Friends

Sometimes I get so caught up in my daily activities that I forget that for a good 80% of the day it’s just Henry and me.  From the time my husband leaves to go to work and returns again 12 hours later (no, that wasn’t a typo) we are alone.  It’s a good thing I like the kid or else that could get a bit tiresome.

We go to play groups at least once every two weeks and we make the occasional trips to the library and such but we’re mostly by ourselves.  I do talk almost daily to my sister (who now lives in Kansas City with her family) which is nice. During our recent talks we’ve been discussing our friends, or lack thereof.  The consensus we have come to is that we have lots of friends, acquaintances, and such, but very few people that we can call and say “hey – I’m bored, can I come over?”

I became very aware of this situation this past week as I had not one, but two grown-up play dates with friends of mine.  It made me realize just how out of touch I’ve allowed myself to get.

I wonder why that is.  I admit that I’m horrible at staying in contact with people.  I have good intentions, of course, but life gets in the way and I get busy.  And that, for me at least, is the root of the problem — I’m busy and my friends are busy.  And trying to get together often requires scheduling and babysitters and travel, sometimes I just don’t have it in me.

But then I wake up one day and I wonder where my friends have gone.

Which is why I need to make more of an effort. I need to reach out to others and make myself “unbusy”.  So what if it’s a bit of a challenge to get together and so what if my child cries all the way there?  I need to do it.  I’m going to do it.

Because spending 80% of the day without grown up interaction can’t be good for anybody.  I know it’s not good for me and it’s probably not good for Henry either.

How do you make time for your friends?

Share/Save/Bookmark

Joanna - April 11, 2011 - 4:55 am

I find it takes a bit of effort, but really you just have to get over thinking everyone else has something to do and won’t want to hang out.
The part that takes effort (and courage) is being willing to be the one that calls and lets it be known you’re free for the day. :)
You also have to discover which friends like to do what. I have one friend that loves to do anything outside, so if the weather is nice and the kids & I are headed to the park, I call her to see if she wants to go. I have another that is really into couponing, so on Mondays we get together to go through the ads and work out our shopping strategy for the week (we also empty our fridge of leftovers and combine forces for lunch … a nice way to clean out the fridge, but a bit more exciting than just eating your own leftovers). I had another friend that recently moved that loved to get together with people as long as it was at her house. We’d get together and bake cookies, watch movies, or just hang out. These are the people I call when I’m sick and desperately need Gatorade, or I have a doctor’s appointment and need someone to watch my kids, or I’m going to go crazy if I’m left alone with my kids another minute!
It all takes time to get to the point that you feel like you know someone well enough to call and say, ” My kids are driving me batty … HELP!!!” Think through the friends you have now and pick one or two that you and Henry click with and make an effort to call each one several times this week just to say “Hi! What’s up with you guys today?” (This is also a great way to discover other things going on around town you might have missed.) If they have no plans, invite them over to hang out, let the kids loose in another room, and you guys sit down and chat. Take it beyond surface stuff and be a bit vulnerable. Let her see the dirty dishes in the sink; tell her about yesterday when your kid drove you up the wall asking for sweets every blessed meal; ask advice about areas you need help in. Talk beyond the kids as well … books you’ve read, something God has been laying on your heart, favotrte movies, something awesome the CPA has done for you lately :) . Anything is game (except petty gossip about mutual friends … those kinds of friends get boring fast!)
Sometimes you find you have nothing in common beyond the ages of your children. But sometimes you strike Friend Gold and discover a sister of your heart. Those are the ones that make it worth the work!

Mom of 5 - April 11, 2011 - 5:52 am

Joanna had some great insight….you have to realize that you just can’t sit back and “wait” on others to call you or reach out to you. You have to make a call or set up a date with your friends and I can promise you that you’ll be SOOOO glad that you did. It’s like going other places you sort of have to push yourself to go to and once there or when it’s all said and done and on your way home you say to yourself or your husband: “Boy I’m glad I went, I had such a great time!!!”

Get your routines down of packing up Henry quickly (I know how accidents happen with little guys, etc.) but get your routine down and then just head out a little more frequently. You’ll love the interaction with your friends, Henry will love getting out and love playing with others and both of you will then treasure even more your time together.

Have fun getting out…it’ll make you smile lots more and it’ll be nice to have conversations where you get back thoughtful replies not just cute smiles and a toy thrown in your face.

Kristy - April 11, 2011 - 6:10 am

It is hard to get out with grown ups with little ones in tow. I had a great friend before we moved, but I’m kind of between friends at the moment–having moved, but still not being where we plan to stay (hoping to get closer to the city) has made me really hesitant to forge those friendships.

I mostly stay in touch by phone or with the computer. One of these days I’ll actually sit down to chat with someone over a cup of coffee again!

admin - April 11, 2011 - 6:50 am

Joanna – I agree with my mom (Mom of 5) that you have some great insight. I like your suggestions to take it a step further and to make myself vulnerable. I didn’t realize it until you said it but I think I’ve been resisting doing just that. Sometimes it’s easier to just go with our daily routine then to get outside of my comfort zone. I appreciate the advice that you gave because it gives me suggestions on how to do just that. :)

Kristy – That’s got to be extra tough, not being sure how long you’re going to stay in an area. I feel for you!

Kristina P. - April 11, 2011 - 8:13 am

Even without kids, I’m pretty busy and it becomes tough. I also generally think about contacting someone when I’m in the middle of a meeting or something.

Märtha - April 11, 2011 - 9:37 am

I’m also without kids, but quite busy with work and studying and all the other little things. I’ve been an orchestra member for a couple of years and I made some amazing friends there. Last year I decided to have a break because of all the workload but in the beginning of this year I realised it was a mistake – just because of all my friends there. I started again and it’s a good thing to get out of my studying every three weeks to meet my friends and play some music.
I don’t know whether it’s possible for you (or if you even want to do that) but maybe once in a while the CPA can look after Henry so you can have some quality time with friends.
Another problem of mine is that my friends are all over the world (well, not literally but not all of them are where I stay) and it’s hard to stay in contact with everybody, I’m really bad at that. But I try to communicate with everyone via facebook or email and with some of them, mostly my “sisters”, host family and friends from South Africa, I know that they aren’t mad at me when I don’t call or write as much as I should – and I think that is really important – if the person means something to you and you mean something to that person (and you both know it) you or the other one shouldn’t be angry if the contact is not as frequent as it should be.

Mindee@ourfrontdoor - April 12, 2011 - 9:36 am

Have you tried finding a Mothers Of Preschoolers group in your area? I made a lot of friends there. There’s something about being “in the trenches” with other newbie moms that brings about great bonding.

shaunel - April 12, 2011 - 5:50 pm

Ha ha ha! Was it just fate that I stopped by yesterday evening? How funny the coincidence. I’m so glad your trunk was open and we had a good excuse to come over. I think everyone’s correct in saying the hardest part is initiation, and just putting in the effort. You guys are always welcome over here if you (or henry) need someone to talk with. Thanks for making us feel so welcome. It was a wonderful addition to the day!

admin - April 13, 2011 - 3:29 am

Such great suggestions. And Shaunel – it’s funny because I thought when you stopped by that it was because you must have read this. :) Either way, I’m glad you came by – it was so nice to see you!

blythe - April 13, 2011 - 10:24 am

we are in the same boat. i think you’d be surprised at how many are. anyway, we are trying to get out more too and be social! so we are always up for a play date or anything!

Robin - April 13, 2011 - 2:16 pm

(Hey! First time commenter!) I used to worry about talking to others about doing stuff because they seemed more busy than I, or they had more buddies, or I was afraid I would look stupid and/or desperate asking to come over and play. I’ve decided I’ll be the desperate one if that’s what it takes. Fortunately, people usually appreciate it though because they are just as excited about company as I am.

Marie M.C. - April 18, 2011 - 12:56 pm

I’m very surprised about the subject of this post. I found when I had a young child that was the BEST time to make new friends. Every woman with a newborn or toddler is dying for adult conversation and she’s looking for you. Just put yourself out there. Leave the house. Make a daily trip to a coffee shop, go to the library weekly. I belonged to a play-group when my son was about a year old. There were ten or twelve of us and we’d meet at our houses once a week. Half would stay and take care of the kids and chat, the other half had the afternoon off to do anything — errands or lunch with the girls — without interruption. Make your own play-group. (Ours started when one woman asked another and then she said “oh I have a neighbor who might be interested” . . . and so on.) Once your son is in pre-school you’ll meet other women in your shoes. My best friends are ones I made forty years ago — on the first day of pre-school! Also I guess I was lucky in that there were several families with young children right on our block. There have to be other families in your neighborhood. Ask them out for coffee. Don’t wait for someone else to make the first step. Everyone is hesitant to make that first overture. Whew. I’ve written a book. Sorry. Good luck!

Vee - April 20, 2011 - 10:25 am

I have this same problem (not that I don’t have interaction daily – I do go to an office job, but I don’t consider my colleagues “friends” – but that I lack people I can call up or visit regularly). I think I’m bad at forming and cultivating these relationships, because I’ve always been kind of a loner. I find the older I get, the more I need feedback and want close relationships with other women. Also, I don’t have children, and that can so often be a common ground for women. =/

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*

There was an error submitting your comment. Please try again.

CommentLuv badge
B l o g r o l l
C a t e g o r i e s
M y   B u t t o n
R e t u r n   H O M E