Conscious Conversations #1: Finding Supportive Friends

A friend called out of the blue to ask to catch up after months of absence. We talked about how hard it is for him to find interesting women to talk to about non-superficial things, and how he wondered if he’d ever find a partner.

We talked about the new role models I was attempting to add to the lives of my children. He asked, “When are you going to stop finding people who add to your kids’ lives, and start finding people who add to yours?”

Then we parted for what will undoubtedly be another six months before the next catch up.

My friend is 22 years old.

There are always interesting things that come up in my conversations with this young man. This is why we are friends, even though there are more than 20 years of age difference.

As Choice Moms we spend so much time figuring out how to have a child, how to take care of an infant, how to answer questions about our child’s origins to others and to them. Literally years can go by when we hunger for real conversation, perhaps without even knowing it.

My tipsheet for finding supportive friends, now that my kids are older and I’ve been able to assess what can get lost:

  • Do you have someone to gossip with and/or vent with in semi-regular phone calls, that has little to do with motherhood?
  • In an emergency, when you need someone to watch your kids with little or no warning, who do you call?
  • Who helps you take life less seriously?
  • When the kids are at sleepovers, who do you hang out with?
  • If one of your parents dies, whose shoulder do you cry on?
  • Who do you talk to deeply about something you are passionate about: politics, education reform, philosophy, literature, science, spirituality?

As I’ve mentioned in other commentaries, I’m learning and growing in my own journey right alongside my children. Motherhood is always transformational. One of the things I’m finally learning to do is rid myself of energy drains and simplify life as much as possible. It feels better.

But my kids are now 7 and nearly 12. The big hurdle coming up is, as my young friend suggested, “when am I going to start focusing on what I need, beyond what my children need?”

How are you doing on that?

— Mikki

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  1 comment for “Conscious Conversations #1: Finding Supportive Friends

  1. ELAINE McCAIN
    March 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    My two children are grown so my comments are more reflective than some. I was asked those questions many times.

    #1 – "When are you going to stop finding people who add to your kids" lives, and start finding people who add to yours?"

    The people I recruited to be part of lives of my children were in my life too and at a variety of levels. I did recruit friends for myself through work and school (mine) and they were and are great.

    #2 – "when am I going to start focusing on what I need, beyond what my children need?"

    What I needed was to keep learning from my children and working on how those lessons made me a better person. I have often wondered how anyone really "grows up" without having children. At first, I was surprise I had to examine my values, beliefs, and behaviors before I could be sure I was the role model I wanted for them. Learning to see clearly in my own emotional mirror has never stopped being a challenge.

    I was so lucky to have two only children (12.5 years apart). I certainly didn’t plan it that way, but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. Like all children, mine are "different." Each child is born into a different family regardless of how many years separate them or how many parents they have. Each child needs a different parent and the many "recruits" we find along the way. It’s an amazing juggling act. I love it!

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