Friends Come and Go

My mom used to say this to me as a child. Back then, I used to think it meant I was a bad friend because in my teenage brain, a good friend stayed with you through the good and bad. Now, I better understand what my mother was trying to teach me with her years of wisdom and here’s what I’ve come to learn.

Some friends will stay with you all through your life but there may be varying degrees of closeness. This could depend on life stages or a result of where you live. Just because you aren’t as close as you used to be, doesn’t mean the value of that friendship is any less. It also doesn’t mean that you won’t be close again in the future. I’ve learned that for myself, I’m actually quite terrible at keeping friends if we don’t live in close proximity to each other or see each other regularly.

It was so easy in high school and university because I saw my friends every day at school or twice a week at church. But when we all started working and some left the church, we actually had to put in effort to plan dinners and hang outs. I’ll be the first to admit that I was absolutely terrible at this once my first daughter was born. I was completely enthralled in parenthood, exhausted from the sleepless nights, and just in my own little world trying to figure things out. It also doesn’t help that I’m mostly introverted and when given the choice of going out or curling up on the couch with a good book, I’d choose the latter.

Only when my husband and I started emerging from Babyland that I started reflecting more on my friendships, past and present. The friends I had in my 20s are a little different from the friends I have in my 30s, and that’s ok. I’ve grown apart from some and grown closer to others and I think it’s all very normal. Birds of a feather flock together and for me, having kids changed my world. I didn’t have the energy or time to go out late at nights anymore and I needed community with other mothers that could relate to the tantrums, feeding struggles, and sleepless nights.

Now, I appreciate having some friends that don’t have kids because it’s nice to not have every conversation revolve around our kids. But the bottom line is that my girls and my family are my world and so much of what I love and do revolves around them. It’s also important for me to have close friends that have the same faith as me so that we can be accountable to each other and lean on each other in the hard times.

4 years ago, I was very sad that my bridesmaids and best friends in my 20s weren’t my best friends then. Today, I’ve come to accept that this is part of life and friends come and go. For me, I got married and had kids early and that changed and made me who I am today. Today, I’m so grateful and blessed to have a handful of women that I know I can turn to when we need to mourn and pray together or when we need to celebrate with joy! I honour the friendships I had in the past and continue to maintain them while also celebrating the new friendships I’ve developed and will continue to nurture and grow.

I think this is what my mother meant when she shared those wise words some 15 years ago. Have any of you had a similar experience?

Thanks for stopping by 🙂 .

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Confessions of a Tired Momma #2

It’s been a while since my last post of this sort and things have changed so much. Instead of one kid, I have two! My eldest is 4 and my youngest is 2 and boy can they be a handful. But as I read Confessions of a Tired Momma #1, I can tell that I’ve grown and changed as a parent.

Back then, I think I was still desperately trying to hold on to my pre-baby life and now I’ve accepted that my new normal is vastly different. I was also much too sarcastic and had such a negative perspective. I’m by no means perfect and always positive now, it’s pretty hard when the world throws COVID-19 into the mix, but seeing perspective has helped me cope a lot.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that I’m still physically and mentally tired a lot. My girls, for the most part, play well together, but just like any siblings, they will fight. My mental battery drains each time I play mediator and my physical battery never feels fully charged because although my kids are early to bed, they’re early to rise too.

I’m tired of doing laundry multiple times in the week and the never ending stack of dishes in our sink. I don’t think our floor will ever be spotless and toys will always be strewn about somewhere in our home.

But I’m happy.

I sometimes fantasize about what life would have been like if we never had kids and although it would have been fun, I think I would have eventually wanted kids. Kids are exhausting, dirty, and infuriating but our girls are also incredibly compassionate, goofy, and joyous. The pros outweigh the cons for us and I absolutely adore our little family.

When the days are long, I have to remind myself that this isn’t forever. One day, our girls will grow and not need us for cuddles anymore. One day, they’ll want to be independent and do their own things. So for now, albeit frighteningly early in the morning, I’ll take the cuddles and be the help they need.

“You’re so smart!”

This praise was what I longed for as a child. All through my elementary and high school years, I just wanted to be smart. My focus was on getting straight A’s and it should come easy. I only realize now, in my 30s, that it was holding me back, that I had a fixed mindset.

Ever since being introduced to Carol Dweck and her idea of fixed versus growth mindset, I’ve been reading and reflecting on it a lot. Embarrassingly enough, I didn’t realize I had her book, Mindset, on our bookshelf until recently!

An area of particular interest to my husband and I is how we can cultivate a growth mindset in our daughters. I feel like with parenting, unless you’re aware of it, you default to how you were raised and I wasn’t raised on a growth mindset. I mean I don’t blame my parents at all because you don’t know what you don’t know and they had the best intentions. It’s also so much easier to praise the result (Great job on a high score!) than effort (I saw you work so hard and it paid off!).

Curiously enough, this wasn’t the first time we read praising the process over the result. It was also mentioned in our Danish Way of Parenting book and it was nice to see it presented in a different light, with more scientific evidence.

I’ve got to say, it definitely takes more effort to find the right language but I know it will benefit my daughters. I’ve seen how my oldest tends to have a fixed mindset and will often get frustrated when she can’t succeed immediately. We’re trying to coach her into embracing challenges and that things shouldn’t come easy. It’s still early but I think she’s getting. We model it as much as we can because it’s monkey see monkey do in our household!

Here are some phrases we’ve been using:

  • Great job! I saw you practice and it’s paying off!” instead of “Wow you’re so good at that!”
  • Oh this one was kinda easy, let’s try something a little harder!” instead of “You’re so smart!”
  • Tell me about your drawing and the colours you chose!” instead of “Wow my little artist!”

Bottom line is we want to emphasize that effort is important and smart doesn’t mean it comes easy and you don’t have to work hard for it. Hopefully as our girls get older, they’ll embrace the challenges and not be deterred by failures.

Have you tried making this switch with your children? What have your experiences been like?