About the importance of finding female friends.... Jen Hatmaker has a few words to say on the subject (from Chapter 5 of Out of the Spin Cycle):
I'm a terrible driver when I'm alone. It always seems like a great idea at first. I relish the notion of being the in the car without the following verbal barrage assaulting me like tiny, individual daggers stabbing away at the thin flesh of my sanity: "Mommy? Do you know how to teleport?" "Mommy? How many seconds have you been alive?" "Mommy? What's five billion times ten million?"
But the reality of driving alone is much different that the beautiful, peaceful theory. I get bored. I get tired.
I should have brought a friend. Friends help you uphold he heavy responsibility of motherhood and remind you you're not crazy. They don't complain when your kids interrupt your phone conversation every twelve seconds. They gladly enter the parenting discussions that our husbands lose patience with after only the fourth time. Friends don't even bat an eye when you burst out crying for no good reason.
The way we love each other, serve each other, and live our lives with each other is a big deal to Jesus. At the beginning of time, creation encountered its first problem: "It is not good for the man to be alone." Thus history began with human connection. Two are better than one, and togetherness is always superior to loneliness.
Never was I more susceptible to isolation than during young motherhood. It can be such lonely work. Because my personality required a scheduled routine, for years I fed and dressed babies, cleaned up, put someone down for a morning nap, engineered lunch chaos, put kids down for afternoon naps, cooked dinner, bath time, story time, bedtime. I'd sit down for the first time at 8 p.m.
It was hard to make room for my friends. But I did it. We had playdates down to a science. We put babies to sleep at each other's houses, bathed them together, fed them together, ate at Chick-Fil-A so often the manager knew us by name, and picnicked at every park in the greater Austin area. I changed their babies' diapers as often as mine. We put each other's kids in time-out. I administered first aid to their children, and they pulled mine out of the swimming pool. We've traded kids, taken kids, borrowed kids, and dumped kids.
My friends are the reason I survived young motherhood.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35.
If we are to love each other like Jesus loved us, then it makes practical sense to band together during young motherhood. Because–like Jesus does–we'll end up loving each other when we're crazy, burned out, hysterical, and exhausted. We'll stand by one another during the most neurotic phase of parenting there is. We don't let a member of our tribe slip under the radar or get swallowed by isolation. We share the burden of parenting, making it lighter for everyone to carry. We'll remind our friends to laugh and call forward the best in each other.
Motherhood is the task that brings us together, but love is the glue that binds us together. if we're too busy to love each other like this then we're too busy. We need our friends. We need the counsel and companionship; they need our compassion and comic relief. "You must love one another, " said Jesus.
We really must.
Are you enjoying the tribe of young mothers, or are you lonely and isolated? Reach out to another mom or group of moms today. Invite them over, plan a playdate, arrange a picnic, whatever. Need a friend? Be a friend.
Excerpt from Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Hatmaker, http://jenhatmaker.com/out-of-the-spin-cycle.htm