Moms of littles can have the most narrow circle of friendships of anyone I know. Really. It’s true. Our lives can very quickly be caught up in play dates or other various activities that surround children and moms all in the same stage of life.
Is there anything wrong with getting together with friends in the same stage? No. Absolutely not. There is a lot of encouragement to be found from other moms. “Oh, look, her child throws temper tantrums too. Phew! Mine isn’t the only one!” It is enjoyable and encouraging to be around people who have the same struggles as I do. It is safe and comforting.
But may I suggest to you that it might also be bad for us? I need people in other stages of life. God meant for me to have relationships beyond simply ‘my stage.’ They often remind me to give others the gift of grace. When I do not have other friends in various stages, it is quite possible that I might be making a really big deal out of something that is not such a big deal after all. We might not even have so many mommy wars going on, if we simply had friendships with others that are not moms. Friends in various stages of life help me not be tunnel visioned.
I need single friends. I don’t pity them, because I love seeing the freedom they have to serve others, travel, and be more available than someone who has a family. I don’t envy them either, though, because I understand that they go home at night to an empty house. When I am with my single friends, my recent disagreements with my husband seem insignificant, and yet I am encouraged because I love seeing what they are able to accomplish precisely because they are single.
I need married friends with no children. I don’t pity them, because I love hearing how they can go on a late night date at the last minute. No babysitters to line up days ahead of time for them! I don’t envy them, though, because I understand that they don’t get the random hugs and ‘I love you’s’ that children give. When I am with my married-with-no-children friends, whether someone co-sleeps or not seems rather insignificant, and certainly not a war to be fought.
I need friends that are beyond me in their parenting. They remind me that the number of crumbs I sweep from under my table after a meal is really a very small thing.
I need friends that are empty nesters. They remind me that my marriage is something that is worth working on. Our kids will leave someday. My husband is mine for life.
I need friends that are elderly. They remind me that my days are numbered.
Friends in different stages of life give me perspective. They keep me from being tunnel- visioned. They keep me from being self-absorbed. They keep me from having a “grass is greener in their stage” perspective on life. My world is broadened by observing both the particular blessings and trials of various life stages.
So, yes, I love my mommy friends. We laugh together about diaper blow outs and discuss where to find the cheapest diapers. We discuss ideas and solutions about the daily grind of motherhood.We commiserate with one another. We encourage each other.
But I am incredibly grateful for others in my life who are not in my stage. They give me the big picture of life.
How have friends in various life stages blessed you?