One of the things I have really struggled with this summer is having a good group of mom friends. It’s a game changer when you have children with special needs, or if you have more than “normal” 2.5 kids.
It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, hanging out with “mom friends” over the summer brings about a totally different dynamic! I literally found myself saying to someone, “Why would I want to go to a play date when all I do is put out fires and am made to feel like I will never measure up?”
See, the thing about bringing your kids to public places means you are opening yourself up to criticism and judgement. I have 4 kids, and clearly there is one of me so naturally if someone is correcting my child to keep them safe or prevent yet another emergency room visit this summer, I am ALL about it. What I’m not about is mothers treating my kids differently because they struggle with social situations, or because there is so many of them.
This summer has really opened my eyes up to who my true friends are. I am one of those people who is constantly “doing”, because I would like to think that’s what my friends would do for me. The sad realization is it just doesn’t work like that. You will be disappointed EVERY single time if you expect others to do what you have been willing to do for them.
Last fall, I just had my 2 year old home with me during the day and really battled with my sense of purpose. I didn’t have a little baby who needed me all day. I didn’t have two preschoolers who needed to be entertained. I really was struggling with who I was and what I was supposed to be doing. So what did I do? I signed up for everything. I signed up to bring food for mops. I signed up to help with class parties. I signed up to bring meals for families from our church. I agreed to help with the fundraising events at school. I was driving all over the county doing for other people. WHY? Because I wanted to feel needed. When we had a crisis with our previous TSS in January, I can count on one hand the number of friends who were there. Actually, it was on less than one hand. I had spent time constantly doing for everyone else and just expected all these people to come along beside me. It was a rough couple of months.
Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t just do things for others so that they will do things for me. Being a Christian is about serving others, but I learned the hard way to set boundaries on certain relationships.
We spend so much time teaching our kids to be kind and include people, but what about ourselves? How are we treating the people we call our friends? Are we loyal to them just when we need something? Or do we make time to cultivate a relationship with them? Do we include moms with “all those kids” or do we invite everyone else but them?
What I’ve learned the past 6 months is that I would rather have quality than quantity. I don’t need tons of friends, and honestly I don’t have time for them. But I do need quality, loyal friends. Friends who check in on you. Friends who ask you how they can help. Friends who ask and genuinely care how your day was. Friends who support you and stand up for you. Friends who will hug you when you cry. Friends who will pray with you AND for you.
Friendship isn’t about being perfect, but it is about being loyal. And I can tell you from experience, loyal friends are hard to find. So find your tribe, and hold on to them tight!