This post is part of the 31 Days to Flourish in Motherhood series. Click here for the whole list!
When I became a mother, I had only been back in Missouri for about a year, after having lived in Colorado for the previous six years. In that year, I had had a strange job with irregular days/hours, and I hadn’t taken the time to nurture any friendships. I have a wonderfully close-knit family and live fifteen minutes from my parents and my sister. I didn’t really think I needed more friends. I was missing my Colorado friends and feeling somewhat sulky on that front.
And when Big E was born, I relied on my mom and sister more than ever. My first niece was just eight months older than E, and spending increased time together just made more sense.
But somewhere along the way, I slowly started to expand my circle to La Leche League and MOPS. I was cautious at first, as I tend to be with new people. I was grateful for the opportunity to interact with and learn from like-minded mamas, but I wasn’t really looking for close friends. I found them anyway.
These days, I can’t imagine where I would be without my friends. Husband blesses me by shooing me out the door for one circle’s monthly girls’ night, and he encourages me to spend additional time with friends whenever I have the opportunity. Those little getaways are soul-healing. I can return to serving my family, refreshed, after an evening of laughter and good food and swapping war stories and knowing that I’m part of their lives by their choice, not of necessity because I’m their mommy.
Good friends feed your soul. They rejoice in your victories and feel your heartache in the hard times. When they know you were up all night with a sick kid, they check on you the next day. They share silly stories and reminisce with you, even about the parts of your lives that didn’t include each other. They ask your opinion and listen to your answer. They are on your side but gently point out if you are maybe overreacting just a little bit. They call you on your shenanigans but love you through the mess. They rally around you when you are in need… and rely on you when they have a need.
Without my friends, my motherhood journey would be incomplete. Friendships take time and effort and dedication, but my friends challenge me — and help me — to flourish in this journey. We aren’t just surviving motherhood; with each other, we’re ever striving to flourish in it.
If you haven’t found your circle, I encourage you to look in your church, find a local mommy group (Facebook might help you there!), or search for a Mothers of Preschoolers group in your area. If you are struggling, as I have, with feeling that you don’t belong anywhere, check out my posts on vulnerability and shunning comparison. God has a place for you. Are you getting in your own way of finding it?