A girl needs friends. I don’t care if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, or the rare ambivert. (Thanks to several personality profile tests over the years, I know I fall into the last category—strange people who both like to be around crowds of people and who also need to be left alone … it’s a complicated dynamic.)
Those who are introverts, like my tween daughter are cautious around a crowd of people. She loves her friends, in small groups, where she will chatter and laugh loudly. A large crowd? She will clam right up and be absolutely miserable!
Then there are the extroverts, like our youngest ten-year-old. If there is not enough action happening, she will create noise and movement—quiet is her nemesis. She goes roaring through life and is the center of every noisy adventure happening anywhere we take her.
But there is one thing both daughters share—the need for friends. When you’re young, it’s a bit easier to make friends. You’re in class together, or sports, or art, or something. Do an activity often enough with a group of peers and eventually you’ll find someone to click with.
However, as a mother, it is often a lot more effort to make friends. I’m usually schlepping my kids from one activity to another. When I’m not coordinating how to feed them and get homework done in the 10-minute window between activities, I’m attempting to keep the chaotic mess at home to a minimum.
And then there’s the difficulty of finding someone you have something in common with. Shortly after we moved to this area, my oldest daughter was enrolled in dance class. (Less because she was interested and more because I loved the idea of her dancing in a ballet costume!) Week after week, I went, and it was awful. My first attempts to make small talk were met with stiff, polite greetings, which quickly turned into conversation … among the other moms and about topics and people I didn’t know.
Apparently, I had missed the notation when I signed up my daughter that this particular class was only for a group of mom friends from a local neighborhood, which I did not live in. In time, I became friendly with several of the moms, but two of the moms made it very clear that I was not welcome at any time. It was uncomfortable and awkward.
Or there was the time I tried to be the friendly mom who made cupcakes for the entire midget football team, dressed in the team colors for every game, and volunteered for every possible thing the team ever needed. Yeah, that flopped after three seasons, when I realized that the women had been friends since high school and had zero interest in allowing in an outsider.
But, I kept making the effort to be friendly, to be nice, and to be involved. Over time, I have collected a diverse group of girlfriends.
I have my bus-stop buddy, who will stand outside on a freezing winter morning, clutching her coffee, while I clutch my hot chocolate—both of us sharing our adventures of getting kids out the door. Sometimes, we’ll even make it inside one of our homes to chat!
I have my girlfriends who I love to knit and crochet with. (Yes, I know I sound like an old woman, but I grew up doing crafts and I LOVE it!) We go to local craft shows together, schedule knitting/crocheting sessions, and share our lives as we craft away in harmony.
I have my girlfriends who compete in body building and work as trainers. I am nowhere near as in shape as these ladies are … I am not willing to commit to the time, nor the sacrifice of carbs that these ladies do.
Yet, we enjoy talking about health-related topics, kids, and I’ve picked up quite a lot of delicious and healthy recipes! (Paleo brownies that are DELICIOUS and a zucchini lasagna that my kids love are just a couple!)
I have my socially passionate friends who are ready to take on the world’s problems. These women are knowledgeable, giving, and incredible examples of truly making the world a better place through your actions.
And there are my friends that have dedicated their everything to being mothers—they home-school, grow gardens, and read every parenting book ever written. They inspire me, advise me, and make me a better mother because I know them.
My point is, through a lot of trial and error, in time, I have come to have a wonderful group of women in my life. Women who are mothers, women who are not; women who are married, women who are single/divorced/widowed; women who teach; women who lead. These women are diverse and wonderful!
What a blessing for me!
Right now, I am in a season of change and it is hard. It’s hard to realize that my son will never be as completely mine as he once was. He will be a man—an incredible man—after his mission. He will be prepared and ready to begin to write his own life’s story … I have become a footnote. That is hard to accept, even while I know it’s necessary.
Thank goodness for girlfriends who have walked the path of experience. They have comforted me and given me incredible insights as I enter this new season: Be patient, time will help. Fill my time with projects and friends. Live life with passion.
To anyone who has tried to reach out to make friends, I empathize. The journey to women friends is filled with unfriendly, insecure women and difficult schedules. Yet, it is a journey that is necessary to feed our souls. We need each other. Keep reaching out, I am reaching back, and someday may we meet together as friends.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.