I watched a movie the other night, the premise of which was Friendships Matter. While the movie was unremarkable, it did make me consider the amount of time I don’t spend with my closest friends.
Recent research has found that women’s friendships are key to our mental well-being and good health, but if you’re like me, chances are your closest friends don’t live next door, or even in your city. And with all that moms have on their plates, you probably don’t have adequate time to connect regularly. I’m sure you have a text thread to keep each other looped in, but we all know that’s not enough; it’s a Band-Aid solution at best. And it’s high time we change that.
Think about it: if the world’s most successful companies mandate face-to-face meetings, then isn’t it time we mandate them in our personal lives as well?
It recently occurred to me that my best friend and I have only seen each other for a couple of days in the last 3 years! In that time I have added a third child, coped with the loss of a parent, and moved to the dreaded suburbs.
In her world, she has climbed the corporate ladder, juggled two kids, and said goodbye to her beloved grandfather.
If I’m honest, I don’t know what her life has really looked like for the past few years. Her day-to-day grind, her true mental state and if she still thinks “mango” is an appropriate color for my skin tone (it’s not). What if she’s dead inside?? Who knows? I’ve been too busy googling “can children dry-drown in the shower” to even ask.
As I hurtle towards 40, I recognize that we are both “growing up,” just without each other. And that means that these fluctuating hormones, loss of identity, anxiety about raising kids, depression about our planet, family drama and so much more, are not things we are experiencing together. Most of these conversations can’t be fully handled over text or through choppy WiFi or on a quick call in between work trips.
In three years, so much has been left unsaid. A dear friend of mine recently turned 40 and told me that she woke up one day and said “where is my squad?” Between her kid’s activities, carpool arrangements, birthday parties, family trips, and drinking enough water (so much damn water), she felt disconnected from her true friends. Her friendships were surviving on autopilot. And I know she’s not alone.
Most of us moms spend so much energy navigating parenthood that we need friendships to help us raise our kids. We seek out fellow moms with kids of the exact same age, who live nearby so we have a community to vent to when our babies stay up all night or our toddlers shame us at Target. But that is only one piece of our Life puzzle. Moms are not a monolith. We each have storied lives and great friendships from before kids, all of which shaped who we are, our actual personalities. We are so much more than So-and-So’s mom.
Now that my youngest is two, I am not solely investing in “mom friends” anymore. I don’t need help with my kids, I need help with me. I am navigating so much on my own and my husband shouldn’t have to be the Gayle to my Oprah. Besides, he’s a man and we all know fathers have a very different existence than mothers. Even our mid-life crises look different.
If I look at this through a marketing perspective, we are two completely different market segments. What product has a target market of both my husband and me? Other than a fucking Peloton, there’s not much. So if we don’t even buy the same shit, why am I expecting him to understand half the stuff I bring up? The point is, he doesn’t, and he shouldn’t have to because that is my best friend’s job.
So, in an effort to save my sanity and relieve my sweet hubby from my nonsense, I am booking a flight, I am booking a hotel, and I will be going on a girls’ trip. And you should too. It’s for your health.