A letter from your single girlfriends
Dearest moms and readers of Creating Mom,
First of all, thank you for reading my sis-in-laws blog – I love reading her posts about all the things she’s learning, and of course hearing the latest stories of my niece, Baby G. My name is Elizabeth, blogger at Souly Satisfied, where I share about living a souly satisfied single life in God, my adventures abroad, and my most recent addition, healthy gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free recipes.
Having now entered my thirties and still being single (happily most days), I have entered many life phases with my friends. The first weddings were exciting events… the planning, the anticipation. Then those same friends started having babies, and I was right there with them. I jumped in full boar…scrapbooks for their showers, homemade blankets, thoughtful phone calls for milestones. It was so exciting to see their bellies growing and their cravings changing. It was not as noticeable when the first lot of babies arrived, but as the babies turn into toddlers, as my younger siblings are now married and starting families…somewhere between them starting to walk and talk, it hit me. These cute little babies are here to stay.The talk has moved from nursing bras and strollers to preschools and college funds. Life has changed for you (and by extension us too). And I found myself left with either trading in my mom friends for new ones, or finding a way to enter their baby-centered world.
Carly asked me to share with you insights from the single girlfriend perspective in order to help you maintain and even flourish in relationships with us single girls that you have much less in common with now.
-Just girl time
Two dear friends from college, we’ll call them B and A, went on our traditional summer weekend away (with their toddlers in tow) a few years ago. The end of the “vacation” had me pulling my hair out from all the mommy talk, and them stressed from being single parent in a home not their own. It was then that we realized that we had to make some choices. Maybe you’ve found yourself at the same spot in your relationships as well. From then on we decided our summer weekend was sacred girl time, only nursing babies allowed.
This stage and distinction was a healthy place for us – and it brought about a realization that you (mom friends) needed girl time, time away from your kids…and that friendships need time to return to the foundations, to common interests, history, making memories. Here are some ways we can do that.
– Girl weekends away
A great time with no kids, and the daddies are always really happy to have their spouses return, and are a bit more thankful for their efforts? 😉
– Girls nights
Get dressed up together, put on makeup and curl a few hairs… and enjoy being friends out and about. Out to Thai food with some friends recently, I couldn’t believe how great our conversation was, uninterrupted, allowed to finish each sentence – it was positively glorious. Conversations like these are gold, for both you and us.
As single girls we need to realize that your lives now revolve around these little, growing bundles of joy and snot. I love my friends’ kids as if they were my own. I made sure to bring them back special outfits when I was living abroad in China. This summer we did a kid outing to an amusement park. What a blast it was! And wanna know what was helpful? I wasn’t pregnant, could go on the crazy rides with the kiddos, and increased the parent to child ratio! It made for a great day of tilt-a-whirling and caboose trains.
-Let us help you
The blessings we single girls have are many, but time, availability, and freedom come to my mind first. I have started making a point to try to add time into my schedule where I can give my friends time to get the laundry done or get a deep clean on the kitchen while I spend time taking their child out or occupied. Not only does this help you have a break, it also helps us build a solid relationship with your kiddos that are central to your lives, and thus ours as well.
-Plan your schedules…have a variety
Every time my girlfriends and I are together, we block out the next few outings. And we always make a point to rotate between girl time, kid time and family time. This helps so you aren’t spending lots of time away from your kids, but we have the next girl time to look forward to, even if kid time means very little conversations getting completed.
-Don’t JUST talk about your kids
So, when we get together for that girl time, or even kid time, a sure way to strain your relationship with us is for every conversation to baby, sleep, or boob related. Granted, we need to meet you halfway, and your life is about these amazingly adorable creatures. By extension, they need to be important to us as well. But there comes a limit. I can stomach baby talk and try to relate and nod at the right times, but after a while, I reach a maximum capacity. Could we have a code word to let you know,”I’ve had it, let’s switch the subject?” Or set a time limit? I find it’s the same way with a whole bunch of teachers…the talk all becomes students. When my teacher friends and I were on a recent trip by day two of hashing out students/lesson plans/etc. we decided that we’d leave work at work and just enjoy getting to know each other. That balance was good for us and helped us to truly relax. A balance in conversations about the amount of time spent talking about your kids and other topics is helpful.
-Don’t make us feel guilty for our child-free lives
When asked to do this post, I was given liberty to share honestly something I wish you could know. The first thing that popped into my mind was sometimes I feel that you are not OK with me enjoying my life and freedom. When hanging out with you mom friends, I don’t always feel I can tell you the truth – that I got to be lazy all day, slept in until 9 a.m., didn’t get dressed until 3 p.m. (by choice), read a book at Starbucks…you get the picture. If I did have a restful day, I skim over that, for fear that the response will be, “You’re so lucky, I’d die for a day like that.” I’m then left feeling guilty for having peace and quiet and calm. Honestly, though, can you let me enjoy where I am in life? Is it ok for me to get to enjoy the freedom childless life offers? Some of us single girls would give our left arm to have that your darling husband, adorable child, etc., and some still single aren’t there by choice. Can we both enjoy the seasons we are in, cherish the moments for what they are?
– Be open with us
Finally, can you be honest with us, give us ways we can invest in our friendship? Not having been in your shoes we don’t always know how to best support you. Us single gals sometimes feel inferior as friends since we don’t have in common the biggest part of your lives. By letting us know or guiding the conversations you can help us learn how to be better a encouragement and involvement in your life. You matter to us, and we aren’t trading you in – we just need to learn how to grow together so we can be an integral part of your changing lives. We wouldn’t miss it for the world! Thanks for letting us be apart of the journey.
Elizabeth, on behalf of your single girlfriends