Once upon a time, it seemed as if I had all the time in the world. I had a couple of kiddos (as did all my friends) and I wasn’t homeschooling yet. It wasn’t uncommon for me to chat on the phone, take a quick drive to a friend’s house, or head out of town with a group of gals for a La Leche Meeting or just a day at the zoo.
And then that all changed.
I had several babies in quick succession, my home needed me more often, and I started homeschooling full time. I could no longer spend hours on the phone (something I probably shouldn’t have been doing anyway!), I didn’t like being away from the house for very long because either it or the homeschooling ended up neglected, and it just felt easier to be home rather than away.
However, I have discovered one rather disturbing effect of my staying at home more. I begin to neglect real life friendships and replace them with online ones.
I know many people do not see a problem with this and I must admit, I have some friends I treasure dearly whom I never met, but there is something irreplaceable about real life friendships with other women, especially those in the trenches with you or who have gone ahead before you.
We need to see Titus 2 women in action!
But, you have to actually find time for these friendships, so here are a few ways I carve out time to spend with friends who encourage me in my walk as a Christian wife and mother:
1. Plan ahead. You may not be able to be your spontaneous self anymore now that you have several children, so plan time to get together instead of randomly heading to a friend’s house. Make sure you have plenty of diapers and the children are well fed and enjoy your day!
2. Short visits are great. Stop by for dessert, coffee, to drop something off. Friendships don’t always have to be in the form of long visits.
3. Get together for a project. Working alongside a friend is a wonderful way to get to know them better and also learn from them (or vice-versa). Plus, at the end of it all, you have something visible to show for your time.
4. Cultivate friendships that can involve the entire family. There is nothing more difficult than friendships where only the wives get along so the husbands never come along for a visit or don’t speak two words to each other when they do. Equally as rough are the friendships where your children and her children can’t stand each other. Try to find like-minded families where you can visit as a family.
5. Be hospitable. As a large family mama in the trenches, I know how difficult it can be to be hospitable. We have to learn to step outside ourselves and whatever it is that is holding us back and be hospitable to others, welcoming them into our homes and hearts.
6. Cultivate low-maintenance friendships. You know that friend who can pick up with your right where the two of you left off? Those are some of the best kinds of friends for busy moms!
7. Don’t forget long-distance friends. We have some dear friends that do not live near us anymore. We try very hard to visit when we can and stay in touch.
So, how do you find time for your friends? How have your friendships changed over the years?