Today we are continuing our Just Ask the Wemmicks Series.
This Month’s Question:
I’m looking for wisdom in maintaining friendships for myself while homeschooling. What kind of schedule have other women found works best for them and their families?
Over the past few years, I’ve found my friendships with other women to be dwindling, and I’ve been getting lonely. But with homeschooling during the day, napping babes in the afternoon, and trying to have family time with daddy in the evening, I’m just not sure how to fit my friends into our schedule.
We’re in a bimonthly co-op and attend church, but now I feel like I have tons of happy acquaintances and no close friendships. Any ideas for solutions? Take more days off from schooling to be with other families? Take more evenings off to be with my friends or with other families? Get together on weekends? Invite people over in the evenings?
What about my old friends who send their children to a school who prefer to get together during the day? How do others balance family time with outside friends time. I’ve been praying about this for a year, but I’m also introverted and initiating invites doesn’t come natural. What do you do?
When I was a younger mom, I thought it was my duty to stay home all the time and mind the house and the children. We didn’t have a lot of money, and my husband and I weren’t even going out on dates, so the idea of going out with a friend was just not on my radar screen.
Here’s what I DID do that helped me maintain some friendships back then:
- I hosted Bible studies in my home. This gave me a chance to get together with a small group of women each week where we shared prayer needs and talked about whatever study we were going through. Some of them found sitters, and some just brought their kids, and they played with our kids.
- We were always part of a small group at church where we met twice a month with the same group of families. The kids would play while the adults connected on a more personal level.
- I had my closest friends come over to my house with their kids and spend a day. When the kids were little I could do this any old time of year on any old day. As the kids got older and school became more of a hindrance, I would purposely set aside summer and any school breaks to make sure I got together with those friends. Our kids loved having little friends over to play too – so it was a win-win for everyone.
- When the Internet came to our home, I connected online with local and long-distance friends via email and blogging. You can now Skype face to face which further enhances the online connection potential of the Internet.
Here’s what I am currently doing to connect with friends:
- I continue to connect with my closest friends on the Internet. I have a Facebook group where there are four of us who are close enough to share serious issues, pray, and encourage one another. We don’t “meet” every day, but I always know they are there for me when I need them, and vice versa.
- I am setting aside two times a month where I go out with a friend. I have about 5-6 close friends (local) that I like to regularly meet with. We usually go out on a Saturday morning or on a week night – and meet at a coffee shop. I love these times away. Make sure your husband understands the importance of your being able to maintain close girlfriend relationships if he doesn’t already.
- I’m still using school breaks to have a friend and her children over. I haven’t been able to do this as much since our home business has grown, and I’m busy with that, but I do try to do this periodically.
Other miscellaneous bits of advice:
- Some friends will fall by the wayside over time. This is OK. I’ve had to accept over the years that not every friend “fits” into the lifestyle I’ve chosen for myself and our family. This is a normal part of life for everyone. Let them go and move on.
- Along that line, make a list of your friends and divide them into categories: kindred spirits, potential kindred spirits, not-so-kindred-but-you’re-sort-of-stuck-with-them-cuz-they-go-to-your-church-spirits, old friends from a past life (pre-marriage, etc.), long-distance friends, etc..
- Figure out which ones you want to be in contact with regularly and brainstorm ways to make that happen.
- Even though initiating doesn’t come naturally to you, initiating is part of a healthy life, and you are making a choice to do it or not to do it. When you don’t initiate, you are making a passive choice, but a choice nonetheless.
- In continuation of that last point, set up a schedule for yourself at the beginning of each month in which you intentionally plot out your “friendship” strategy. Send out emails or make those phone calls and set up any appointments.
You are smack dab in the thick of an intense, busy, draining time of life, but I believe God still wants you to have healthy, close relationships with girlfriends. These relationships will encourage you in your responsibilities, your relationship with God, and your growth as a person. But in order to cultivate these kinds of friendships in the midst of the life you’ve chosen, you must strive to be intentional and strategic.
Want some more ideas? Check out these Wemmicks here:
Marcia at eHomebody
Molly at Counter Cultural Mom