(Inside: How strong friendships empower you.)
It all started on the noisy yellow bus filled with excited kindergartners and longing-for-coffee grown-ups all heading to the aquarium.
“I wrote a novel,” my fellow mom chaperone said as we passed the time with introductions and small talk.
A novel. Who is this woman? Wonder woman? The Queen? Lady Amazing Mom? Surely she has a title. I liked her instantly.
The next time I ran into my new novel-writing friend, Liz, she scolded me, “Why didn’t you tell me you write too? Laura said you’ve been published.”
Oh goodness. I don’t know if my two big debuts in MomSense Magazine can even count because I’d been rejected so many times since I’d forgotten what success tastes like. But here was this mom – this dreamer like me – with similar goals unleashing a world of ideas and if-she-wrote-a-novel-I-should-go-for-my-dreams-too thoughts in my head.
Apparently, Liz didn’t just validate all my crazy dreams – she did so with other moms. Liz formed a group: Our Writing Club. This is going to be awesome, I thought, but it’s going to last for 2 weeks. It’ll be like when my neighbor and I declared we were going to be uber-fit-she-women in 90 days because, OF COURSE, that’s what happens when you name it and claim it with P90x. Yeah…ten days. P10x for me as I went straight back to my mint chocolate mocha with whole milk and extra caffeine, please.
But…six years later – and this group is still on.
One member has gone to grad school to pursue creative writing. Another member was picked up by an agent and has a series of three romance novels coming out. A third member has written and directed many local plays. (She’s a star.) We all feel like we’re on the edge of greatness when we’re together. Power hovers in the air – no joke.
The Power of Friendships
Honesty check: I’m in the season of life where I’m not a great friend. I can’t drop everything and hang because one son will be left on the ski slope and the other won’t get to basketball practice. That’s my life. So, when I’m invited out, my first response is – I’m too tired. The She-Power I feel with my girls is forgotten, just like I forget how good my body feels until AFTER I force myself to exercise. (Because of salty potato chips and my coach with its automatic feet rests.)
So, I have to consciously tell myself how good friendship is for me until I arrive at my answer: Yes, let’s do dinner. It provides:
For example, a coworker had stumbled across my blog and she pulled me aside. I read your blog. It’s good stuff. What are you doing? You should tell more people about this. I walked away from that conversation feeling like a million bucks.
The data on the power of friendships is even more convincing than my experiences. Strong friendships:
What friendship can do for you?
Momma, I know you have dreams. I see you and your ambitions. I know thoughts are swirling in the back of your head just waiting to be unleashed and put into action.
Find your power squad. Your squad can be a group of ladies or just one. She can be any age. Meet occasionally or often. If you have little kids, make it a playdate. Meet over a shared interest: writing, crafting, books, working out… This is your design, your thing – there are no rules here, do what works.
Did you hear that? Your stress just dropped and years were added to your life. And/or your happiness just grew; your goals became realities, and you’re feeling better about yourself.
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And don’t underestimate…
…the power of a simple conversation started on a field trip bus with a mom you’ve never met.
I just ordered Growing Friendships: A Kids’ Guide to Making and Keeping Friends. I thought we could talk about this during our family dinner time discussions. (Because my family is so NOT PERFECT. Our family actually has to talk about things like how to be a good friend and choose good friends.) I love to read and have a list of books on friendship I’ve read or have been recommended to me. Fiction books to inspire you to see the importance of friendships and nonfiction books to help us all (including our kids) enjoy friendships more. Check it out (affiliate link).
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Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, educator, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration in parenting, family connection ideas, encouragement for moms, and more empowering content. Read more in the “about” section of this page.