A friend called out of the blue to ask to catch up after months of absence. We talked about how hard it is for him to find interesting women to talk to about non-superficial things, and how he wondered if he’d ever find a partner.
We talked about the new role models I was attempting to add to the lives of my children. He asked, "When are you going to stop finding people who add to your kids’ lives, and start finding people who add to yours?"
Then we parted for what will undoubtedly be another six months before the next catch up.
My friend is 22 years old.
There are always interesting things that come up in my conversations with this young man. This is why we are friends, even though there are more than 20 years of age difference.
As Choice Moms we spend so much time figuring out how to have a child, how to take care of an infant, how to answer questions about our child’s origins to others and to them. Literally years can go by when we hunger for real conversation, perhaps without even knowing it.
My tipsheet for friendships, now that my kids are older and I’ve been able to assess what can get lost:
* Do you have someone to gossip with and/or vent with in semi-regular phone calls, that has little to do with motherhood?
* In an emergency, when you need someone to watch your kids with little or no warning, who do you call?
* Who helps you take life less seriously?
* When the kids are at sleepovers, who do you hang out with?
* If one of your parents dies, whose shoulder do you cry on?
* Who do you talk to deeply about something you are passionate about: politics, education reform, philosophy, literature, science, spirituality?
As I’ve mentioned in other commentaries, I’m learning and growing in my own journey right alongside my children. Motherhood is always transformational. One of the things I’m finally learning to do is rid myself of energy drains and simplify life as much as possible. It feels better.
But my kids are now 7 and nearly 12. The big hurdle coming up is, as my young friend suggested, "when am I going to start focusing on what I need, beyond what my children need?"
How are you doing on that?