Creating Healthy Friendships

Being a mom is tough stuff. We keep crazy schedules, maintain households, and serve as the nurturing bond for our family (most of us do, anyways). Some of us work outside of the homes, which can only add more “crazy” to an already crazy existence. Trying to squeeze everything into the small 24 hours a day allotted to us can be a bit overwhelming and some days just impossible. I don’t need to describe a possible schedule, you’re all living it. So, what, you ask, is the purpose of this blog? Some of you may not even have the time to squeeze in for reading this blog. Time, time, time…it’s all subjective. One thing that we should have time for is friendships. When some of us hardly have time to spare for our significant other, how are we to create healthy friendships? It’s not impossible, but it is hard.

First, let me start with a blog I read the other day. It was titled, “The 3 Second Pause That Can Save a Morning & Spare Some Time.” I shared it on my Facebook page, Dreaming of Mommyhood, but if you haven’t read it, please take a moment to indulge yourself. Here is the link: http://www.handsfreemama.com/2015/01/12/the-3-second-pause-that-can-save-a-morning-spare-some-pain/

After reading that blog, I found that I too have the same problem at times as Hands Free Mama. There are days and instances when I feel that I don’t have the time to do a 3 second pause, but I need to find that time. I need to find that time if for no other reason than the sheer fact that it will make ME feel better.

Sure, sure we all cast away ourselves when we become mothers. Suddenly things that seemed so important, instantly seem trivial and not worth our efforts. We find ourselves forced into trying to be a vision of this “perfect mother”, perhaps the June Cleavers of the world. These days it’s virtually impossible, but what is possible is that 3 seconds. In that 3 seconds we have the opportunity to become our nurturing selves again. In those 3 seconds, we have the ability to feel good about ourselves which leads me to creating healthy friendships.

In this day and age, it’s hard to maintain friendships. I have some friends, who’ve maintained close friendships with people with whom they were friends for over 20 years! 20 years! That’s crazy! I don’t have friends from 20 years ago. In most cases, these friendships are healthy and are conducive to their lifestyles, especially when they all have kids together. They can create weekend outings with each other and their families. I know one group who have a “mountain weekend” together every year. It’s a wonderful time for all of them, spouses and children, included. It’s a healthy friendship.

Thanks to the era of social media, we can all be “friends”. It’s my way of keeping in contact with my friends from high school and college. It’s great and easy, because I can see what they’re up to without actually investing the time into a conversation that would tear me away from something else. Is that healthy? NO! Truthfully, some of them I no longer want to invest the time with and I’m actually thankful that we have other ways than the telephone call, but maybe that’s what we need.

I can remember my mother sitting in the kitchen talking to her sister-in-law, her best friend, in the evenings after dinner. It was just the two of them. They were able to hear the inflections in each other’s voices. They were able to convey their true feelings, and they were able to have a friendship, one that was healthy especially when asking for advice was broached. Social media doesn’t allow for this type of interaction anymore.

Social media is great at allowing us to be a bit nastier to each other, to take away some humanity at times. Hey, I’m not bashing social media. It is my livelihood and allows me an outlet, this blog. Social media; however, has allowed “friends” and strangers to become your worst enemy, your greatest nagger, your grandest criticizer.

The thought for this blog originally stemmed from a post on Facebook from Parents Magazine. On it, there was a picture of Kelly Clarkson’s daughter with a set of head phones over her ears with the caption of her “dancing” to mommy’s music. It was an absolutely adorable picture, but it was met with harsh comments on Clarkson’s mothering abilities. Most were upset that a child was wearing headphones, and the remarks were just mean.

What a world we’ve become when we, as mothers, instead of bonding together for the betterment of our children and society, choose to tear each other apart and sit in judgment of each other. Hey, I’ve been guilty of it, and on extreme cases i.e. a mother leaving a child in a locked car with over 100 degree weather, I’m still guilty of it…that passing judgment. Why do we do this to each other and more over, why do we allow others to do it to us?

I asked my mother about criticism, healthy and unhealthy, she received while as a mom. She said it was rare. The occasional family member would pipe in from time to time, but it’s nothing like today. The world knows your every move today and feels that it’s their job to chime in with some advice, warranted or not. She brought up my blog. Instead of wearing my emotions on my sleeve, I wear them on the world wide web. I open myself up for the criticism. And she’s right, but it shouldn’t be this way.

This all leads me to what further pushed me to write this blog, and that was Tuesday night’s Bible Study which was titled “Healthy Friendships”. The study opened with this passage, “A friends loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17. It went on to discuss the unhealthy friendships we create. There are times when I consider cutting off all friends and going at motherhood alone (not without my husband, though). There are times when I think I don’t want to invest in friendships. They’re tiresome, judgmental, gossipy, and all around unhealthy. Perhaps that just some of the friends I choose and I should purge them from my life.

In Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, the teacher states: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.”

The Lord never intended for us to be alone, otherwise he’d never created Eve for Adam. Of course, I don’t believe the Lord ever intended for us to be as condescending and nasty to each other as we’ve become. The Lord created people to serve Him, and while in serving Him to create a fellowship with each other. Today’s “fellowship” is so skewed that there’s hardly a true definition which we’re all living up to.

Who are your friends and are they healthy for you? If you only count the ones on Facebook, then you’re not having a true, healthy friendship. We all need to find the time to be friends to each other. We all need to find a way to help each other when we fall down. We all need to find a way to go back to the days of our parents and investing time with a friend.

I encourage you all to take that time to make friendships. A strong, healthy friendship can encourage you in your 3 seconds. Get outside, be adventurous and open-minded. Be loving and compassionate. Find that friend who complements you and build each other up. Be a friend and find a friend. It could save your life and your sanity.

“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, ‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’ This too is meaningless – a miserable business.” Ecclesiastes 4:8.

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