How to make authentic friendships with your kids in tow

how to make authentic friends

I was on the God Centered Mom podcast recently talking about friendships and wanted to write a little more about some of the things I did when my kids were younger in the area of friendship with other women.

As I was talking with Heather, a flood of memories came back about how I connected with other women when my kids were young.  I think I needed women’s friendships and was looking for ways to live life with other gals.  One way I made meaningful authentic friendships was to invite people into what I was already doing.

Sports? With four boys you know I was involved in sports.  I would bring cooked hotdogs/buns/chips and a camping table and serve a quick meal to the families of the ball players.  Not so hard, really.  I had to feed my troop; I might as well feed others.  And hot dogs were an easy go-to.  I would grill at home and then wrap in foil and put in a cooler to keep warm.  I learned to embrace the sporting event and see that as a place to make relationships, instead of dreading the time sitting in lawn chairs in the heat.  It took a little while I might add, to figure that out.

In the summer we had a membership to a neighborhood pool, and I would invite friends to come swim with us.  Scheduled around lunch, we would swim for a few hours, eat lunch and then everyone would go home ready for a long afternoon nap.  When my kids were babies, they would nap in the shade in the pack-n-play.  Lots of good conversations happened around that pool.

Sometimes I would do things without my kids.  I had night time events where I would make a gal’s dinner and we would have a speaker or work on crafts.  Have a girl’s night once a month at your house.  Serve easy snacks and have a topic to discuss or watch a chick flick or talk about what you are cooking.  Make the time for girlfriends.  You will find that you will be rich in relationships when you are done.

I would invite friends over for a casual lunch and let the kids play in the backyard and then sometimes let the younger ones nap while the older ones played and the moms visited.

For a weekend night, we would invite another family over to eat an easy pizza supper and then lay kids down on pallets while the adults visited or watched a movie.

I tried to get involved in women’s ministry and have that morning be a time of conversations and teaching.  Good for the soul.  Look around the circle of your group and pick one gal to call later that week and connect with her.  Make intentional choices- cast that net.  It is worth it to step out and reach out.  We are all wanting connection. You be the one to do it.

Through my homeschooling circle, I signed up for all kinds of fun field trips and would enjoy the fellowship that happened over a quick lunch after.  I remember going to the What-A-Burger by the airport and the boys loving watching the planes take off and land while I got in some quick conversation with the mom before the whole thing fell apart.

I mentioned on the podcast that I had to embrace the chaos and not expect everything to go perfectly.  That worked better when I thought through our schedule and made sure no one was hungry or in need of a nap during a time with friends.

I met friends at some of the cool parks in town and was always ready to explore new outdoor spaces.  Lots of good conversation can happen around the swing-set and climbing forts.  I always tried to remember water and wipes and snicky-snacks or made a quick lunch that we ate there.

I also piled the kids in the car and would go visit friends who lived in another city.  The picture above is when I drove a few hours to have the life-giving love and conversation of a dear friend. What a gang of kids!  Those were good times.  The fun of lots of kids running around and deep and long conversions with a friend who lived on the other side of the state was worth all the hassle of packing up all my people and driving.

I used to have a day a week when I would set these play/field trip/ friend times so that it worked with my schedule.  It was a fun day to look forward to all week.

As you can see, I like to schedule. I feel like that helps me to make connections.  If that is not your forte, hang out with someone who has that strength and let her plan for you. I have several friends who tell me all the time, “If it were not for you, I would never do anything fun!”  Well, alright then.  Find those gals who plan and link up with them.

I also scheduled in time to call or write friends.  I had to schedule it.  Back in the day, it was expensive and you had to call on the off hours when it was cheaper.  Now, I text a friend to find a good time we can both talk.  Ahh,  so much easier.  But I still schedule those phone calls into my week.  And I write a lot of letters.  What is more fun than getting some snail mail?

As your kids get older, pick moms in your kids classes to be intentional with and get to know.  You will be surprised at the relationships you will gain, such a treasure trove.  In each of my boy’s classes I have dear, dear friends that I met and grew to love because I was intentional in serving with them at school, calling them, hanging with them at the basketball games and having them over to eat.  I also organized fun activities with the boys and their friends as they got older and would invite other parents to join us- a trip to the swimming hole in Ft Worth, A Senior Ski trip with the whole class, trips to check out colleges, TV watching binges- hello LOST watching group, after game pizza and ice-cream parties. The list goes on.

Another way to have authentic friendship in the midst of the crazy is through a mentor.  She can listen, encourage and laugh with you.  She also can give you ideas of ways she spent time with others when she was younger.  She will often be able to meet you where you are and be more flexible than someone your age.  I had mentors that would come stay with the boys while I went to get my hair cut and we would have a good visit on the front end.  A mentor will be a life-giving gal who can breathe energy and new ideas into those days that seem impossible.  I know mine have done that and still do!!

Hope some of these Friendship Sursees help you figure out how to make connections with other women.  Would you share ways that you connect with others or find the time for friendship? We all need a little help and imagination in this area.  I would love to hear from you…. xoxo

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Oh Leslie–this is a treasure trove of great ideas and encouragement! I really want to try the hot dog idea at a sports event. I don’t think I have anything new to add but I will say that I have loved getting to know moms that are different from me when I make a point to start a conversation at one of my kid’s activities or at the park. It’s always worth it!

  2. Thanks, gal. I love the thought that it is worth it to start the conversation. You never know if that will be your next kindred spirit! Keep on sparking convos and let me know…
    xo

  3. Love this post Aunt Leslie. I’ve been struggling lately with how to make some female friendships with women my age, as most of the people I work with are male, and those that I live near are older. Love some of your ideas, and I’m sure I’ll be trying a few this year. One of my resolutions this year is to cultivate new friendships. Thanks for the encouraging post. 🙂

    • Hey gal,
      Glad that it encouraged you. You should do a scrapbook night. We had so much fun gathering together once a month scrapping’. If you had a little one, you just brought ’em. You could also do a Creative Night. That is my latest fun. Everyone just brings something to work on- recipe organizing, watercoloring, knitting- you name it and you get a chance to talk and laugh. I love your new year’s resolution; love the verb cultivate. Will be praying for you. And checking back in with you. Happy Birthday, late!!xoxo

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