I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.
â€• Jon Katz
I love this quote and although I can say it’s almost impossible to not be too tired (at times), I love the sentiment behind this and agree with it whole heartedly. It reminds of me of how important friendship is but also how friendships can change when you become a mom. While we can strive to do all these things, being a mom is what really puts these values to the test. Becoming a mom also affects the friends we choose to keep and I’m starting to think I know why.
I was sitting in a restaurant the other evening with a friend. There we were, both our families enjoying Pizza Night: our big kids playing, babies gurgling at each other, husbands catching up over a beer while we sipped our wine. And while we did what mothers do on restaurant play dates (ran after kids, fed babies and gulped down wine) it occurred to me just how special she has become to me. We have often spoken about how we feel we are kindred spirits who met far too late in life.
It’s as if we were meant to meet in high school or university or long before kids entered the picture anyway. It’s as though I have known her my whole life. She would have been the girl I sat next to on the playground at nursery school and shared my sandwich with. The girl I would tell about my first crush in high school. The girl whose shoulder I would cry on after my first heartbreak. I would have been drawn to HER. And I know she feels the same. The fact that we are the same age with two boys only intensifies the depth of our friendship and how quickly it has grown. Our friendship seems a very compatible and easy one. Everything about it makes sense.
But the reality is that it’s not always like this. Connections are not always instant. Friendships are not always magnetic and life is never without its mystery. And this got me thinking how motherhood in itself has proven to be the glue in many of my friendships. You see, the bond of motherhood, I believe, is so strong that it can bring the unlikeliest of people together. There are some friendships that I know would probably not exist if it weren’t for the very real and common fact that we both have kids. And not only is there nothing wrong with that, there is something quite beautiful about it. You see, it forces us open our eyes and give people a chance. To share parts of our lives with people we typically would not have thought twice to let in.
It teaches us to not judge a book by its cover or be too concerned with common interests. The fact that we are both raising kids is common interest enough. Does it really matter what background you have or what you studied after school? Does it make any difference what clothes you wear or the places you have traveled? Who cares how many awards you have won or promotions the other has had.
What really maters is that we understand why the other has her t- shirt on inside out or why we have lost our keys for the fourth time in one day. And we understand its normal to occasionally find them in the freezer. What matters more is knowing what the other is going through and knowing what the other person may need.
I look at my very diverse circle of mommy friends and I feel a swell of pride. I have made so many new friends in the last few years since becoming a mom and I’m blessed to have these women walk beside me on this very bumpy and exciting road. Some of these girls I may not have chosen to my BFF in high school but I would do anything for them now. I would fight tooth and nail for their children and I know they would do the same for mine. I have learnt to share my heart with these women, show vulnerability and ask for help. I have learnt to offer mine. I have started to realize there is something quite extraordinary that happens when we become mothers. And it forces us to change.
The reality is we HAVE changed. We have grown up. Dropped our guards. We have grown from being silly schoolgirls who thought we knew everything to young woman who openly admit we are still learning. We genuinely want the best for each other, in every area of our lives. We are no longer so competitive nor are we threatened by each other’s success. We are more honest about the finer details of our lives and turmoil’s of our hearts. And yes this is largely due to the fact that we have matured, but it’s also because our children remind us that we are human and indeed very fragile. The pretending to have it all together becomes too much. The desperate need to balance it all and have the perfect life, crumbles into tiny pieces as we are forced to face the facts. Life with kids is hard and we realize we don’t need to pretend it isn’t. With the right friends, you start to see the freedom in surrendering these things and relying on each other for words of wisdom and encouragement.
We are all mothers now, who relate to a world that can be stressful and frustrating. We understand each other without having to explain ourselves. But we try anyway, just to get it off our chests. We know what it feels like to fall short of the impossible idea of a perfect mother and we will admit our failures to each other more easily than to our own husbands. We sympathize with each other without always trying to find a solution. We understand not being able to always fully commit as our children take priority and plans can change in an instant.
We can commiserate over countless cups of tea without feeling like broken record. In essence we have become a support group during a time when we need it most. A time we can love and hate all at the same time.
And yes our lifestyles have changed and this is ok. I may still call a friend in the middle of the night but not because of a fight I had with my boyfriend but because my baby just vomited on our last clean sheet. I may not stop by unexpectedly to share a bottle of wine to celebrate a promotion, but I may land up at her door in a flood of tears because I’m going mad at home with kids or because my husband is on his 3rd business trip in a month (and is currently in New York eating a bagel and doing some shopping while I’m at home dealing with puke and tantrums.) We may not speak everyday but when we do I know I’m going to say goodbye after a broken telephone conversation with a smile on my face that maybe wasn’t there before. We learn to do friendship differently. We learn each other’s love languages.
And so I will say it again, friendship is about the most important thing in life, and our kids in all their gorgeous chaos can often be the glue that binds us. Because although I may not have hand-picked all of these friends prior to becoming a mother, I have no doubt I am meant to be friends with them now and will be long after my children have grown up. Because lets face it:. Who else will understand the crazy stories we will live to tell?