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Back to Basics (2/22/08)

18 Nov

After meeting, dating, and then marrying my husband I was relieved to think I would never have to worry about being single again. I wouldn’t have to go through the guessing and the wondering about where a relationship might take me. Although I sometimes miss the early days of being shy and feeling giddy, I am very proud of what my husband and I have accomplished to get to this point of comfort and predictability in our lives.

So I was done with the single, dating life right? Well, the truth is, as humans, we still thrive on new relationships now and then. When I moved from California to Illinois I had to make a choice. Was I ready for new relationships or was I destined to try and translate literature with my husband while he frustratingly drew power circuits to the most basic degree just to help me understand what it is he does all day? I needed peers. I needed moms. I needed friends…

So spending time with peers is terribly important in finding confidence and admiration for the great job you are doing as a parent and spouse. Right? Well, as a new mom in a new town, I didn’t have any friends let alone know anyone who had children. I had the same friends for so long that I actually forgot how to make new friends. It was almost like entering the dating scene again. You had to meet someone, find things in common, and decide if you wanted to spend more time together. Then one of you had to get the guts to invite the other out to dinner or hang out.

Well, as finding new relationships go, I had to be brave and understand that there are others out there just like me who were afraid of being too desperate and were too shy to “make a date.” Then I had to watch out for the personalities that clashed with my own. I didn’t want to be so desperate that I would force myself to like anyone who would give me the time of day.

So I took the plunge, just as I did when I met my husband for the first time. I started hanging out with people that I could relate to. I hung on to a few numbers of women I could talk to. I stayed receptive to the people who enjoyed my company the most. But, just as the dating scene works, you have to ask yourself if you truly want to commit to a friendship. Friendship does take time, and it’s not something you run to only in your time of need. You have to nurture it and keep your friends confident that you miss them when they aren’t there and that you can’t wait to see them again. The next thing you ask yourself is if you think any of the people you know even like you. This sounds harsh, especially among women with children (who are thought to have the loving and forgiving aura). This can be somewhat of a misconception. In fact, many moms are pickier after they have children. We don’t want anyone to hurt or badly influence our children so we are more cautious about whom we associate with, including other moms and their children.

Now you’ve decided that you want to commit to a friendship and that there are a few people who like you and are like you. You can wait by the phone and hope they pick up on the telepathy you are sending, hoping their confidence is higher than yours and they have the guts to call you, or you can be the gutsy gal who can take no for an answer.

So I took control of my confidence issues and during a few conversations with potential friends, I said, “We should get together sometime, seriously.” I added “seriously” because nowadays we throw these invites around just to be polite. More often, the less you struggle to meet the right people, the more likely it will fall in your lap. But, you have to be receptive when it happens and be prepared to be sincere. Then all you have to do is decide where to hang out.

In this process of trying to make new friends I have met quite a few people I can talk to about being a mom, a wife and a woman, and I’m happy knowing that I can give the same in return. Still, at the end of the day, I enjoy being with my husband and I’m glad that I can have so many friends, but only one of them has to live with me and watch me sleep with my mouth open.

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