Friday, June 15, 2012

Time with Her Friends

We’ve been on a theme here of her feeling pressured by time and the need to get so many things done; so I want to stay on that for another day. Yesterday, I talked a bit about play as a way to help her relax; today I want to hit on another aspect of that. That is, time with her friends.

Hopefully, you are her best friend. If not, there’s something missing out of your relationship. Nevertheless, even if you are her best friend, it’s not healthy for her (or for you) for you to be her only friend. Women need other women as friends, someone they can talk to about girl stuff; someone they can talk to about you.

Yeah, as scary as that sounds, we’ve got to realize that our wives do talk about us. Their friends get to hear about all our failings. If that’s not enough to strike fear in your heart, then nothing is. Women talk to each other about everything; I mean everything. Where us guys need to build a really solid, long term relationship with each other, before we’ll open up; women build that relationship by opening up. They’ll talk about things in their first meeting that we won’t talk about for nine months. (Maybe you should rethink what you’re doing a bit, to make sure there’s nothing there that you don’t want her friends to know about.)

Anyway, let me get back on track here. Women need that communication with other women. There’s no way that we, as guys, can fulfill that need. We might try to and our wives might try and force us to, but it’s not the same thing. There are things that our wives won’t talk about with us, but will talk about with their girlfriends. That’s’ an important part of maintaining her mental and emotional health.

Okay, so what do we do about that? It’s not like we can make friends for her. No, we can’t, but we can provide opportunities for them to get together with their friends. Busy mothers, especially busy mothers of preschoolers often feel isolated, because going out to be with their friends is just too much hassle.

Think about it for a minute. When was the last time you took the baby somewhere by yourself. You have to get the diaper bag ready, prepare the bottles, make sure you’ve got some snacks and toys. Then you’ve got to load the playpen and stroller into the car, and then, after all that, you can grab the baby, put them in the car seat and go. That’s a lot of stuff to do, every time you want to go out. So, many mothers don’t bother, just because of the hassle.

Then there’s the problems she can encounter with the baby at the other end. What if her friend’s house isn’t baby proofed, or even worse, toddler proofed. Toddlers get into everything; often with disastrous results. So, to avoid the embarrassment of having the baby break some family heirloom, mom stays at home.

Her decision to stay at home, avoiding her friends, becomes the lesser of two evils for her. Unfortunately, it’s a decision that costs her; it costs her emotionally. For that matter, it also costs you. So, you need to do something about it.

The quick answer would be to have her friends over to your house. At least, that would be the quick answer to a guy. But, that isn’t a quick answer for her. Have you ever watched your wife, when you know that friends are coming over? She suddenly goes into a cleaning frenzy. Sharks in a feeding frenzy can’t compare to a woman in a cleaning frenzy. She’ll beat them, hands down.

To help, we usually say something dumb like, “Why are you worried about that, it’s just so-and-so?” I guarantee you, that doesn’t help. All that does is show that we’re insensitive to what’s important to her. She has to have a clean house, so that the other woman can’t see that she’s not a good homemaker. Regardless of whether that other woman would think that; even if she’s blind, that’s a real concern to our wives. She can’t stand having herself seen as less than super-mom.

Okay, so if that’s not going to work, what can we do? Simple, give her times that she can get together with her friends, preferably away from home, without worrying about the kids. That means that you, get to be dad, and take care of the kids, so that your wife can have a time to relax.

Let me tell you, we’re talking major good guy points here. You will be amazed what a couple of hours at the mall or coffee shop with a couple of friends will do for your wife. She’ll breeze back in the house refreshed and ready to slay that dragon once again. She might even be ready to tackle that project she’s been putting off for months. 

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