It has not been my year. Whenever I feel like I’m getting my head above the water, something terrible happens and pushes me back under.
Its during times like those that I’m glad I made my word for 2018 “community.” Having a support system is the only thing that makes some things bearable. But building a support system? That can be hard. Especially when you’re a busy mom. Especially when you’re trying to connect with other busy moms.
Who has time to make new friends? Yeah… no one.
As I get older, the more I realize that the quality of my friends is more important than the quantity of them. Yes, I’ve known this for a while— I’ve known my best friends for 15 and 13 years. But my greedy, extroverted heart? It wants more friends, more parties, more more more.
Well, it did.
Now I want quality of friends. Friends I can bare my soul to. Friends who bare their souls back. I want friends who will sit there with me in silence when there’s nothing good left to say.
Humans are social creatures. We crave community. In this fast-paced world, it can be hard to find it. Online presences are great at keeping us connected with loved ones around the world, and I cherish my friends I mainly know online.
But for me? Getting together in real life is incredibly important.
As I focus on the quality of my friends, the quality of my time spent with them also comes into focus. Sometimes all I can squeeze into my plans is a rushed 15 minutes when we’re both running errands and drop everything for a Starbucks coffee in the medical mall by my pediatrician.
I’ve found I can leave that 15 minute meet up either feeling depressed and unfulfilled or genuinely refreshed. The difference? The quality of the time.
When I’m meeting with friends, I have been making a conscious effort to be present. I put away my phone. I need to keep my hands constantly moving, so knitting helps keep me in the moment without resorting to playing on my phone. I can talk to my friend without being distressed by the latest political scandal or online drama. (There will always be online drama. Let it go.)
If I’m having friends over, there’s the ever-present temptation to stress myself silly beforehand. There must be no evidence that anyone actually inhabits my home. They cannot see my flaws. They may reject me.
Having quality friends helps the rejection thing. Trust me.
Lately, instead of stressing to prepare, I just do what I can. Some battles are not meant to be fought. Every single toy does not need to be in the toy box. It’s okay if there are a few books off the shelf. We live here. We do things here. My child plays and creates here. A little imperfection is fine.
I can stop sorting my child’s books alphabetically and put on a pot of coffee instead.
Instead of filling in my patchy eyebrows that I pull out when I’m overwhelmed, I can greet a friend bare-faced. If they gossip about my imperfections, that’s out of my hands.
Instead of waiting until my life is perfectly in place, I can meet friends in the chaos. Chances are, they have chaos in their life too. It seems like adulthood is limping from one disaster to another— and the only way to face each new disaster is with people you love. These people will be on your team even if you had popcorn and ice cream for dinner last night. Even if you greet them at the door in pajamas because you overslept.
Let go of distractions and stress. Fill your spare moments with quality time. You can do this.