As a homeschool mom of 5 who works part-time from home, I have a lot to manage. Between working, keeping up with my teenagers’ schedules, teaching my younger children, and managing my home, free time is rare. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my lack of close friends. I’ve tried to analyze the reason. I realize I don’t often write personal posts here (OK, so I don’t often write at all), so bear with me as I share.
Why don’t I have close mom friends?
Part of my situation can be explained by moving. I had a couple of very close friends as a young wife and mother. I made those friends at a time when it’s easy to make friends. My husband and I were newly married, and we had no children. Our friends also had no children at the beginning of our friendships. We were free to do lots of things with our friends and spend many late nights, talking, laughing, and playing games. We continued to do so after we had babies. What are portacribs for, right?
Then we moved to a different state. We joined a church 30 minutes from our home. It was hard to invite people over. With young children it seemed harder to build friendships. Being new, everybody already had friends. But I tried, and in that season I made some pretty good friends. I went to women’s Bible study at church and developed some friends there. I was no one’s best friend, but I did have a few ladies that I could talk to. During this time I also had a neighbor that I used to chat with a lot.
Then we moved again, closer to the church. Ironically at the same time that we moved closer, we left that church and joined a much smaller church. I had begun homeschooling a couple of years earlier and it had gotten to the point where attending a weekly daytime women’s Bible study was difficult because we basically lost an entire day of school. Around that time I went through a very difficult time after being rejected by a friend whom I had been meeting with for prayer and fellowship. Desperate to feel like I belonged, I asked to join a group of ladies (from the former church) who had been meeting for a regular evening Bible study. They let me join, and for a while I felt like one of the group. However, after the birth of my 4th child, I needed to host the group in my home because my husband was working a second job in the evenings and I had no childcare. The leader rejected my request, so that was the end of my involvement in that group.
That was over 9 years ago. The sting of that rejection is still there. That group of women still meet and go on weekend getaways. I’ve fought against the sadness that rises up when their pictures show up in my Facebook feed. I’ve wondered for years, what is so wrong with me?
Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone
I was recently given the opportunity to review the book Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone. Since I had already been pondering the topic, I thought it might be a good read.
Jill Savage and her adult daughter, Anne McClane. do a great job analyzing the different levels of friendship and the various types of friends. The book has helpful tips for meeting new people and getting to know people. There is a mothering personality inventory and a variety of creative ideas for ways that friends can share each others’ burdens in the busy seasons of life. These include swapping baby sitting or having freezer cooking get togethers. One that I had never thought of was working with a group of friends taking turns meeting at a different house to do a project with the friend that needs help.
Better Together is a useful resource, especially for those in women’s ministry leadership. It helped me to think through the hurts of my past and admit that one of the reasons that I haven’t made close friends is a fear of rejection and bitterness over past hurts. I also realized that another reason is that I am a bit selfish. I don’t often offer to help others and I’ve failed to invite people over because I’m too busy with my own family.
Even though I can identify reasons in my own behavior to explain why I may have been in this season of lacking close friends, I also remind myself that God is sovereign. He knows that I’ve been going through this, and He could have sent a close friend in spite of my friendship flaws. Instead, I have learned more about contentment. In my loneliness, God has been faithful to draw me closer to Himself.
I’m reminded of a quote by Elisabeth Elliot,
“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.”
So while I agree that friends are good for moms, I can’t fully agree with the subtitle of this book. No, we’re not meant to mom alone, we’re meant to mom alongside a dad. Having close friends is a bonus.