This is Part 2 in a three-part series on Mommy Friendships. To read Joy’s first post on thinking before we speak, click here.
The most challenging relationships for me have always been friendships with other women. If we aren’t in direct competition (looks, achievement, material success) we are in a passive competition (children, marriage quality, popularity). However, like Noelle stated a few months ago, when we celebrate one another instead of competing with each other, that’s when life kicks into High Definition.
It may sound funny to you, reading that the co-founder of a great community for women struggles with relationships, but it’s true. I have my own insecurities, akward moments and plenty of learning to do. I’ve moved a TON and my husband and I have both lived in Scottsdale the longest we’ve lived anywhere else as adults (and we love living here!).
Since I’ve moved so much, I’ve had to learn what it takes to make friends. And, some groups are easier than others. For instance, if people have been together or lived in the same place a very very very long time, it’s almost impossible to break into their friendship circle. Sure, you might get invited, have good conversations and even totally hit it off. But the truth is that it takes time to build relationships. You have to have A LOT of frequent interactions with someone in different ways in order for a deeper, more meaningful friendship to be established.
Focusing on a common goal with another woman helps me build the most genuine friendships. My favorite part of friendship is when the rubber meets the road and The Real Joy comes out through the natural trials and celebrations of life. Friends who’ve seen me cry or watched me get publically embarrassed or see how I handle a major conflict get to see what I’m made of, even if it’s ugly and broken. This type of “real” usually doesn’t just happen over coffee or a ladies night; those are the celebrations. It happens because life is messy and though you may think that I have all the answers, I’m just doing my best to figure out how to do the next thing.
Shared experiences: I think it is really underrated and I’d like to bring it back to the top of To-Do lists, please. Sharing play time, a meal, trading kids for a morning, providing a meal for a tired or working friend, these are the things that help us to build friendships that change our lives. Sharing life with friends and neighbors is what makes life rich and, for me, kicks being a Stay at Home Mom into HD.