One year after our first Hearts at Home conference, I found myself driving across town alone in my filthy minivan filled with carseats and the last five weeks of Sunday School papers. I was having a conversation with God about the unexpected place he had me. I was leading a moms group in our church that had held what was supposed to be, a one-time conference for moms. We expected 400 moms to attend and 1100 showed up. It seemed that God’s vision was much bigger than mine.
We were now within a few weeks of our second conference and over 2800 women had already registered to attend! We had assembled a Board of Directors, incorporated as a non-profit, and were growing faster than I felt I could keep up with.
“You have to be laughing, God.” I uttered with a mix of humor and resignation. “You now have me leading a huge ministry to moms and I DON’T EVEN LIKE WOMEN!”
I’m a late bloomer when it comes to female relationships. Growing up, most of the kids in our neighborhood were boys. My two sisters and I played softball with the neighborhood guys in the empty lot next to our house nearly every night during the spring, summer, and fall. Even though I went to all twelve years of school in the same school district, I never had one girlfriend who was my “best friend since first grade” like some people have.
I did have friends who were girls. I went to a few birthday parties and sleepovers over the years. Some girls eventually moved into the neighborhood and we had fun together…playing baseball in the side lot. I had some girlfriends I ate lunch with in high school.
Maybe it was growing up in a neighborhood of boys, or maybe it was being attracted to the simplicity of guy friendships, but female friendships weren’t exactly a priority to me. I liked my guy friendships because they seemed to be less complicated. These weren’t boyfriends…just guy friends who didn’t get their feelings hurt easily, communicated at face value, and protected me fiercely. They were more like the big brothers I never had.
I met some friends late in high school and I spent a year living in a sorority my freshman year of college (that, honestly, never really met my friendship expectations), but I never seemed to really “click” with the whole girlfriend thing. While I privately longed to have girlfriends to share secrets with, laugh together, and talk on the phone for hours, I summed it up in my mind that I just wasn’t meant to have many girlfriends and I needed to be content with what I had.
And then I became a mom.
Suddenly I had this desire to spend time with other women who understood what my life is like. I needed to learn from them. I needed to know if what my kid was doing was normal. I needed to know if my feelings were okay. More than anything, I needed to know I wasn’t alone! Seeking female friendships to meet those needs, I discovered that I longed for a mothering community around me, but I had no idea how to find one.
I stumbled my way through those early years of mom friendships. I lived far from family, so my friends became family. I experienced both the high of “doing life” with other moms and the low of being rejected by those I thought were my friends. I’ve made lifelong friends and experienced friendship “break ups.” I’ve come to learn that my personality and temperament affect the number of friends I will likely have. I’ve discovered that some friendships are seasonal and others are lifetime. Finally, I’ve learned some strategies along the way for making friends, keeping friends, and even understanding when it’s ok to let a friendship go.
Friendships change as motherhood changes. Yet in all seasons of motherhood we need to be with other women who understand our life.
Knowing that, my daughter, Anne, and I wrote Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone that will officially release next Tuesday! We all need a tribe and once we have one we need to know how to nurture those friendships.
I love a good deal and there’s a great opportunity being offered by Moody Publishers and Hearts at Home if you pre-order Better Together before it releases next Tuesday!
If you order the book before next Tuesday, March 1, you will also receive:
1 Printable: 33 Bible Verses to Share with a Friend Going Through a Hard Time
7 Hearts at Home Audio Workshops
• Keep It Shut–Karen Ehman
• Embrace Your Mothering Personality–Jill Savage
• Living and Laughing Together–Ken Davis
• Could Someone Please Remind Me Who I Am–Juli Slattery
• Bad Moments Don’t Make Bad Mamas–Lysa Terkeurst
• Created to Be–Dr. Kathy Koch
• Confessions of an Imperfect Mom–Julie Barnhill
3 Wallpapers/Backgounds for Phone and Computer
Bonus Video: No More Perfect Kids Workshop–Jill Savage
Want to get in on the Better Together Bonus Offers! You can pre-order the book and submit your receipt for the freebies over at www.bettertogetherbook.org!
Got a friend you do this mom thing with? Make sure she knows about it too!