5 Simple (But Important) Ways To Make Time For Friends
Moms, you deserve a “Thank you!” for all of the many hats you wear. Even when times are tough, you still do everything you can for your family, friends and community. Now, it’s your turn to enjoy some time being supported and celebrated.
Children require a lot of attention, leaving very little time or energy for you to nurture your friendships. Even though we know self-care is essential for well-being, sometimes friendships are put on the back-burner in lieu of spending more time with the kids.
Finding quality time for friendship nourishes your soul. Friends can provide a shoulder to cry on, both physically and metaphorically. Time with friends encourages you to laugh, play and even be silly sometimes. Socializing with your besties can rejuvenate you like nothing else can, because you get a chance to just be yourself, without the endless distractions, urgent responsibilities, or vigilance that’s hard to shake as a mom.
It can be challenging to schedule time with friends. It’s hard to get away. This is especially true if you’re a single parent. Even if you have a partner, you may feel guilty leaving them alone and in charge, especially when the kids are little. It may even seem as though you’re neglecting your familial obligations. However, neglecting your needs and your friendships isn’t ideal, either. You need your circle.
It takes a village to raise our kids.
Every strong mom needs a solid support network.
1. Book a Friendship AppointmentIt’s clear that friendships matter. But how do you make time to see your friends? One way is to schedule your time, like it’s an appointment you can’t miss. You probably already schedule a “date night” with your significant other. You can also set a group date with several friends, rather than socialize individually, if that’s easier. Schedule a recurring day each month for a walk or a workout or dance class… or even a movie night or ladies night out. If your friends have kids too, schedule an activity once a month that the adults and kids can do together, like a trip to the zoo, indoor play café or a special playground.
2. Girl’s Night Out or Game Night In
Identify what makes you feel best and recharged. Are you happier out on the town or lounging on the couch with your gal pals? Whether you love going out to dinner and drinks with friends or prefer staying in to play Scrabble or work on a puzzle over laughter and hot chocolate — any time you can spend with friends will help.
Invite your friends over for a snack potluck or a charcuterie board buffet. A favorite recipe exchange or cookbook swap can be a quick way to connect with friends over the joy of cooking or baking. If a close friend seems more stressed than usual, offer to bring a meal or a coffee over. If you can, enjoy a meal together on a night out away from kids.
3. Start a book or movie club
Joining or starting a book club is one of the most fun ways to connect with other people. You don’t need to read a huge book if you don’t want to — consider starting an audio book club, movie club, short story club or even a podcast club; the point is to connect.
Make each gathering a potluck, and change locations, so everyone gets to host. You can even focus the meal around what you’re reading (or watching or listening to). Wild, raw or natural foods for Untamed by Glennon Doyle, a southern spread for Dolly Parton’s autobiography, Storyteller or Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing… or keep it simple and just make popcorn to watch Chloé Zhao’s adaptation of Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland, or another Oscar winner.
4. Meet for a walk or workoutOne of the easiest ways to connect in friendship is while you’re exercising at the same time. Pick a meeting place and go for a stroll through nature or around town. Perhaps there’s an artwalk to check out. You can even “mallwalk” or take a tour of your nearest Ikea. Even doing yardwork can be more fun with a friend.
5. Attend an event
Connect all your friends on a group chat and share any upcoming events that sound interesting, such as a talk, presentation, local play, museum show or even a demonstration. You’ll land on at least one that interests a few of your friends, and then you can make arrangements and set the date in place.
Now, you’ve got an “appointment” to spend time together doing something entertaining or meaningful. You can even throw out ideas like rent scooters at the park, take the ferry to an island, go to a grand opening of a new store or café, etc. Check local calendars and keep an eye out for fun ideas to consider. Aim for one event per month, or even designate a particular Sunday or Friday evening as “friend event night.”
A truly beautiful aspect of friendship is how it can introduce us to new ideas, possibilities and experiences. Having friends to call on when you need a second opinion, someone to lighten the mood or a sympathetic ear (or vice versa) is a great way to engage your village and find your way back to yourself.
And one of the best ways to ‘be yourself’ is to have fun with your friends. Now go send a text to your bestie!