Recently a friend of mine offered to help with my children. I thanked her nonchalantly almost as if I gave it no consideration and was giving a dismissive thanks. It seemed that way because that’s what it was. As soon as she stated her offer I thought it was so nice, and then I thought it would never happen. It’s not that I didn’t trust her or wouldn’t leave my kids with her — not that at all.
The reason I so quickly dismissed it was because I assumed it was an offering made out of guilt, and I was certain that it would be a burden to her.
Somehow we got to talking about this, and I shared with her that I didn’t want to burden her in that way. She shared with me that it was not a burden at all, and in fact, was a joy in her life to get to be with friends’ families. It wasn’t until she and I had this conversation that I realized I had this underlying assumption that it would be a burden for someone else to be with my kids. That made me sad once I realized it. I understand why I think that — they’re a lot. Three kids ages 2, 4, and 6 count as a handful.
But my assumption that someone childless wouldn’t want to be around my crew was wrong.
My friend followed up our conversation with an email to share some more of her thoughts behind why she would want to hang with my crew. If you’re like me and never once thought to include a single friend in your family life, check out these thoughts my friend gave me the okay to share, and then think about your friends. There may be someone in your life who comes to mind.
Words of Wisdom from My Single Friend:
There is the natural change in friendships that takes place after marriage and children. Keep inviting your single friends into your world.
I’m honored that you don’t clean your house for me. It says something about our type of friendship.
I find joy in serving you.
You are gifting and blessing me when you let me spend time with your children, such as reading a bedtime story and putting them down (including all the rocking and snuggles).
I’m not critiquing you as we spend time together. I am just learning from you. Your world is different from mine. And your upbringing was different from mine. I may see and learn things that I want to incorporate in my life now or if I one day have a family of my own.
It stretches you and humbles you to invite me to help or let me help without asking. And you are robbing me of that joy and delight when you say no.
You are my friend and what is important to you is important to me. Therefore your family is important to me. I would much rather spend time with you with your kids around than rarely get to see you.
Washing dishes at your house is a lot more fun than washing dishes at my house.
The tackles, the hugs, the kisses…I get this because you have let me into your world. My life is richer because your kids laugh with me.
If I text to see if you need anything or if I can come to your house, it will not hurt my feelings if you say no. My asking means that I am sincere about my offer. Sometimes I don’t want to go home to a quiet house. But I don’t want you to feel like you have to be the one that takes care of that for me. I’m an adult.
You teach me so much just the way you live your life. Not just about parenthood or being a wife, but about character, growing through weaknesses, grace, insufficiencies, and much more.
Consider what this teaches your kids too. Your family is a family that welcomes other people in. A family that is real with other people. A family that encourages others.
Rather than feeling like I’m on the sideline watching all my friends with their kids via social media, let me join in with you all.
Your inviting me along doesn’t feel like an obligation, but rather like genuine love.
I know parenting is hard. I don’t care if you go take a nap when I come over.
Singleness can be lonely, and I know that stay-at-home mommying can be lonely too.
Not everyone is going to feel the way I do about all this. But you will find friends that do. This could be a friend who is older or younger, or maybe a sister or cousin or other family member. Maybe it is your niece, or the girl down the street.
This is a great way to have community without much effort. In fact, you may end up with help around the house or with your kids.
The best kind of relationships are the ones where you don’t feel like you have to be “on” when you are around those people…this is one of those.