(Photo credit by Pixaby)
Lately, I have been tuning into a lot of podcast that talk about how to encourage more womanly bonding and togetherness. In a world where we are constantly overscheduled, overly-committed how do we find the time to come together and just be? Even where women are together especially in times where kids are around, our quality time is usually split up by wiping up a spill, helping with a bathroom break or snack, so what might have been a “play date” for moms and kids really is a “play distraction”.
As a mother of three girls, and a full-time high school teacher, I cherish that time to get together with my girlfriends to just sit and be. Between my own busy work schedule and my kids after school commitments it becomes harder and harder to find the time (unless I schedule it months in advance) What’s even worse is when I do have free time away from my kids I want to be selfish with where and who I spend my time with, because frankly that time is precious. And yet, even more today with less interaction it is needed more than ever.
So how do we find the time to “make time”? Here are a few tips that I’ve come to learn that help when building a mom community.:
1. Keep your expectations low-
Its okay if your activities aren’t centered around high end things. You don’t need a birthday party or a social occasion to get together. Sometimes just a quick takeout meal on your friends couch and a heart to heart conversation is just what the doctor ordered.
2. Don’t over plan
The less structured in some cases can actually be better. I have found that if I plan a gathering, the more “I try to plan” the more I become disappointed at who or what didn’t happen. My vision of a dinner party goes wrong, or a mom’s night out might have unmet expectations. Enjoy the moments with your mom friends and don’t think about what “could’ve been”, think about “what is.” As the old saying goes, “quality over quantity.”
3. Multi-task your mom-time in the everyday things
As I have come to learn recently, “there is no such proven method of multi-tasking” but there is the ability to get more out of your mom-time than meets the eye. If you’ve signed up “solo” for a bible study, ask a friend to join you or see if there other mom’s interested so that you can learn and share together. If you’re in a volunteer group for your child’s school befriend the other mom’s and find some common group. Being at a birthday party might not seem appealing for mom-time but it can be the stepping stone to find community and build from there. Another way is to carpool with someone to an event. I have found some of the best quality time can be in a drive to and from a destination because it’s in those drives where the rest of the world is separated by you and the vehicle and you can just be and have some really great heart-to-heart conversations.
4. Guest clean-vs. friend clean
Sometimes having people over one’s house seems more like a chore than an invitation, especially when you want to make your home clean and presentable. In fact most women feel they can’t invite other women over if their home isn’t picture perfect. Most women (especially those who know you or want to get to know you) won’t judge if your home isn’t picture perfect. I’ve realized that it’s really me that has the biggest problem when friends come over to visit. They don’t care if my couch has laundry or a little clutter laying around. They’re realistic that I have kids and are the most forgiving. Now I try to do the basics (clean the bathroom, sinks, and sweep) but if my house isn’t guest clean, where every corner is immaculate and every cobweb has been removed I don’t think my mom-friends are going to notice, especially if these are women I value and I call friends
5. Don’t get discouraged if you’re friends can’t meet the first time you invite them.
The reality is, you’re not the only busy mom out there. I use to get upset when I had a lady from my women’s group cancel on me a day before we were set to meet or right before an event. What I realized is her life was just as busy as mine and sometimes busier that her schedule was constantly changing. Most women, usually want to spend time with other women but the reality is that we often get pulled in multiple directions. Now don’t assume I just shrugged it off, and accept every cancelation that happens, but when I finally talked to her about it she came clean about the reality of her schedule, her family life and what she was living made it hard for her to live in the what she was experiencing.
6. Pray for amazing women
In the last year, I have come to learn that the power of prayer can be amazing. Taking a small moment in the day to pray for your friends, future mom friends to be. This can be very powerful. God will bring some of the most amazing women in your life if you pray to him and ask for him to guide you.
7. Get out there and take action
If you’re waiting for the perfect moment or for lightening to strike you for an opportunity to get together than you’ll be waiting forever. Call a friend, invite a few ladies over (friend-clean house not guest-clean of course) for a bible study. Plan an afterschool on a Friday get to-gether at the local pizza parlor or even just a quick Saturday morning coffee. If you provide the opportunity, most women will provide the conversation to go along with it. The idea is to create more fellowship.
What other ways can you build mom community time?