Nurturing Friendships as a Single Mom
Last week, I read a Facebook post about making friends as a mom and it made me think about making friends in this season of my life. It gave me the courage to openly talk about maintaining friendships as a single mother. While reading the comments, I realized this is a struggle for a lot of mothers. (I have added some screenshots of the comments in this post.)
At the end of last year, I promised myself I would be more intentional about maintaining friendships in 2018. There were times when I wanted to hang out but I didn’t have anyone to hang with. I would call or text my friends to do something on the weekends but it would be too late. They would already have plans with other people. This usually left me doing things by myself. Instead of me communicating my need for friendship, I pretended I was ok with not being included. Although I enjoy my company, there are times when I want to be around other people.
I realized I’d gotten so caught up in being a good mother, I neglected to nurture my friendships. When I realized it, I’d already delivered the message that becoming a mom doesn’t allow much room for friendships. My friends had learned to live their lives and include me only when I was available. When I was, I’d let them know. Often times, at the spur of the moment. My life had become so consumed with what was best for Jasiah that I forgot what was best for me: relationships.
After reading the post and comments, I started thinking about the days before I had Jasiah. The days I was able to just get up and go. Reminiscing on those days implanted a strong desire to be spontaneous and do something “non-mom related.” So I decided to get up and go! I left EARLY Saturday morning and got back Sunday afternoon. I was so excited about those 24 hours. Not because I was getting away but because it’s the most spontaneous thing I’ve done in a long time. I was missing the spontaneity of being a single woman with no responsibilities.
Life now seems to be late night cuddles and cooking for 2. Or mounds of laundry and sleepless nights. Doctor’s appointments or nursing a sick toddler back to health. Cleaning his butt and giving him baths. Before all of this, I was able to move at my leisure, worrying about only myself. Since Jasiah, that script has changed. I have to make different decisions because I am now entrusted with the well-being of a handsome young boy. It forces me to say goodbye to the spontaneous hang out invites. Or quick and unplanned grocery runs. And I can kiss the days of going on impromptu dates with myself goodbye. Well, for now anyway.
Please don’t misunderstand, I DO NOT regret being a mom. If I could do it all over again, I’d do it the same. Cherishing each moment as it comes along. Sometimes, I just want to love on Jasiah and watch Marvel comics, Llama Llama and Power Rangers until the TV gets tired. You read that correctly. Until the TV gets tired. And other times I just want to do fun or immature things with my friends. The struggle now is finding the balance between the two.
This is where I need help. There are times when I say no because I have Jasiah. To be completely honest, my friends do an awesome job including Jasiah in the invite but I don’t always want to share MY friends with my 4 year old. Other times I say no because I want to enjoy the peace and quiet of not having Jasiah. I need people who desire to be friends with me to understand that I can’t and won’t always say yes. Still invite me. One day, you’ll get a yes.
There are times I’m invited places and I have to load up on coffee and pretend I’m highly energized when my brain has completely shut down. It’s during these times I’m convinced there’s a puppeteer navigating my movements. But I say yes because I need my friends to know they matter to me. I don’t want to push people away because I refuse to make the necessary sacrifices on my end to nurture the friendship.
Sometimes, in order for me to nurture my friendships, I have to schedule “friend time” weeks in advance. I literally have to put my girl time on my calendar. Talk about adulting! But I am grateful for friends that allow me to schedule with them. We don’t meet or talk often but when we do, we haven’t missed a beat!
Although making friends and keeping them is more challenging during this stage in life, it is completely doable. It takes vulnerability, lots of patience, a little planning and a lot of communication. All of which I’m still working on.