Tag Archives: friends

Our Roles: Mom, Wife, Working Woman, Daughter … What about Friend?

You’re a mom and depending on the day, that takes up 90 to 100 percent of your energy. You’ve also got your career for which you’ve been committed to for years. Then there’s your hubby, and let’s not forget your own parents, siblings or other family members. So, what about your friends? Where do they fit in?

In our be-everything-to-everyone lives, finding time to spend with friends is hard. It’s crammed into your dwindling “Me Time” and it doesn’t happen near as much as anyone would like. No one wants to be the clichéd girl who fell off the map once she became a mom. She’s only better than the chic in college who disappeared after she got a boyfriend. But it happens.

I confess I’ve got friends I haven’t seen in two years. And I care about them dearly, but we can’t seem to get our schedules to mesh. Other friends, I do pretty good with. I still talk to my best friend almost every day and a group of my mommyfriends and I connect regularly.

However when things get extra busy, friends are the first thing to go. I become very slow to return phone calls and forget to return e-mails. Just last weekend I mixed up the dates for a birthday party and was a no-show. Lame right?

One good thing is I try to surround myself with people who understand, who won’t make you feel guilty for falling off the map. I mean, you’re already going to feel bad, who needs someone who will make you feel worse? And those understanding pals sometimes are moms, sometimes they’re not. I think it depends on that person’s nature. My best advice? Focus on the quality friends who make you feel good about you.

Another solution has been to block off time weeks in advance and treat the date as if it’s a doctor appointment. That gives me time to give Hubby notice, get a babysitter if need be and stave off possible time conflicts. Though admittedly it becomes awkward when I tell people that our weekends are booked until mid-September, but it’s true. It’s our system, it’s not perfect, but it works.

This may seem contradictory to my previous point, but I also recommend allowing for some spontaneity. Once I had an unexpected open evening and decided to hang out. It was 5 p.m. and I called eight of my friends to see who was free. The proposal was no dinner, no coffee, just go a movie and then go home. Two of us went and had a blast.

It’s hard to find time to fit in friends, but when we do we always feel rejuvenated and more like “ourselves.” They’re an awesome touchstone. If a date with a pal doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up for it. Just try again.

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Meeting A Best Friend For the First Time

This weekend I met six besties, BFFs, biffs and believe me, it was a BFD. I’ve blogged about these ladies before but we met on the parenting website BabyCenter in 2007 and formed a group focused on fitness. Six of our 10-member clique met in person for the first time Friday and spent the entire weekend together in a condo in downtown Chicago. Almost sounds like a reality TV show, eh?

We’ve been looking forward to meeting in person since those bonds were forged over swollen bellies. I’ve met a few of them as they’ve looped through Chicago or when I’ve winged through New York. But all of us under the same roof? Eeks! What if you don’t get along? My husband asked. What if you guys get in a fight and it forever changes the group? A friend questioned. What if they’re not as cool as you think?

I blew off their questions. We’ll be fine, we’ve know each other so long and have shared our lives’ most intimate details. Everything will be fine. Inside, though, I was nervous. We run the spectrum on racial backgrounds, tax brackets, religious beliefs, and political persuasions. Will we get along?

First of all Chicago’s air traffic didn’t disappoint. The girls came in from Minnesota, Texas, New Jersey and Florida. Practically everyone’s flight was late and the city was properly clogged with Blackhawks celebrations, so we got off to a later-than-normal start. We picked our rooms in Real World type fashion: First come first serve. All the rooms had spectacular views from the 38th floor across the street from Millennium Park and near the lake front.

At first it was me and Jess unpacking groceries and prepping snacks. Then came Sarah and Brady and there was never that awkward first-date feel. We all fell in lock-step, not like friends, but more like family. We traipsed up and down Michigan Avenue, I bought too much but what else is new. We chatted and shopped and laughed and talked and giggled and gabbed.

We noshed on Chicago’s famous pizza back at the condo while Linds arrived and then we waited for Lynn. She was set to get in after 11 p.m., and a welcoming committee of three met her at the L stop. It was a relief to have the last piece of the puzzle in place, we were all here. Our Hawt Mamas group.

The next day there was the Field Museum, Blues Fest, World Cup soccer watching on the Magnificent Mile, tapas at Cafe Iberico, followed by Navy Pier at night. We did a lot, but the best part was just lounging around the condo talking about everything and nothing. It was freeing to talk face-to-face with the girls instead of pecking out feelings on the keyboard.

The more I thought about that feeling of comfortability, the more I realized I truly love these women and they love me back. Unconditionally. And that was probably the most surprising thing about the weekend _ how unnaturally natural it was to meet a best friend for the first time.