Let’s talk about the one thing most Mums would dearly love more of… quality time without the kids.
In this crazy season of life with small kids, most women find that themselves lonely, despite being surrounded by people. This is due to there just not being enough hours in the day, days in the month and energy in the tank to invest in more of anything else after juggling work, kids, spouses, pets, house work, and the other thrilling never-ending adventures of home life.
The one remedy to the loneliness that we all sometimes feel is the same thing that is often the first to be neglected- female friendships.
If you’re anything like me and you’ve tried to see friends by organizing play dates between your kids and their kids, in the hope that you can get some quality conversation in while the children play, know that this often doesn’t work. How much quality, deep conversation can be had amidst the chaos of having children around?
Most often, I’ve left a play date more frazzled than when I arrived, questioning whether it was all worth it. The kids didn’t get the best of me (constantly trying to shoo them away so I could talk or listen more) and neither did my friend and our much-needed friendship. This leads to the question- are friendships in this season of life even worth it?
The answer is a big YES. In fact, some scientific studies even show that people who invest in adult friendships lived longer. It turns out, quality time with our friends is actually super important to us living happy, healthy, even longer lives.
If healthy friendships are an integral part of life, if they truly do make us better women, wives, mothers and people – we owe it to ourselves and the ones we love the most to really invest in these relationships. Here are some practical tips I’m planning on putting into action. If you’ve got a few more you’d like to add to the conversation, hop onto our forum and share your story with the rest of us.
Don’t feel bad about needing time out. It’s not because you don’t love your kids, or because you’re doing something wrong. It’s because you’re a human being and you need to take a break every now and again. Instead of feeling guilty about the time you spend with your friends, see it as an essential part of showing your kids what a healthy, balanced lifestyle looks like. Your life doesn’t (and shouldn’t) just revolve around them.
Know who your real friends are. This might sound obvious, but a surprisingly low number of us really take the time to reflect on who our friends really are. And yet we should! Your life might be full of people, but this doesn’t mean it’s full of friends. Who are the people in your life you can really be yourself with? Who you enjoy being around and who enjoy having you around? Who don’t bring you down or drain you, but lift you up and energize you? Figure out who those people are, and give your time to them.
Make time for the true friends. Easier said than done, but anything worthwhile in life is worth fighting for. Your friendships are worth investing in because you are worth investing in. If you have a partner who can take care of the kids, why not ditch the dreaded play dates and opt for some uninterrupted quality girl time rather? If your partner balks at this, just remind him that if he’d like you to still be alive to co-parent this family in years to come – he’d better man up and send you out with a smile!
See this Mumspiration community as a supportive network of friends.
Although online friendships can’t fulfill all our friendship needs, a supportive online community is better than no community. So if you’re feeling a bit alone and disconnected, we’re here for you. All 125,000 of us South African Mums – each doing the best we can, and cheering each other on as we do it.
You’ve got this.