I grew up with brothers. My mom grew up with brothers. My dad grew up with brothers (and one sister). I have always had an easier time getting along with boys than girls.
In retrospect, it’s no wonder that my best friends in elementary school were boys. It’s what I knew. But as I grew older, I cherished a very small handful of close girlfriends. This is still true today. The number of friends that I really connect with is pretty small. I think that’s true for most of us as we get older. We can get along with a lot of people but the ones that we really connect with can probably fit on one hand.
Just as it’s important for our kids to have friends in each of the activities they do – sports/clubs, school, neighborhood, church – it’s important for moms to have friends who serve us in different aspects of our lives. I’ve put together a list of six friends I think every woman needs.
Now, you may have a friend who checks several of these boxes and that’s okay. Then your friend circle is smaller than six. But think through the people you connect with and hopefully you have someone in each of these areas of your life. They speak to us differently and enrich our lives in a way we may not realize day-to-day.
The Six Friends Every Woman Needs
- The single-without-kids friend – if you’re a parent, you need a friend to (a) remind you of the fun of being single, (b) get you out of the house without your kids and (c) have a conversation about things not related to kids. Grab this friend and go to a bar, a movie, a concert, anything! They’ll also make you glad you’re not still in the dating world (it’s tough out there!) and appreciate your spouse a little more.
- The stage-of-life friend – when you’re in the throws of DiaperLand, or TeenageDramaLand, or CollegeTuitionLand, or any of the “Lands” we go through as parents, you need someone who is right there with you. Someone you can commiserate with, swap woes with, and celebrate victories with. Knowing you’re not alone is immensely valuable for both the tough times and the great times.
- The mentor friend – maybe you know someone whose kids are just a smidge older than yours. They can help you navigate the space of time you’re in and encourage you to get past any challenges. They are likely someone you see regularly and you can trust them to give you good advice. This friend doesn’t necessarily need to have all the same interests as you, but should be someone you look up to. Maybe their kids turned out like you want yours to become. Maybe they have had a lot of success at work while not abandoning their families to make it happen. Maybe they have a great marriage or are in great physical shape. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to ask them how they did it and then listen when they respond. We all need a coach to tell us what and how to improve.
- The sage advice friend – this is someone much older who can give you wise pearls of wisdom. Someone like a grandparent, but not necessarily related to you, can tell you that it’s all going to be okay and has the perspective of life in the rearview mirror. Preferably this person lived a good life, had good kids and a good marriage and can help you learn from their life lessons. This is sometimes the hardest friend to find, but well worth the effort it takes to build the friendship.
- The check-all-the-boxes friend – you see this friend everywhere. They’re at church, at school, at soccer practice or the dance studio. You’re in book club with them or maybe see them at the spin class on Tuesday morning. They are everywhere you go. This friend might also check the box as one of the other friends on this list. A friend like this is great for so many reasons, but a big one is that they can help you carpool! If you’re in a pinch, you call them to see if they can bring someone home, and vice versa. You help one another with the logistics of parenting. They can empathize with all the running around, all the packing up, all the lists of what to bring where. This friend is crucial to life!
- The middle of the night friend – maybe this person is someone you don’t see very often. They might even live in a different state. But without a doubt, you know that if you called them in the middle of the night and needed them to come to your house, they would be there immediately. They’re the person who loves you No. Matter. What. and they know you’re that person for them, too.
Once you’ve thought about your friends, think about how you are a friend to others. What role do you serve for those around you? Serving others is very fulfilling and helps make our world better, you happier, and spreads joy inside and out. Life is hard, ladies. Let’s do this together.