Carla: I’ve been reading this book that our Rev friend Kristi told me about. It’s called “The Passion of the Hausfrau” by Nicole Chaison and I love it! I am working on another post that will go into more detail about the book and the trajectory it’s sent me on, but first I wanted to pick your brains about something Nicole says.
She has this whole shtick on needing a girlfriend and that finding really great female friends is just about as difficult as finding a spouse. She writes about the little ways she scopes out other moms at the playground and how she navigates the early conversations to find points of connection. She lists her “turn-ons”–moms who can laugh when they have baby puke running down their backs, moms who are willing to be vulnerable, etc. The woman is incredibly funny–and pretty crass at times so this book is not for the easily offended–and I found myself laughing out loud all the way through the book.
This idea of “courting” other women in our efforts to develop friendships struck me as having some real potential for the revolution. So I want to know–what are your turn ons? What draws you to other women in your search for meaningful friendships? What do you find yourself doing or saying to draw other women to you?
For me, I find that, like Nicole, I am instantly attracted to moms who are open and honest about their struggles, who don’t act like they know everything or have it all together. I am also drawn to women who seem to have other things going on in their lives–interesting hobbies or jobs or ideas.
For me, talking about our children is a pretty big turn-off. I mean, I know it’s kind of a starting point for a relationship, but for me, that only goes so far. I don’t mean that I never want to talk parenting, but for the most part, I need women in my life who are interested in me as a whole person, not just as a mom. I want to know what my friends think about religion and politics and current events and celebrity gossip and new restaurants and my shoes. And I want them to care what I think about those things as well.
I feel the same way about any subject, really. If I make a friend through work or church or standing in line at Target, our friendship won’t go very deep if all we ever talk about is work or church or Target. Our commonality is a starting point, not the sum total of the relationship. This might be why so many of my female friendships in recent years have been with women who don’t have kids or whose kids are now adults.
Caryn: So, the time I was on your pastor’s radio show, he was all about my “girl crushes” and now you’re asking me about my girl turn ons? Jeez Louise. But, okay. Of course, I’m game. Lesbian rumors be damned. Or, maybe, darned, I should say. No need to swear here.
I’m with you, actually: mom talk is my biggest turn off when meeting new friends. It’s a great starting place and easy common-ground thing, but as anyone who’s taken more than two peeks around the Rev can see, when we start talking only mom-and-kid stuff is where a lot of us tend to get lost.
So my biggestfriend turn on is a woman who can bring herself: who can share something funny, interesting, personal, challenging, quirky, painful, convicting, funny again…. [QUICK NOTE: My husband just came into my office to tell me something, started rubbing my shoulders, and asked what I was working on. Of course, he zeroes in on the first sentence here. He’s VERY interested in this post. Men…..]
I like women who understand that I have more to bring to conversation and the world than my kids. And while it seemed to me—at least for the first probably four years as a mom—that friendships like this were doomed, never to be had again until maybe Shady Pines or on the Lumberjack Tour (Carla and I will have to explain this another time…If we haven’t already), now I actually have a bunch of friendships that have nothing to do with motherhood. So mom and kid stuff actually doesn’t come up.
In fact, one of my newer good friends Tracey and I live in the same town, are the exact same age and have kids very similar ages. But we met and bonded over more worky and churchy stuff so we know very little about each other as moms and even less about our kids. In fact, last week we ran into each other at the spray park—each of us with kids in tow—and it’s sort of an awkward, nearly shocking experience because we don’t know how to relate on that mom-level.
Now, granted, to have the fullest extend of a friendship, it’s probably nice to meld all the areas of our lives, but I’m just sayin’: I like having friends who know more about me as a woman than me as a mom.
Getting to this point isn’t easy, though. For me, it tooks like years of hard prayer and then huge leaps of being the first one to be vulnerable and dive into the big stuff. Doesn’t always work. But it’s sure great when it does.
Carla: I must say, however, that the Revolution is helping me learn how to be friends with other moms. I love the women who are showing up here because you are honest and broken and funny and real and smart and interesting and challenging. So how do we keep finding each other?
I want to know what you lovely ladies (and Steve) do to find and nurture friendships. I know this is a struggle for a lot of us, but when it’s worked, what’s made it work? What are the essentials of a meaningful relationship? What keeps you from moving into a deeper friendship and what encourages you to take a step forward?