I always forget, as my life gets crazy busy from time to time, how much I am buoyed up by the company of other women. Sharing, laughing, commiserating, comparing, encouraging-- I just need that time to connect with other females. All too often I am caught up in the need to "do it all myself". I think it's a common failing of the homeschooling/sahm/homebirthing/crunchy, green mama set. That is, to become so self-sufficient in focus, that we tend to deny ourselves the reality of our need for camaraderie and The Sisterhood.
Reaching out for the companionship of other women involves sacrifice.
Sacrificing the facade of "I've got it all together". I have to admit that I'm not perfect, that I am who I am. I don't usually like to do that. I like to "be" who you think I "am" so you'll like me. If you are really going to have a friendship, though, it has to be based on the truth of your character. And the truth of your dirty floors and overflowing sink. And your less-than-perfect kids. Sometimes that's hard for me.
Sacrificing time that might otherwise be spent on school, house chores, gardening, planning, catching up and a galaxy of other things bellowing my name in the background. Time that might be spent making myself look good-- either physically (think; exercise!) or by taking on another supermom project. Or two. Or three.
It means being available.
Ready to take someone's kids for the day. Ready to make a meal and drop it by. Ready to lend a car, or a sewing machine, an ear, a shoulder to cry on or the proverbial cup of sugar. Being genuinely interested in the other woman's life and problems. Caring about her kids and how she feels about her kids.
And lest all this sound like a burden of vast proportions, let me say that the rewards are sweet indeed. No husband fully appreciates the bargain of a $15 blazer from Ann Taylor (I am sooo not making that up). I'm sorry. My dear J is a gem among men, but he just doesn't get it. The ear of a girlfriend is a strongbox into which you can pour your irrational fears/rage/despair, receive all the needed reassurance/admonition/encouragement and go home to your husband and children with a smile on your face and a song on your lips. And never fear that those things will affect your friendship or ever be referred to again.
I am so thankful for my friends and sisters (and mother ;) ). They fulfill all these roles, make all these sacrifices and are always this available to me. I hope I can be as much a blessing to all of them as they have been to me.