"Well, that particular breast pump is portable, and it comes with extra storage bottles."
"Do you think the breast shield is comfortable though?"
I immediately started constructing my exit plan. I could be home in my pajamas watching Bridget Jones in no time. All I had to do was cork my wine and go. Now, how do I clandestinely slip away from a table of eight women? I considered my options and decided to just take the opportunity to freshen my drink, have a few sips(gulps), and rejoin the conversation. I am certainly glad I did.
Just a few days ago, I was talking to a recent college graduate. She said everyone around her was getting married. I told her everyone around me was having babies. (So. many. babies.) She felt like she was the only one not “moving forward.” She said she had nothing in common with her friends that used to be her peers. Social media does not make it any easier for us to be reminded of what we don’t have or what we are not doing. (Just this week I felt like I was, in fact, the only human soul left on the planet, who did not have their toes in the sand on the coast.) My heart broke for her as she shared her feelings. Gosh, I have been there. You feel like you were all on the same bus together for so long, but everyone got off, and you missed the stop!! She did not want to feel this way, I know. The thing is life can sometimes feel like that, but even if circumstances change in our friends’ lives, it is important to remember that we are all more alike than we may first think. It’s difficult to effectively communicate to a twenty-two year old that what feels like the hardest transition in her life can actually be the making for some of the best elements of who she is. But I tried. It got me thinking about why and what I love about my married friends. And my friends with babies. (So. many. babies) ;)
What my Married Friends and Mommy friends have taught me:
They struggle with insecurities too. ”Have you been to the Publix on McBee on Sunday nights? It’s more of a scene than the newest brewery?” My dear married friend retorted, “How about Mom Mondays?” We both laughed as we connected over our baseball hat disguises and effort to not make eye contact with anyone as we went makeup- less to grab our weekly essentials. She: diapers and wine. Me: coffee and wine. For every one handsome bachelor checking out the pre-cut veggies, there are at least seven gorgeous Lululemon clad girls(all 5’10” and certified yogis. Namaste) I look in their cart: no carbs. We may be women, but there is a part of us that will always been an insecure teenage girl.
Marriage does not solve loneliness. This is a big one, friends. Please get this. People will disappoint. Your friends, your parents, your mate. For much of my early twenties, I still held on to a lot of my teenage dreams: you know that, if my own Heath Ledger singing “Can’t Take my Eyes Off of You” on the bleachers, would come along, I would be fine and dandy. Gosh the love of our Father and the fulfillment He can give is so much greater than anything any person can. He is always there. Yes, the Lord uses his people to reflect and deliver love, but DO NOT put that kind of pressure on someone. It’s not fair to your future spouse. If you are a lonely now, you will be lonely when you are married. Deal with that issue now.
They are still your age. Added responsibility changes us, and I often look at my married friends with awe, respect, and a touch of terror as they navigate life as moms and dads. These differences, though, do not negate the fact that they, like me, are children of the 1980s. The past year or so has been full of fun birthday celebrations because many of my friends, myself included have turned 30. As many different paths as we have taken, there is still something that one thing that bonds us. 1983. Don’t forget that. We are still doing this life together.
My mommy friends are incredible. It’s sometimes hard to believe that the same girl who bought Ramen Noodles in bulk now has her children on an all organic clean eating diet. I have loved watching my girlfriends become moms. They are all doing it differently from one another, but they are giving it their best. And you know, they are doing it well. Yes, they have a lot of advantages raising children in a modern world, but the pressure my friends are facing is outrageous. From every angle they are being told how to do “mom” right. And if they are not doing what the latest blog post speaks on, they are failing. Somehow they are suppose to be successful in the corporate world to provide financial stability, home school mom of the year, making farm to table meals every night, stimulating their children intellectually at all waking hours, bringing to life every single pin on Pinterest for their home, all while looking like Victoria Beckham. This is madness. And if your single girlfriend, who can’t keep a plant alive, offer you a little advice: don’t find your worth as a mom in how you stack up on your Pinterest board or better yet, compared to your mommy friends’ Facebook status. Your baby won’t remember his/her gender reveal party, so it’s going to be okay. Ladies, I tip my hat to you. You wear so many, and you are doing a damn good job. And let me not stop short. There are some incredible daddy friends out there too. I have seen you in action, and you are awesome. Keep on.
They think beyond themselves. I have observed a bit of brattiness in the current single culture. Some of it is most startling when I see it in the mirror. Single friends, we are selfish. I believe this is part of our innate human nature, but instead of being encouraged to redeem that, we are often urged to feed it. While I completely believe in enjoying and celebrating whatever season the Lord has us in, I think that as singles we can often become very self involved. We analyze everything and how it affects “our world.” When is the last time we had to consider feeding schedules and nap times? (I am not talking about our own.) I admire how my girlfriends who have spouses consider their partner in their decisions and actions. It’s a really neat thing to see sacrificial love and putting someone else’s need before your own consistently. As a follower of Christ, I want to actively pursue this kind of living more. Being single does not give us a pass at being selfless.
They really do understand waiting. We are all, almost always, in a season of waiting. Just because your friend married her college sweetheart and you feel like your prince charming got lost, does not mean she cannot relate to you. Listen to your married friends. Do not discount their advice, even if their journey is different. If you perk your ears up a little, you may hear how their own lives require a lot of waiting. Unemployment. Infertility. Infidelity. The list goes on. The circumstances may be different, but our call and command from our God is the same.
I am so glad I have met so many folks along the way that are living life differently than myself. Do not cheapen your friendships and their potential to think they are only as strong as your circumstances. Dig deep. Press in. You will find that some of your most precious friendships and some of your best life’s lessons come from those who are walking a different path than you.