"I thought I was the only stay-at-home mom who felt that way!" I exclaimed as my friend shared her heart with me. "It's so good to know."
Moms need to connect with other moms who understand what their life is like. These women affirm that what we're experiencing is normal. They refuel and refresh us in the midst of the sometimes-monotonous tasks associated with mothering.
For 22 of my 25 years of motherhood, I was a stay-at-home mom. Being at home all day with kids highlighted my need to pursue friendships with other adult women and sharpen my friend-making skills.
I've since learned that friendships start with a simple invitation, such as, "Would you and your kids like to come over and play on Tuesday morning?"
The first time I did that, I was uncomfortable, but desperate. After extending the invitation, I worried that my house had to be spotless and I needed to serve something nice for lunch. But I've discovered that the most satisfying times with a friend often occur when she visits while my breakfast dishes are still on the kitchen counter and I serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with carrot sticks for lunch. This kind of environment puts a friend at ease, because it feels more like home for both of us.
Taking care of each other
If you are privileged to be at home with your kids during the day, friendships are essential. A close female friend, who is also a mom, will laugh and cry about both the silly and the serious moments in motherhood from a base of experience and with the intention of helping you be a better wife and mother. The best girlfriends encourage us when we're down, provide accountability when we're wrong and cheer us on amid the joys of life. And every mom needs a community of women to help her when she's sick, to provide meals when she has a baby and to share child care so she can enjoy a date with her husband.
Over the years I've learned that taking care of me is a part of taking care of my family. So investing in my girlfriend relationships is one way I take care of us all.