I walked into Target, and I could see her, my sweet friend Christi, looking noncommittally through the dollar bins. It had been almost a year since I had laid eyes on her in real life. She turned around and spotted me, and we made a scene, hugging and laughing and loudly declaring that we couldn’t believe that this day was happening: a whole, kid-free day with our best friend in the world.
We met years ago, in church. And, through a combined six moves and thousands of life changes, we have managed to maintain our close friendship. Against all odds, actually. Because when women are in this phase of life–this crazy child-rearing stage, it is so hard to stay close to our friends. It is really tough to carve out time for anyone but our kids and our husbands. And, if we aren’t intentional about it, we won’t.
Unless we’re careful, young moms, we will wake up one day and find that all of those incredibly fulfilling friendships that once overflowed in our pre-baby lives have melted away, gradually and without much fanfare. We will feel the weird invisible weight of loneliness, and we may even try to force our kids or our parents or our husbands to fill those roles that should be uniquely set aside for dear friends.
You need someone to call when you are feeling misunderstood. You need someone to confide in. Someone who you know will always be on your side, who will see things from your point of view, or will at least sympathize with your point of view, even if she has to tell you some tough truths as she sees them. You need a sounding board, someone to reassure you and build you up and cry with you and laugh hysterically with you. Yes, our husbands are often great friends to us, but we also need friends who are women, and our husbands need friends who are men.
So, be careful, dear mamas, and don’t let your sweet family consume everything about you, especially not your close friendships. You will be a better wife and mother if you have at least one close, godly friend in your life. Christi holds me accountable, and she always listens, always takes me seriously, and she rejoices with me and cries with me. I can’t imagine life without her, even if I don’t get to see her in real life that often. We’re always communicating, and her words have gotten me through many a rough day of mothering, some long upsetting days of marriage, and plenty of disappointing days of failing miserably in the Christian life.
If you have lost touch with some of your dear friends, mamas, take time to reconnect. You will be so glad you did. And, God will bless you again and again through those friendships, especially here, in the midst of the wild and crazy world of raising babies and loving husbands.
This is so true. As a military wife that moves frequently, often overseas and many time zones away, I find it difficult in certain locations to cultivate new friendships and maintain old ones. Everytime I put in the effort though, it is well worth it.
Paula, I imagine that being a military wife present special challenges in the friendship department. Thanks so much for your comment!
This post is making me think…I don’t know if I agree or not. I have always had lots of “acquaintance/group-type” friends, but not a lot of friends like the ones you describe. I am very close to my husband and mother, and feel like they provide me with the kind of relationship you are talking about here. I hope I am not “forcing them to fulfill roles” that they shouldn’t have to fill. My husband doesn’t have close friends either (aside from his siblings) and he is happy with that. I understand that we need to have community in Christ with fellow believers, but don’t you think that there is an element of personality that causes some people to need close friendships more than others? I’m interested to see if I’m the only one that feels this way!
Hi, Lynn! Thanks so much for your comment. I think it’s wonderful that you’re close to your husband and your mother. And, you could be right that for you they are all you need. I’m also extremely close to my husband, of course, and my mother. I talk to her every day, sometimes multiple times a day. But, I maintain that even though I COULD talk to my mom about any and everything, I don’t really feel that I should. There are times when I need to just vent about frustrations in married life or ask embarrassing questions or talk to a friend who is in the throes of child-rearing. My mom would listen to all of that and give great advice, and she often does. But, there are some things she wouldn’t want to (and shouldn’t) hear about.
As for my husband, who is the love of my life, we talk about almost everything. But, there are times when I am feeling insecure or worried, and it helps me to turn to my dear friend, who encourages me and reassures me in ways that my husband, as a man who thinks differently than I do, wouldn’t be able to do.
So, those are some of the reasons I think it’s good to have girlfriends. And, it’s possible that you don’t need to talk as much as I do, or that you feel perfectly comfortable talking to your mom and husband about all of your thoughts. That’s great! I’m betting I’ll hear from more people today who agree with you. Thanks again for taking the time to comment!
My thoughts very nearly mirror Lynn’s along with a caution- I think we need to be careful how much we need a friend outside of our husband to talk over marriage frustrations with. Much harm is done to marriages by women discussing their marriages with friends instead of working things out with hubby or seeking counsel of an older woman.
I do ,however, realize I am not the kind who “needs” a friend very often.
Also I am pondering again, as I have in the past, as to whether I am asking too much of my husband to be my only best friend…..
I think having friends is more of a need for younger women than as you get older.
I agree with you. I have a couple of close friends but lately it seems those relationships are waning. I don’t feel like I’m forcing my kids or my husband to fill any roles that friends should be filling. First of all, after Jesus, my husband is my best friend. And I think it’s great. I can talk to him about anything. Secondly, in my life my husband works 2 jobs and I homeschool 4 kids. Girl time is fun and nice. A 15 minute conversation with a good friend is nice. But it doesn’t compare to my time with my family. Furthermore, when I occasionally feel lonely throughout the day, I know it’s probably because I’m not walking very closely with God. When I’m in His word, the loneliness fades away. I don’t discount the value of true friends because, like I said, I have a couple and when I truly need someone to listen to me or to just have adult conversation with and my husband isn’t available, I go to them. And I love them. I think definitely Christian women should fellowship with other Christian women but I don’t think it’s a necessity for life to have a very best friend to share all of life’s ups and downs with.
A large part of being a mom and a wife is realizing, things change and that’s ok. I don’t talk to 95% of my “friends” that I had before I got married anymore. New friends came along, life got busy, marriage got deep, babies grow fast, etc. Life has a way of sorting things out. It doesn’t mean you lose yourself to your family, it just means your priorities shift and your role as wife and mom take precedence over the role of friend.
I feel the same way lol. I’ve never had but a couple close friends. Its just the way I am. I’m an introvert so I guess that’s why. Hanging out with a lot of friends exhausts me. I don’t prefer to go to stuff like MOPS for that reason. I just prefer one on one or two hangout time. And some of my closest friends…don’t have children lol. Its hard to make mommy friends. Outside stuff gets in the way and the friendships seem to be shallow. I’m not sure if that can be helped or not. :/ some people I click with, and some I just don’t. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy light friendships but I’m not going to invite an acquaintance or friend I don’t really know to come hang out with just me. Ive never been able to force friendships! My best friends through out my life have sort of just come along and happened lol
Also, I’ve been frustrated lately because it seems that a lot, not all of course, of other moms my age who are Christians seem to put their identity in being a mom and wife first and then in Christ. Its like kids and homemaking and homeschooling and being a wife is the main thing and the gospel is just to compliment that lifestyle. Like, I wanna talk about the bible and God and a lot of stuff that don’t have to directly do with my kids or my home or marriage. Those things are very important in my life, but its not what I live for. Its kinda like some people wanna only talk about biblical topics if they have to do with that stuff. Its like motherhood, homemaking and marriage have become idols. And its really hard to see when that happens because all of those things can be very good and godly things. That’s just why its hard for me to make meaningful friendships with other moms.
I long for a few close friends nearby. I’ve prayed for them and actively pursue having women over, creating group get-togethers, etc. But it is just really slow in coming. I have learned to let my loneliness draw me closer to Christ. I just didn’t know friendships would take this much work. Adding in issues of comparison and insecurity, it rules out a lot of possible friendships because women seem to get caught up in all that. It’s frustrating. Why can’t we all just be secure in what God thinks of us and seek to be friendly, open, welcoming, genuinely interested in the other person, and encouraging to the women God places in our lives? We’d all have more friends, I think. Women do need friends to spur each other on to godliness and share life with. Thanks for the reminder not to give up, to maintain the friendships I have, and to develop new ones.
Kay, you’re right. Having friendships outside of your family does take work. I’m sorry those connections have been slow in coming, but don’t give up! Your efforts will make a difference in your life and the lives of other women!
Would you please pray for a Godly friend for my daughter? She’s a new mom and truly needs one. She has had much hurt from old friendships and is very wary. Thank you !
Just said a prayer for her, Julie!
I agree. I have a one year old and we are expecting baby #2 this summer. When my son was two months old and I was feeling very isolated I prayed that God would send me a friend and he did! It has been such a blessing to have this friendship and others that have developed over the last 18 months.
That’s awesome, Emily!
I have been cursed with a personality that desires deep friendship and yet I feel like I can’t seem to develop any. I’ve been praying for God to give me a good friend for a long time and his answer seems to be “no” or maybe “not right now”. So then I ask him to take this desire away and he hasn’t done that either. I put effort into friendships, but I’m still lonely. Hopefully, some of the moms around me will read this article and start putting effort in as well. 🙂 In the back of my mind I’m pretty sure I must just be socially awkward or must not be easy to talk to or something.
Sara, I’m sure that’s not it! You just haven’t run across the right person/people yet. Keep trying! Praying for you!
Sara, let Jesus be your friend for now. Talk to him throughout your daily life. Pay and tell Him u want Him to fill that hole. Even the best of friends cannot take the place of Jesus, and that is wonderful!
Friends are great – I definitely agree. Not everyone has close friends, however, just because of how their life plays out – circumstances, life responsibilities, etc., and sometimes due to our own lack of reaching out and being friendly. Thankfully, we have One Faithful and True friend who is always with us – Jesus. He can (and should be) everything to us – He certainly gave up everything to be our heart’s first love!
Thanks for this post – I agree!! I really crave and need to be with people but find it difficult in this stage of life to find others who want to take the time. We do not live near family and my close friends do not live near us. There are some friends where we are but they don’t have the time for this kind of friendship and it is hard for me not having that.
I wish I could trust someone like that again. I had a close friend like that – a best friend. And she doesn’t want to be friends with me anymore. I still have dreams that I am telling her I love her and she won’t respond to me. I do feel very alone.
This is so true! I am now no longer a young mom, but I still have two young boys and two college-aged kids at home, with three married children elsewhere. About 25 years ago I longed and prayed for a friend with whom I could talk deeply and pray about things that matter. The Lord brought me Diane, with whom I met bi-weekly for some years, and off and on since then. We raised our children together, and whenever we wanted some one to be sure to pray, we could ask one another. It is a friendship of trust, respect, and no sense of “you owe me,” so there is freedom and no unhealthy “pull.” And we both have other good friends as well–expecting one person to be a best friend always is probably not healthy.
I have friends from childhood and two sisters that I confide in . Recently We moved a very long distance and for six months I was very lonely, my husband and I talk but he works a great amount six full days a week and more and cannot talk on the phone at his job. I’ve always needed female companionship.
I finally begged God to send a friend or two, to do this I had to go out of my way . I had to get up and meet women. But the results were gaining true friends that I am loving getting to know !
We can’t sit in our homes and expect a friend to walk in, we often make them by serving or volunteering , by actively getting out of our homes and at least trying to say hello even when we feel very shy and unsure of ourselves .
That’s true..but I have never had a friend whom I could trust 100%. And I don’t know whether I need one. I think I do in those difficult situations when I am feeling lonely. But sometimes it’s enough to get out and socialize with different people..
I am not what is considered a “young” mom anymore. I have 5 children, from 24 down to 10 years old. I am slow to make friends, anyway, and when I was growing up had only 2 close friends. Now, I have 2 friends (more than acquaintances), but they do not live nearby, so I see them rarely. My husband does not like for me to talk to other people, even on the phone. He gets SO jealous. When he calls here during the day, if he gets a busy signal, he will call repeatedly until I answer. Then demand to know who I have been talking to. (It’s almost always me paying bills by phone, calling a business for something he has told me to check into, or my 18 year old taking to her beau (which he is acting jealous of lately) ). The kids and I went to a nearby town yesterday to pick up some parts for my husband, and while we were there, one of my friends met us to eat the noon meal. My husband called me while we were all eating, wanted to know where we were and what we were doing, so I told him. He hung up. And I don’t understand this jealousy of his. He has a friend who he will go and spend all day with on a lot of weekends. This man and his wife are people who I do not feel comfortable around because of their lifestyle, so I am not friends with them, but my husband is. He talks to them on the phone daily, also. Oh, well. Some people just don’t get the opportunity to have close friends.
There is a great book called “No More Lone Ranger Moms”. It helped me immensely when my boys were little. So much so that we made it a ‘mom’s group’ bible study of sorts.