Now we are wives and moms, and our priorities change: taking care of our kids and our families, working outside the home and inside the home, keeping appointments and running errands. Sometimes, friendships get put on the back-burner and sometimes they just fade away altogether. I want to encourage you and remind you to make the time and effort to MAKE and MAINTAIN meaningful, like-minded friendships, and invest in people.
What does this have to do with being a Legacy Mom? I believe that the best mom is a mom who is healthy in all areas: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The quality of friendships we have with other women is crucial to our success in many areas of our life. Think about back when women had to work together: harvesting, sewing, washing, caring for the children, etc. Women young and old would gather together and voice their frustrations, offer advice, and share laughs. They would realize that they were not alone in their struggles and concerns. In less-industrialized countries, where moms spend more time with other moms, there are fewer cases of post-partum depression.
Think about it – don’t you just instinctively know that you feel better after connecting with someone? Whether it be a new friend or an old one, don’t you just feel happier and more energetic after having a good time with some girlfriends? Believe it or not, that is not just a “feeling”. Research actually shows that friendships protect us from depression and anxiety. They help boost our immune system and our cardiovascular system. People who spend time with friends have better memory and sleep better at night.
Researchers and experts also say that moms who have a support group of other moms, who can share ideas, vent frustrations and compare notes can make a difference in each other’s lives and keep one another from feeling alone and overwhelmed. A study conducted by the UCLA School of Medicine found that when women hang out with their girlfriends, they produce the hormone oxytocin, which actually acts to reduce everyday stress. The research suggests that investing time and energy into female friendships is a very simple and natural way to reduce stress.
We have more modern conveniences, more technology, more free time and “recreational activities” than women have ever had before in history. Moms these days are busier, yet more isolated, stressed, and lonelier than ever before. Why? We are just plain over-committed and under-connected.
When was the last time you met someone new and thought, “I really like her and I think we could be good friends?” Then you never took the initiative to get to know her? When was the last time you told a friend “We need to get together for coffee and catch up?” but didn’t schedule it and make it happen?
I am right there with you. One of my closest friends from college and I haven’t talked in years. We have been playing phone-tag for the last couple of weeks and discussed when we could set aside some time to talk. I think about it every day, and yet, I haven’t done it. Good intentions don’t count; it’s the actions that matter.
When I was a new mom an older mom told me that school years are the busiest and fastest of your life…boy was she right!
I believe that we all have the potential to fall into the trap of the treadmill. We get so caught up in our “daily schedules” that we miss the real important things: like connecting with other people. We schedule our days with things like hair and nail appointments, errands, working out, shopping, running kids to this class and that practice, and then find ourselves too “busy” to spend some quality time with a friend who may be going through a difficult time, or call an old friend, or get to know a neighbor and share our faith with them.
It’s not just when your kids are in school. We all know that season with a new baby. We can become all about that baby and can lose touch with others from the on-set of motherhood, then wonder why we feel so “disconnected.”
Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with getting your nails done, getting highlights, working out and shopping, but when you can’t visit a sick friend because you have a hair appointment, I think we need to ask ourselves where our priorities are. Life is about PEOPLE….not how many things we can check off our “to-do” list.
Connections and relationships are important.
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12
“Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth form each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
People should matter to us because they matter to God. God reaches people through relationships. God works on us and through us through our relationships with people.
Being over-committed and under-connected may make you super-efficient for the short-term, (you may “appear to be the super-mom” get a lot done on your to-do list, and may look like the super-volunteer who is on every committee and team mom and room mom) but in the long-term, you will be isolated and ineffective to really impact anyone for eternity and you may miss the blessings that God had for YOU through your meaningful connections with people instead of a superficial interaction as you rush to stay on schedule.
We as women have the capacity to be each other’s greatest allies and support system, if we are willing to get our priorities straight and get past the busyness and insecurities that keep us from reaching out and investing in people.
So don’t miss that blessing that God may have right in front of you today because you are too busy to notice it. Call that friend, give a kind word to the lady at the grocery store, invite that new girl over for coffee, and don’t let your need for having things done keep you from being available to do what God intended for you all along.
P.S. Can I just mention that Legacy Moms is a great place to meet and connect with other moms on a regular basis?
Now, I’m off to call my friend from college. : )