This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Emily: Welcome back to Risen Motherhood. I'm Emily Jensen, here with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler. Before we get started talking about mom friendships today, I just wanted to let you guys know that we have an interview next week with Courtney Reissig. She is going to be speaking to a topic that we’ve wanted to dive into more on Risen Motherhood, discussing what her mom life looks like after a journey through infertility, miscarriage, and loss, and the way that some of those things are still impacting her today. We hope that you guys will tune in next week for that.
Laura: It’s going to be great. Onto our show this week about mom friendships. Mom friends, it’s an awesome topic [laughter] and a terrifying topic as well.
Emily: Why are friends so hard in this stage of life? At least, I feel they are.
Laura: They totally are. I feel my friendships have changed so much since when I was in college, or working and single, or married but no kids. I feel like it’s the children.
Emily: [laughs] Exactly because, at least for me, in general, friendship is hard anyways, and whenever I get extra time anymore, I find the more kids I’ve had, the more introverted I am. And I want to hide in a quiet room and not talk to anyone. It’s hard for me to use that ‘extra time’ to go out and be with friends. I know everybody’s personality is different, but I sometimes have to force myself to be like, "No, this is going to be energizing for me."
Laura: That’s the thing we have to keep that in mind; in the end you usually come home really peppy and excited and happy that you saw your friends but it is hard. Especially when you have to sometimes see friends after bedtimes and it’s late, when you are tired or that’s your only time with your husband maybe. And weekends sometimes feel out of the question because that’s family time. Unless you are doing something with a whole other family, it could be difficult to spend time with that one mom friend. It’s the schedule and it’s the energy.
Emily: I don’t know if you’ve experienced this; maybe not as much. For play dates, I have pretty much never been to a play date with all four of my kids where I’ve gotten to talk to anyone.
Laura: The more children you have, the more difficult it certainly is. I remember when I just had one and play dates were awesome. We had two babies and we would chat all the time, and stick a paci in every once in a while. Maybe someone would be nursing. You had a lot of time to talk but as you add subsequent children or as the children get older, it’s definitely way, way more difficult to feel we even had a chance to talk. You feel like you passed each other the whole time running around taking care of needs.
Emily: You feel like you watched each other intervene and discipline issues to help people to handle different things. It felt like a docker as you were trying to correct your children in front of your friends. Laura, maybe you would share a little bit about moving to Chicago a little over a year and a half ago. You had to not start over but find a new community. How did that go? I know that you have some really good friends now. How do you feel you were able to make new friends? Teach me how to make friends, Laura.
Laura: God’s grace—let’s put it that way. It was a huge blessing. I prayed for one friend by July, just one friend. My husband and I were both praying for that. It was really cool because I met my friend outside the nursery in June. God blessed me hugely, and she is one of closest friends’ today and the biggest thing with that is being bold. I literally walked up to people and was like, “I like your wagon.” I’m not even joking. I said that. “I like your wagon and hey, do you live around here?” If they had children about my children’s age,I walked up to moms in parking lots and parks. I was going to say I was fearless, but I had a lot of fear. That’s the wrong word. I swallowed every ounce of pride and fear that was in me.
Emily: Like I got nothing to lose.
Laura: I didn’t. I really didn’t. I was desperate because I know that friendships are vital to my health and vital to any mom’s health. As difficult as it is, it is so important that we make friends and that we have women who are encouraging in our lives. I maybe had an ulterior motive too because I had no family here and I needed a babysitter swapper, stuff like that. I knew that in order for me to enjoy where I lived and to be really invested in where I lived, I had to make friends.
Emily: There are many difficulties with friendships. Things like moving, and I know I fear people are going to reject me as they get to know me. You and I have experienced this some. The closer that you know someone, the more you start to deal with their sin issues. You are like, "This is a real friendship because we are having to forbear with one another and be patient, and learn to give each grace, all of that and still be close." All those things are hard.
Laura: As a mom, I had to figure out that I can’t juggle as many friends. Even though I started over here in Chicago, in a sense it feels there are always more people that I could meet or I keep getting introduced to new people, which is so wonderful. You start to realize your max capacity is so much smaller than it used to be, and I think that’s okay. That’s realizing that those that you do have, you want them to be quality.
Emily: That’s one of the things we wanted to talk about today: quality friendships and how do you find them, how do you hold onto them, how can you be a good friends? Because we need all different types of friends as moms. You need the older mom friend who’s going to give you the perspective and talk you down.
Laura: There is hope. You need that practical from a peer.
Emily: You need your younger friends who remind you that you really are thankful that you have children and that you are where you are. Like you said Laura, you need the friend who can help lighten your load, and we all need the social time and the reminder that we are something other than moms. We need all different types of friends. They are all important and play different role in our lives.
Laura: It’s hard because of the fall and sin impacts our relationships, including our friendships. That’s why there’s no perfect friend out there. That’s why you are not going to be a perfect friend, but what’s beautiful is that we can look at redemption and we can see that what Christ has done for us and how we can move on past hurt feelings. We can be brave in meeting new people. We can choose to pursue friendship because Christ has pursued us. We can continue to image God and what He has done us in our friendships. One thing I love to think about is, especially when my friendships or my friends are believers, I know that our relationships will be eternal. At RM, we talk about how we are getting that maternal perspective and knowing we are in this for the long haul. That’s the same in our relationships with our friends that are believers, that we want to see them pursuing Christ. We want to continue to sharpen them, to point them to scripture, to remind each other of truth. When you have a deep friendship with someone who is pursuing Christ like you are, there is real encouragement there. There is real eternal hope. And it’s this beautiful picture of how the gospel is supposed to work in a community of believers as we strive for the cross. That’s what we want to pursue in friendships and it doesn’t always happen. That is a great thing to keep in mind when we try to remember the importance of getting out after 8:00 p.m. on a cold, winter night.
Emily: As you are saying Laura, this idea that God gave us a Christian family and a Christian community—that as we live and parent alongside other moms too—to help us remember our gospel mission as moms. We can learn from other moms. There are times where this practical happens of, "How do I apply this gospel truth that I believe? How does that apply in my specific situation?" You get your good friend who’s your sister-in-Christ, who goes to your local church or lives in your town, and you talk through those things with them. That’s how you figure those things out. Or you watch your friends love on your children and point your children to Jesus, and you are further encouraged and you desire to do that more. Good friends point you to Jesus after you spend time with them. I don’t know if you have friends like this, Laura ,but I want to go be with God more because that person is exuding Christ. Friendships have all of these incredible opportunities to not only point us to Christ but to make us more into the image of Christ.
Laura: Amen. So many good things.
Emily: What you said of great friendships point you to Christ—they make you want to go spend more time with Jesus. That starts with you being that good friend. In order to have great friends, we want to be good friends. That goes back to you pointing your friends to Christ. Are you the "complaining that everything is bad" friend? Are you encouraging gossip? Those are things we don’t want to do in order to be edifying other friendships, because you are going to attract like people or no people. A great thing to do in our friendships is find ways to affirm your friend, to build them up when there is something that they are bringing to you they are struggling with and even a slight complaining like a flippant, offhanded comment about some sleep struggles, or a marriage struggle, or some child they are having some more issues. Those are opportunities to dive deeper and to give them gospel-centered counsel. Often we stay at that surface level or are too scared to go deep with them. I have found—and I know that you too have Emily...and Emily and I are great friends, not just sister-in-laws—I’ve found that pushing each other beyond that surface level issue or complaint or struggle and saying, “Hey, what does the Bible say about this? What does Jesus say to this and how can I encourage my friend to look to the cross in this?”
Emily: There’s this superficial level of encouragement that we offer each other sometimes that, “It’s going to be okay” “I hear you.” My situation is really bad too and we get into one-upmanship. I think that gives us that temporary sense of feeling okay. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve shared with Laura or friends at church something that I’m struggling through and they remind of who I am in Christ, and they remind me of the eternal perspective, and they remind to trust and depend on God. It maybe wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear because I wanted somebody to let me wallow, but I am so grateful for that and I always leave more encouraged in the right things with is hope. Be that friend and if you are like, “How do I find these types of friends?” It’s hard but I love Laura’s example of praying and hopefully, your first line of defense is looking in your local church body.
Laura: Get involved. As someone who has moved twice as an adult, once as a mom, and basically started over with friends, start in your church and get involved. But the biggest thing I would say is I feel moms—all people, all humans—are like, “I showed up” and the buck stops there. They think that the impetus is on everyone else but let’s be real. That doesn’t happen. As wonderful as these people are and they are probably going to be some of your greatest friends, I have learned that I have to be the one to initiate. I have to start the conversations. I have to invite them, especially coming into a new community where these people already know each other. It’s not that they don’t want to be friends with you. It’s they’ve got a lot going on. Just think of how maybe you are or you used to be, and they are not necessarily thinking in the right mindset. I would just say, do more than just show up. Go out on a limb, say, "I want to hang out with you or would it be okay if we got together or do you want to go out for lunch?" You can do it at MOPS events, there’s hobby groups, Facebook groups where people meet in real life and communities, Bible studies. There’s BSF. There’s bible studies at church. There’s just a ton of opportunities to do that. There’s Chick-fil-A. A lot of Christian moms there.[laughter] Hobby Lobby. Any of those places and also online relationships. We want to be upfront with these don’t replace in person-relationships and face-to-face because they are very different. Emily and I, both being in the online world have developed some really sweet and amazing relationships that are their own beautiful thing, because often times they can be very likeminded women that you would have never met in person.
Emily: Laura touched on this a little bit, but we wanted to talk quickly about how do you maintain friendships—which sounds basic but as we’ve talked about, it’s pretty complicated—when you are a mom and you have kids at home. Things like, bring people meals, care for them during the hard times, text them. Have we mentioned this on the show yet Laura about Voxer?
Laura: I don’t know.
Emily: Voxer is an app. I’m going to try not to talk about this too long.
Laura: We are obsessed with it.
Emily: It’s an app that you can download on your phone, get your friend to download it, and then you can actually leave each other these voice messages that you can listen to when you have a second. You can send your friend back a message when you have a minute. It’s totally different than talking on the phone with both of your kids screaming in the background.
Laura: It’s amazing because you can be changing a diaper, because there’s a hands-free mode. You can be talking to your friend but changing a diaper or washing the dishes and then they get that message. They can be doing their thing. It’s the best app for moms.
Emily: Best app and do FaceTime, try play dates, maybe it would work out awesome for you.
Laura: I still do a lot of play dates.
Emily: It’s worth it sometimes. It’s totally worth it. Just do things together and have fun.
Laura: Get together with other families too, even though that’s not necessarily the steep, one-on-one time. The other day I had a friend who texted and said, “Hey, let’s get together and let’s pop on a TV show, and I would love to take time to pray while we tried the kids with the half hour TV show.”
Emily: That is so awesome.
Laura: It was a great idea on her part. She’s like, “Would you guys all be okay with this?” We were like, “Yes, using TV for prayer, yes.” I thought that was a great idea. We had seven kids. There was three moms and seven kids, all under the age of five, and for the most part, we were uninterrupted. There were a couple of things, but there are ways to make it work. Go to a park and take five minutes to get together and be real and honest. I loved it because she said, “Hey, I want to intentionally share with you guys on this play date tomorrow.” I loved that, because we all came into it knowing we were going to get real and we are going to talk about the Lord and what’s happening in our lives. Communicate, communicate. So do life together with these other moms. That’s how God has designed it and offer a whole lot of grace.
Emily: Thank you guys for listening today. Hopefully, it was beneficial for you. You can find our show notes on risenmotherhood.com with more resources and information. You can find us on social media @risenmotherhood on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and please, if you have enjoyed this leave us a review on iTunes. That would be awesome. It’s super helpful and it allows other moms to find out about this show. Thanks again for listening guys.