Fostering Friendships: The Importance of Mom Friends by Sara Stamp
We’re so pleased to share this guest post from Sara Stamp, whom Lose the Cape listeners may remember from our podcast interview. Thank you, Sara!
As moms, we do it all. We have jobs (both in and out of the home), we take care of the kids, the laundry, the school lunches, the grocery shopping (thank goodness for the resurgence of grocery delivery!) and all the things that come with being a wife and mom. We are women…hear us roar! Of all the things we do, (and probably right below taking care of ourselves) spending time with our mom friends probably ranks near the bottom on the priority list. Now I know plenty of women who are actually great at prioritizing fun with their friends, but if you’re anything like me, this area of your life could use a boost. So, I hereby declare 2018 as the Year of Friends!
Why, you ask? Don’t I have enough to juggle before adding on another commitment? Because friends matter. Friends are the glue that keep our lives in tact when the cupcakes (for that bake sale you forgot about) hit the fan. Trust me, I am an expert on this. In October 2016, the cupcakes hit the fan in our family when our 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer. The worst possible nightmare a family can face became our reality, crashing down on us like a brick wall. Without the support of our family and friends taking turns caring for our 18-month-old son, our dog, house and meals (and who knows what else), my husband and I would have been lost. We are incredibly fortunate to have people that took on our lives on top of their own throughout that year-long journey. Even now, as we learn to accept the fact that we lost that battle, friends are what keep us afloat.
Whether you have 1 or 2 “besties” or a whole gang of gal pals, staying connected and spending quality time together is the goal. I’m fortunate the have a small group of friends that I consider my go-to group (and doubly fortunate that two of them are my sisters), but sometimes finding ways to get together is a struggle. Work commitments, kid’s extra-curricular activities, lack of babysitter options, homework…only a handful of the possible obstacles that can make this 2018 challenge…well…a challenge. So, together with a friend, we put together a list of our friendship goals for the coming year. We hope you use it as a jumping off point to start your creative wheels turning.
- Dinner at each other’s house once a week – we’re not talking fancy dinner parties here guys. This means come-as-you-are, the house can be a wreck, babies in diapers, cook what you have. I once read an article about hosting the worst dinner party ever where you roll with what you’ve got in the fridge. That’s the goal here. Don’t overcomplicate it!
- Do a bible study or read a book together (or both!) – one of my personal goals this next year is to read more. I love authors like Jenn Hatmaker, Shauna Niequist and Melanie Shankle that mix both funny and faith in their writing (two of my favorite “F” words). Connecting over a book is a fantastic way to have more meaningful conversations. Conversations that don’t begin with “you’ll never guess what I found in little Johnny’s diaper this morning” (because as riveting as that is, let’s face it, there’s more to our lives then our kid’s poop)
- Attend service at each other’s churches – we attend a non-denominational bible church (although I was raised southern Baptist) and my best friend is Catholic. Although our views on faith are similar, our churches are very different. I have met her priest on a number of occasions and he’s a wonderful man, so I have no doubt I would enjoy his homily. Allowing yourself to be open to your friends’ beliefs is a conversation starter for sure. The goal here is broaden your view of the world, even if it doesn’t exactly line up with what you consider a core belief.
- Go to a concert (or two) – music is a universal force that brings all humans together. Show me a person that doesn’t like music and we’ll go ahead and check them into a mental hospital because there’s something seriously wrong with them. I love all types of music. From classic rock to 80s hip-hop to 90s grunge and everything in between (although, confession, I’m not a huge fan of this “new” country music where everyone talks about red solo cups and naming their dogs. Feel free to unfriend me, but it’s just how I feel). Make it a girl’s night and stay up a little late. Bonus points if you can convince your husband to let you sleep in the next morning!
- Take a family vacation together – somehow taking a vacation with kids is never really a vacation for the parents. Throw in a few friends and their kids and magically it becomes fun for all. Your kids have someone else’s kids to play with (other than their siblings), more adults to converse with and extra hands all around.
- Take an adult vacation – husbands can come (I guess). If you’re super lucky the husbands of your best friends will also be your husbands guy friends. If not, well sometimes husbands have to suck it up for their wives…Lord knows we’ve done it for their buddies! Ideally, this vacation takes place somewhere tropical with white sandy beaches. But, since we’ll have a newborn in March, we may have to settle for a stay-cation this year. Please send me pictures of your tropical vacations, so I can live vicariously!
- Do a service project – since the passing of our daughter in November, one of our family goals is to do more for others facing the uncertainty of childhood cancer. With the creation of Layla’s Legacy we have several large-scale fundraisers in the works for 2018, all of which are a true group effort with our friends and family. Our encouragement to others is to do more in their communities with whatever cause is close to your heart. This doesn’t have to be a project you spear-head on your own. Find something in your area and join in! Do a fun-run (bonus points if you train together and/or include the kiddos), help out with a toy drive or gathering clothes for a women’s shelter. Sharing the experience of helping others is good for the soul.
- Appreciate art together – all the credit for this idea goes to my girlfriend Patti. She’s that friend that went to art school and can pretty much do any crafty project in her sleep. Back in a time before kids, when having your weekends “free” meant more than not having a 5-year old’s birthday to attend, I would love the idea of getting brunch at noon and then taking in an afternoon of strolling slowly through an art museum. How sophisticated was I? Not very, I promise. Maybe we can combine #8 and #4 and call it a night? Music is art, after all!
- Take a road trip – girls only! From where I live in north Dallas there are any number of destinations within a 3-4 hour drive in which to take a weekend trip with the girls. Even if it’s just a day trip to Waco to visit all things Magnolia (for you Fixer Upper fans), nothing says bonding like spending a few hours in the car giggling with your friends like you’re 17 again.
- Eat! – When all else fails, food is always the answer. Even if it’s breakfast once a week, a coffee date or an early-bird dinner (so you can still be home to help with bedtime), nothing brings people together the way food does. So, grab your girls and chow down. My prayer for you is that you have a girlfriend in your life like my friend Patti. She knows exactly what to order and NEVER skips dessert. If you don’t have one of those friends then YOU be that friend! Everyone loves THAT friend.
There you have it ladies. A list that would meet any #friendgoals standards, if you ask me. My hope is that it got your wheels spinning on ways to deepen friendships and enjoy a little more fun this year. Being a successful wife, mom, jack-of-all-trades is a balancing act, but our friendships are what keep us out of the looney bin!
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