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.
Joy, you have a beautiful heart! Thank you for being so open and sharing this!
Thanks Kate! I love this topic and love challenging myself to think through these hard topics!
Joy, Great thoughts! I’ve found such freedom in the friendships with women who have seen my house in it’s “natural state” (ie, breakfast dishes still on the table at lunch time, floors unswept, laundry spread out on the couch waiting to be put away), my kids with messy faces and runny noses throwing tantrums, and me at my worst, and who still like me! When I’ve been on the inside of their lives, as well, beyond the face we try to put on to face the world, we can support each other and laugh together. These friendships give freedom and fill us with life, rather than draining us as we try (and it never really works out) to keep it all together! Keep writing on this topic, Joy, because we all need this reminder to let each other in!
Thank you for these series of posts! It was convicting for me to read and has challenged me to want to be a better friend! I am moving from Seattle to Scottsdale this May and I am so saddened over the thought of leaving my good friends behind. I know that it is going to take time and effort to create new meaningful and deep relationships, which is scary to me because I tend to be shy and find it hard to reach out some times! Thank you for Inspiring me to just jump right in and do it…..And do it well!!!
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