By | Posted October 9, 2011

Posted in friends, Random | 3 Comments »

I’m reading this book called The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers.  I was pretty wary of the book.  It’s what I would consider a self help book.  Not me.  Plus, I’m happy.  Most of the time.  A title like this just screams pathetic to me.

I was wrong.

I have to admit that I’m really enjoying this book.  The first chapter didn’t provide much for me.  It was about finding your value as a mother.  I already do.  That might sound really vain.  But I honestly don’t think anyone else could parent my children better than I do.  This DOES NOT mean I think I’m perfect.  At all.  Very far from it.  It’s just I knew I was meant to be a stay at home mom.  It’s who I am.

Anyway…it was the second chapter that has really made me stop and think.  The chapter about Friends.

I have some pretty amazing friends.  One that I’ve known since we used to get drunk together in high school.  Who went to UT with me, who listened to me go on about boyfriends, who held my bachelorette party, stood up at my wedding and has become one of Lance’s closest friends too.  We used to talk daily.  Then last year, I decided if the kids were around, I wasn’t talking on the phone or getting online.  I felt like that made me a better mother.  I now talk to Paul every two weeks.

I have another friend I’ve known since college.  We’ve partied and groaned about husbands and children together.  She is the person who doesn’t judge me when I say something nasty about my children and will stand up for Lance if I’m being unreasonable.  (Yes, I admit that despite being made for motherhood, my kids make me insane at times.  I realize the irony.)  I have seen her once since last spring.

There is another friend who I’ve seen once in two years.  He lives in Houston.  Another I speak with fairly regularly, but seldom see in person.

Then there are the other friends.  Just as important, and quite frankly know me just as well.   The older I get, the more I’ve turned to different friends for different needs.  It’s not just about one best friend.  There are those that know everything, those that make me laugh or listen to stupid stories, talk politics with me and so on.

I love them dearly.

All of them.

As I write this, I’m smiling thinking of conversations or fun times, gossip and so on.   I love my friends.

And I rarely see them.

I see Paul as often as I see most of my friends.  He lives in Chicago.  That says a lot about my relationship with him and a lot about the effort made close to home.

I used to pride myself on not having girls’ night out or taking girls’ weekends.  I didn’t need time away from my husband and kids.  I wanted to be with them.  Except the reality is that I want to see my friends too.  I want to know what is going on with their life.  And not just from a blog or an email.

And that is normal.

In fact, that is how it’s supposed to be.  Reading this book reminds me of this important fact.  When I think of dinners with Cindy, Terese and Carter, we truly fill the entire night with stories of our life.  We are dying to share the details of our life: the good and trying times.  We manage probably six outings a year, but when I think about it, what’s wrong with twelve?  How is it that I talk to Cindy once a month when we used to talk a few times a week?  And not just about fake people?!

Sure we all have important things going on in our lives, but this book has reminded me that friendships shouldn’t take the back seat.  The book points out that we put friendships on the back burner because we think we can.  That we will have time later.  But later isn’t what we think it will be.  Sure, we won’t be dealing with our young children later, instead we’ll be dealing with sick parents.

Time will never be plentiful.

And so time will pass.  I have to decide how I’m going to fill my time.

When I look back on my life, my friends have played such an important role.  There was the one person I told about my parent’s separation when I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, including my brother.  There are the friends who helped me through a tough break up.  Then there are the ones who supported me through my wedding and babies.  Who were there for the showers and so on.  The ones who saw my first baby (and all the others) hours after birth.  The ones who listened when I became bitter after all the miscarriages, who listened when I didn’t want to tell family.  The one who listened when I thought I would die from sending Goose to school.

So how is it that I have friends this awesome and rarely see or even speak to them with any regularity?

I blame it on having five kids.  My good friend that lives in Michigan told me that five killed her.  She managed to have normal relationships until her fifth, my Godson, came along.

I think four did it to me.  And my desire to give them my full attention.  I still agree with that.  I hate having to say “just a second” and I won’t answer the phone when dropping them off at school or picking them up.  I just think my kids deserve my real attention.

But I want my friendships too.

Life needs to be lived intentionally for me.  This doesn’t mean I’m going to spend my time on the phone when the kids are around or take trips.  It does mean that I’m going to resolve to spend time with my friends.  Real time.  Maybe not every week, but I want to sacrifice when I’d rather spend time at home because I’m just so tired.  Everyone is tired.  Sure there are times when you have to say no, when you should say no in order to keep your life simple.  But spending time with friends is a good thing.  I know this.  And I know it’s worth any imagined sacrifice.


Comments on Friends

  1. From Jenn:

    I agree with you 100% , and although I’m realizing more and more how important time with friends is, I cling to my little family whenever I can. But friends really are the family we get to choose and do take time and effort to nurture the relationships as well. The key–how about we just find a way to put more hours in the day. 🙂 And we won’t feel tired during any of them!

    And I know that we haven’t known each other as long as your other friends or are as close, but I for one am glad to call you Friend!

  2. From Nicole:

    Thanks, Jenn! I’m glad we’ve become friends too.

    It’s hard to work out it all out. There doesn’t seem to be enough time, there’s the whole simplicity thing I’m really into, but we do need relationships. And like you said, they have to be nurtured. I like to think my husband and kids know they come first. I think it’s time for me to step up and make sure my friends know what they mean to me as well too. For me it needs to be about action. Setting an intentional schedule is something I want to do.

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