The coffee-shop line stretched from the counter (“Order here!”) to the front door, but I didn’t mind waiting. It was a Friday morning; I was meeting my friend. We hadn’t seen each other in a few months, and I was excited to catch up.
It was rare that I had a few minutes to simply wait and breathe.
Usually, my minutes overflow with activity. Taking care of my two young daughters. Working on freelance writing projects. Making dinner while the girls yell from the family room that they need water, bunny crackers, and, oh, permanent markers to play with, too, just as my husband texts to say that he’ll be home late again.
I had missed Michelle, but I had hesitated in reaching out to her to set up this coffee date. These two hours on this Friday morning—I could be working while the babysitter played with the girls at home. I hardly ever make time for my friends.
In that moment, I breathed. I breathed in the scent of the brewing coffee—rich and comforting. I breathed in the aroma of freshly baked muffins—I would get one and top it with butter. For the first time in a while, I savored the moment to simply breathe.
Michelle arrived. We hugged, we “Ordered here!” and then we found a spot to sit and chat.
When you talk with someone, the first thing most people say is, “How are you? How are you doing?”
Indeed, Michelle asked me the universal question, genuine caring in her voice: “How are you doing, girl?”
Nobody had asked me that, with such compassion, in…well, a long time. I took another breath.
Thought about it. Then I told my friend the truth: “I’ve been feeling pretty down.”
The words began tumbling out. I explained that all my overflowing minutes were becoming less and less manageable. I also shared how much I missed seeing my own mom — who lived 1,500 miles away — on a regular basis.
When you become a mom, you can yearn for your own mom in a way you never did before. This is how I felt, and it seemed childish, as a 33-year-old woman, to share with Michelle, “I miss my mom.” Childish, but refreshing.
Michelle nodded. She understood. She had lost her own mom recently, so perhaps she understood more than I knew.
Our two hours passed quickly, as time tends to do when you’re catching up with a friend.
Michelle encouraged me to hang in there. We hugged good-bye and promised to talk again soon.
As moms, we often put ourselves last. Sometimes we don’t put ourselves on our to-do lists at all. I usually don’t.
Leaving the coffee shop that morning, though, I sensed a jolt of renewed energy. (I promise it wasn’t just the caffeine.)
Ultimately, my friendship with Michelle lifted me up from the low I’d found myself in.
Moms need friends and thrive on friendship just as children do. It seems easier, somehow, to set up a kids’ play date at the neighborhood park rather than a coffee date for just the moms. What a disservice we do to ourselves, though, when we neglect the uplifting solidarity we have in our friends.
Conversation, commiseration, and compassion between friends, especially once we become moms, is vital for our health. All these things keep us strong and keep us going. Making time for a friend is more than a break from the daily grind—it’s an investment in our health, ourselves, our families, and our communities.
A.A. Milne, the author who created Winnie-the-Pooh, once wrote, “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, ‘What about lunch?’”
We can count on our friends to use the short, easy words.
How are you doing?
I’ve been feeling pretty down.
Hang in there. Let’s talk again soon.
Moms, I encourage you to put “time with a friend” on your to-do list today. Then do it. Talk with your friends, particularly when you’re feeling down.
What about lunch next time?
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This post was written by Melissa Leddy exclusively for BonBon Break Media LLC.