all just have to adjust our perspective from being so “inflicted” and self focused. She’s not forgetting you, she discovering deeper layers of herself and the world around her. It’s not that she doesn’t miss you, she just misses having some time for herself to fill back up. She’s not being a bad friend, she’s being a great woman, wife and mother. She’s not “too busy” for you, she being courageous and trying to balance chasing the dreams inside of her.
I want my girls to “say no” to me for now and give themselves permission to “say yes” to things that are being revealed or evolving within them. I hope that’s how I can be a good friend to my girls in this phase of our existence.
But, what does this actually look like in everyday life?
1. You don’t have to feel pressure about scheduling or coming to every event, activity, lunch date, coffee date, or get together.
A common theme I’m hearing from fellow mothers and women of our age group is how “booked out” we all are every weekend and throughout the week in most cases. If the weekend and days are so scheduled full of events what kind of memories or stories are being made as a family? Overly packed doesn’t leave room for those “hey, why not” style days together that led to great experiences.
When you look back you’ll wish you did more spontaneous stuff, you’ll realize these are the good ol’ days and you really are in the space of your life where you have permission to decide what your time looks like, whether you realize it or not.
I’m not saying don’t make the effort to celebrate with your people, because that in itself is a beautiful memory maker that means a lot to all involved. I’m saying don’t make coming or going to every single event the ultimate test and measurement of friendship. It’s not fair. Understand that your friend is not only making a decision about her own schedule now, but possibly the personal time of 2 or more other people too. She has to be conscious and respectful of that.
2. You don’t have to feel bad about taking time to be present and available for yourself and your family.
Calls. Texts. Emails. Comments. We all try to answer them right away, right? But, sometimes we really can’t. We might see the message but we have 10 things pulling on us in the moment. Once we do finally get a moment where we could respond we’re exhausted and want nothing more a few minutes of quiet, or to just catch up or check-out. But, then we feel bad because we feel like we’re not being a good friend.
Now, if you really need your girl and you need one on one time to talk or you have something pressing going on, just say it! Keep the lines of communication totally transparent. Most of us have decision and problem solving fatique. Nobody has any extra energy to mind read or assume. And, I’m not saying never respond or ignore when others reach out to you. I’m saying don’t judge someone if they take “too long” or simply forget to respond. I don’t want my girls always on their phone and her family and her family and self care times are getting less attention because of me.
I want my girls to be as available as possible in their life. We have to learn to adjust and evolve together without resentment. Space doesn’t have to look like neglect or abandonment, it can look like pure love and support. It’s a balance.
They always say when you care about something you make the time for it. I agree. That’s why I say please go ahead and make time for you and your family. I’ll be here for you, doing the same for myself and my family. We’re in such a unique season that is so full. Don’t distract it for each other by putting unrealistic pressure on a time we all looked forward to as we we’re growing up, and will look back on when we’re older.
We are the village, and this is just another way we can cover each other and evolve together.