Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

As a kid, I imagined that shipwrecks and quicksand were going to be a lot more of a problem than they turned out to be. I’d sometimes lay in my bed at night envisioning myself struggling onto a desolate shore in tattered clothes. The terror was not about getting marooned on an island, but being ALONE on that island with a ball I named Wilson. If it was a Swiss Family Robinson situation, I’d be cool. I could eat coconuts and raw fish as long as there were other people and a badass treehouse.

As a new mom I felt very, very alone. I was also newly married, so I tried to make my husband into my girlfriend. He was a terrible girlfriend. First: When I had an emotionally crazy day, he was scared of me. Second: He does not like drama. He can hash out all of life’s problems in under 30 seconds. Third: He makes fun of all TV shows. Fourth: He doesn’t even like junk food.

I wanted to hash out life’s problems over a two-three hour glass of wine. I needed to verbally process the fact that my son’s diaper poop-sploded all over my grocery-filled shopping cart. I needed to laugh until I cried about ridiculous topics. I needed to talk about the feeling that I was losing myself in motherhood and didn’t know who I was anymore.

For me, some things just don’t heal unless I can talk, be heard, cry, laugh, and be encouraged. Also, they don’t heal without junk food.

My husband is my best friend, but he’s not that best friend.

Somewhere along the line I woke up and realized that unless I wanted to kidnap the door-to-door Hoover saleslady and make her eat chocolate with me, I was going to have to go out and find my tribe.

Over the years, this is what I’ve learned:

Not unlike House Hunters, sometimes you just have to go out and find your people. You have to go to the coffee shop, go to that book study, or strike up a conversation at the park. It is like scouting for a Hollywood production company, except you don’t pay people to be your friend.

When you get a vibe you like, make the first move. I was terrified of 98% of my friends before I got to know them. I was terrified of rejection and that we wouldn’t find anything to talk about. I was terrified because they were probably perfect.

I was wrong.

DON’T OVER THINK IT. This is the dating period; you aren’t signing a blood oath of best-friendship. Keep it simple; invite them to the beach, or over for drinks…you won’t regret it.

*If you do regret it, pat yourself on the back for being brave and try again.

Be real. As you feel comfortable, start talking about the real stuff. Talk about the bad attitude you had when you woke up that morning or the fact that you forgot your kid’s school performance. Talk about your saggy boobs (that’s my go-to) or don’t change out of your hideous, but beloved sweat pants, and leave some dishes in the sink.

In my opinion, this is the true test of friendship. My closest friends passed this test, and at this stage of my life they are truly the only kind of friends I have time for. If I can’t be my authentic, messy self then I will have to pass, and the same goes for them. If they keep up a facade of perfection, I’ll also have to pass.

True friendship is about knowing and being known. It’s about being loved and accepted as you are.

It’s about being shipwrecked together.

Keep making the time. Friendship takes investment. It takes making time even though you don’t have any.  I recently listened to a podcast talking about how moms often sacrifice taking care of themselves…and one of the first things to go is friendship.

Nothing can replace time invested. It is hard to carve it out of the chaos, but the payoff is sanity. The payoff is roots that grow deep and friends who love you when your hair smells like wet dog.

The pay off is that your roots start to grow deep. They grow deep through miscarriages, through anxiety, and through sickness. They grow through rainbow babies. They grow through healing and celebration and triumph. They grow through hundreds of glasses of wine and hundreds of cups of coffee. They grow through hundreds of playdates, early morning walks, and late night texts.

There’s no substitute for time.

We all want to belong. None of us want to be marooned without our people.

My friend YOU ARE WORTH IT. You are worth the very best of friends exactly as you are today. No masks, no pretending, just you as you are.

There are millions of women in the trenches who get it, we just have to find each other.

XOXOX,

Jess

For more like this you can follow me here, on Facebook, and Instagram 

This article originally appeared on Wonderoak

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Jessica Johnston

Jessica Johnston is a writer and mom of four kids. She is an avid coffee drinker, risk taker, and TMI sharer. She is a firm believer in keeping it real and believes our imperfections bring us together. She writes at https://wonderoak.com/. You can follow her there, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

Dear Graduate, I Love You Forever

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Kindergarten grad

I never imagined these days of preparing for graduation, senior prom, senior photos, and you actually moving out would come. A few weeks into your life, friends gifted you a 6-month sleeper. I remember the cuddly white footie pajamas well. But I swore you’d never get big enough to wear it. How could this 8-pound human grow to fit into 6-month clothes? Impossible. And then somehow they did fit, and then they didn’t anymore. Just like that. Everyone says the days are long but the years are short. Everyone, that is, who has had a lot of years. When I...

Keep Reading

Love Beyond Words

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugging daughter

My daughter Lexi lost her words and some of her motor functioning when she was two years old. She was three when the silent intruder of Rett Syndrome made itself known through seizures. But here’s the heart of our story: even without words, Lexi and I have created our own language—a symphony of unspoken love. She may not call me “Mom” in the traditional sense, but her eyes, her laughter, and the unique sounds she makes speak volumes to my heart. Each day with Lexi is a dance—one where the steps aren’t always clear, and the rhythm can change in...

Keep Reading

Always Choose Adventure

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Two children looking at aquarium exhibit, color photo

Here’s the thing about traveling with little kids. Is it hard? Sometimes. Sometimes it looks like a whole carry-on dedicated solely to snacks, activities, and emergency treats. Sometimes it looks like buying a drink for the passenger next to you as a way of saying sorry and thank you all at the same time for the airplane kid chaos they endured. Sometimes it looks like altering your picture-perfect itinerary that you meticulously planned on account of missed naps finally catching up. Sometimes it looks like washing a car seat off in a hotel shower because your toddler got carsick, then...

Keep Reading

Daddy, Am I Beautiful?

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Daddy holding preschool-aged daughter, color photo

“Daddy, do I look beautiful?” I heard my daughter ask my husband from the other room. I barely heard what she said as I was in the kitchen washing the dishes, but her words struck a chord in my heart. My sweet girl, all dressed to go out, asked for her Daddy’s assurance that she was beautiful, that she was admired and special. It hit me in that moment: this pure and built-in desire we all have to be loved, admired, and wanted. Just as my sweet girl wanted her Daddy’s approval and assurance of love, I so often cry...

Keep Reading

Sensitive Sons Are Strong Too

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy pets kitten held by another older boy

My son has always been timid. When he was a baby, he cried when he lost his pacifier in his crib. If I laughed too loudly, he might burst into tears. Once, he was asleep in his bassinet as my husband and I turned on a movie. The MGM lion roared, and he woke in a panic that seemed to take forever to calm. Now, at five years old, my son wrestles, runs, fights, and screams at the television. He pretends to fight bad guys and save me and his twin sister. He thinks he is the king of the...

Keep Reading

Wrestle Like a Girl

In: Kids, Motherhood
Girls wrestling team huddling on the floor

I’m a wrestling mom, but I’m a new breed. I’m the kind with my little girl on the mat. Sure, I support our son out there, and I scream like a wild banshee with the rest of the crazy parents, and I’m in awe of the athletes these boys are. But then steps out our daughter. And it’s different. She decided to join her big bro at practice years ago when word was just starting to spread about the possible emergence of girls’ wrestling. She was only in kindergarten, but I think my husband might have already been thinking college....

Keep Reading

I’ll Hold on To Moments of Childhood with My Preteen as Long as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Smiling preteen and mother

This Christmas season, my husband took our laser light projector and aimed it at the Australian bottle tree in the front yard. It shone like a thousand red and green fairies dancing through the branches. The first time I saw it, I gasped with glee. Christmas came and went. Much to our 6-year-old’s disappointment, we took down the decorations and boxed them in the attic until next year. I noticed that my husband forgot to put away the light projector though. One Friday night, recovering from a stomach bug, we decided to watch Wonka and fold laundry. We bought into the...

Keep Reading

“Tell Me Another Story, Daddy?”

In: Kids
Man reading to young son

“Tell me another story, Daddy?” I had heard these words since we had finished supper. My 5-year-old son loves hearing stories. He loves to put himself in these stories. He doesn’t just watch Paw Patrol, he’s in Paw Patrol. He is a Kratt brother. And he loves hearing stories about his favorite adventurers with him saving the day alongside his animated heroes. While I absolutely love telling stories to my son, there are many days when I don’t feel like it. When I want to say, “No, Daddy is tired. Why don’t you go play with your toys while daddy...

Keep Reading

Getting Glasses Can be an Adjustment

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Pre-teen wearing glasses

On their last break from school, my daughter and son happily enjoyed a nice week of catching up with friends and having a relaxed schedule. I was careful to avoid overloading our schedule so we had a nice balance of days out and days being at home. As can often happen on a school break, I used one day as our “appointments day.” We had our routine dental checks and eye exams booked. The morning went smoothly with the dentist, and then it was time to head home for lunch. Next, we popped back out to do the children’s eye...

Keep Reading

To the Fifth Grade Parents: Thank You

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Arcade style photo machine, color photo

To the fifth-grade parents in my community: How are we here already? The end of fifth grade. The end of elementary school. It feels like yesterday we saw each other at kindergarten drop off, some of us through the tears of sending our first baby to school, some seasoned pros, and a small group of us with a touch of extra worry in our mama hearts—the special ed mamas. Among the many things I worried about sending my kindergarten son to school was how your children would treat him. Would they laugh at him like they did at his Montessori...

Keep Reading